Devin Leary was the quarterback for both two touchdowns, and No. 23 North Carolina State held off Louisiana Tech 34-27 on Saturday night.
Louisiana Tech picked up five first downs on its last possession, reaching the N.C. State 22-yard line before Jakeen Harris’ interception in the end zone on the game’s final play. This allowed N.C. State, which had upset Clemson a week before, to improve its record to 4-1.
“We were able to win,” N.C. State coach Dave Doeren stated. It’s amazing, I suppose, not to play well and win a football match. “
Leary was 22 for 36 for 251 yards. Running backs Ricky Person (90 yards) and Zonovan Knight (85) each ran for a touchdown.
Louisiana Tech quarterback Austin Kendall finished 25 for 40 for 328 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech’s coach said that there is no moral victory in getting close. We came here to win. “
Doeren stated that it was hard for the Wolfpack to regain their focus following the win over Clemson in the Wolfpack’s final non-league match.
” That was a huge task,” Doeren stated. Doeren said, “More people likely understand. “
Louisiana Tech had two fourth-quarter touchdown drives of 65 or more yards. Then the Bulldogs moved 67 yards on the last drive.
” We probably shouldn’t be in that moment,” N.C. State Linebacker Isaiah Moore stated. In the second half, we didn’t do well on defense. “
Person’s tackle-dodging, 24-yard touchdown run in the third quarter helped N.C. State break open a tight game.
Kendall’s 23-yard strike to Bub Means with 12: 10 left allowed the Bulldogs (2-3) to pull within 27-20.
N.C. State followed with a six-play, 72-yard drive that concluded with Knight’s 4-yard scoring run.
Kendall struck again when Griffin Herbert plowed into the end zone to complete a 14-yard pass play as Louisiana Tech made it 34-27 with 4: 43 to play.
Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs’ first two losses of the season came by a combined three points and they were in another close defeat this time. Louisiana Tech is 4-48 all-time against Top 25 opponents.
N.C. State: This year’s Wolfpack record is 4-0, with the help of a defense stop in the final play. It was Clemson’s double-overtime win last week.
GRIND IT OUT
N.C. State gained 130 of its 167 rushing yards in the second half.
Knight and Person are a great combination in N.C. State’s backfield.
“It was great to have (Knight), alongside me. It’s just because of the hard work that he put in,” Person stated. He’s an amazing, great back. He’s a great, great back. “
Louisiana Tech had to use backup quarterback Aaron Allen for a play in the final minute after Kendall was shaken up at the end of a fourth-down scramble for a first down. A snag developed for the Bulldogs when the ball was blown into play and it took about 20 seconds before the ball was snapped.
“He did not realize that the clock was ticking,” Holtz stated. The Bulldogs had little time to spare after that. “
The Bulldogs were left with only two plays.
TAKE A BREAK
The Wolfpack will have a steady diet of Atlantic Coast Conference games for the rest of the regular season. N.C. State will have a week off between its next game.
” We need a break right now,” Doeren stated. Doeren stated that they are mentally and physically ready to take one. “
N.C. State is likely to hold steady, especially until it wins a road game and it will have two such assignments later this month.
Louisiana Tech: Oct. 16 at UTEP
N.C. State: Oct. 16 at Boston College