On Saturday, November 15, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons rolled into Raleigh to take on the NC State Wolfpack at Carter-Finely Stadium. Wake went into the game with a Bowl Game out of reach, and was just looking to pick up a late season win to improve their record. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack entered their last home game of the season with a record of 5-5, looking to pick up their first Bowl Game in the Dave Doeren era.
NC State went in to the game looking to exploit Wake Forest’s weak run defense, and Wake Forest was probably thinking the same thing. In their first drive of the game, NC State did just that, and Senior RB Tony Creecy was able to burst into the endzone on a 2 yard run early on. Wake responded with a field goal at the end of the first quarter, and the first quarter ended with a score of 7-3. Both teams were trying to gain some momentum to win the game, and NC State drew energy from their home crowd. They scored two more touchdowns before halftime, both coming from RB Matt Dayes, which contributed to his great game. Dayes, who has been one of the best playmakers for NC State this season, has been a threat in the rushing and passing game, and this trend continued as one of his second quarter scores came on the ground, and one through the air. Going into halftime, NC State was up 21-3 and was carrying almost all the momentum.
The momentum continued for State coming out of halftime as NC State scored on the first play of the first possession of the second half, as Brian Underwood took an end-around 75 yards and into the endzone. From this point on, the Wolfpack dominated the game, and continued to rack up yardage on the ground, which led to more and more touchdowns. In the third quarter, two more goal line touchdowns increased the Wolfpack lead to 42-6, and things were all but finished in Raleigh. Wake would score once more at the end of the game, and the score ended at 42-13. NC State had clinched a Bowl Invitation.
NC State was able to dominate the ground game in this matchup, both offensively and defensively. Since the bye week a couple of weeks ago, the Wolfpack have improved greatly with their rushing defense, and in this game against Wake, they held the Demon Deacons to 58 yards on the ground on 35 total carries. The defense for State forced a fumble, as well. Offensively, the rushing game was strong for NC State. Matt Dayes led the way with 2 TDs rushing, and Shadrach Thornton led the team in yards, picking up 110 on 16 carries, to go along with a touchdown. The Wolfpack totaled 362 yards on the ground on 42 carries. This led to a great offensive attack without the need of a strong passing performance, as Jacoby Brissett only threw for 83 yards with one touchdown through the air. Meanwhile, for Wake, John Wolford had a subpar game, as he was 15/32 for 161 yards and no touchdowns. Wake struggled to get anything going in the game, and it showed in the final score. They also lost one fumble in the game, which was their only turnover. State did not turn the ball over once. Overall, Wake Forest looked rather weak and unmotivated throughout the game, while NC State started and finished strong to ensure their first bowl appearance since Dave Doeren took over as the head coach one season ago. Next up for Wake is a home game with Virginia Tech before taking on the number 21 ranked Duke Blue Devils to close out the year. NC State will have a bye week before visiting longtime rival UNC in a couple weeks, an important game for both teams.
Rushing Yards: NC State 362, Wake Forest 58
Turnovers: NC State 0, Wake Forest 1
1st Downs: NC State 20, Wake Forest 12
Time of Possession: NC State 28:42, Wake Forest 31:18