RALEIGH – Despite losing starting quarterback Devin Leary to injury midway through the third quarter, NC State found a way to earn a 19-17 win over FSU.
The Wolfpack (5-1, 1-1) avoided a second straight loss and found a hero in backup quarterback Jack Chambers.
Here’s how we graded NC State’s performance.
The offense would’ve earned a failing grade if its first-half performance bled into the third and fourth quarters. The Pack combined for just three points and 133 total yards in the first half, failing to convert on all six third-down attempts while trailing 17-3 at the break.
In the third quarter, the offense opened the second half with its only touchdown of the night as Leary connected with Darryl Jones on a 10-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 17-10. After Leary left the game with an injury, it was Chambers who took control of the offense, using his legs to help set up three second-half field goals from Chris Dunn.
The offense finished the game without Leary, running back Demie Sumo-Karngbaye and wide receiver Devin Carter, but still managed to secure the win. Junior running back Jordan Houston was a workhorse for the Wolfpack, rushing for 90 yards on 24 attempts and hauling in two catches for 41 yards.
NC State’s defense, which after five games gave up an average of 94.4 yards a game on the ground, gave up 177 rushing yards in the first half while allowing runs of 22, 71, 39 and 26.
The second half, though, was a different story.
The Wolfpack allowed fewer than 100 total yards and held FSU scoreless in the second half. Shyheim Battle and Devan Boykin picked off FSU quarterback Jordan Travis with Boykin’s pick in the end zone securing the two-point win.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A+
Yes, there was a mishap in the second quarter that ultimately led to a last-second field goal for FSU, but Dunn’s 4-for-4 field-goal performance was the ultimate key to the win.
Dunn hit from 38, 40 and 53 yards, plus a 27-yarders with 6:33 left in the game to give the Wolfpack the lead for good.
The questionable play calls from offensive coordinator Tim Beck continued on Saturday night, including a fourth-quarter drive that last 23 yards and had to be saved by Dunn’s 53-yard field goal.
NC State earns a B for a gritty performance that ultimately saved the Wolfpack from a second straight loss by players you wouldn’t expect to steal the spotlight.
This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: NC State football vs. FSU report card: Wolfpack earn a B for gritty performance