Dave Doeren said he would be aggressive against Furman.
He emphasized that the rest of the way, it would be all about his team and not the opponent on the schedule. N.C. State needed to make sure they executed and did the little things. If those things were crossed off the list, it didn’t matter who they played.
The Paladins just happened to be the next team on the schedule. Furman got caught between a motivated Wolfpack team and the Clemson game. N.C. State tuned up for the showdown with the Tigers by blowing out the Paladins , 45-7.
Most expected a big win over Furman (2-1) and the Wolfpack (2-1) delivered, scoring on six of their final seven drives to end the first half. N.C. State led by 38 at halftime.
The Pack went on four straight scoring drives, all touchdowns, in the second quarter. After a Christopher Dunn field goal made it 10-0 in the first, Devin Leary was responsible for the next four scores. He threw three touchdown passes, covering 4, 42 and 12 yards and rushed seven yards for another.
Leary’s touchdown passes included one to freshman Anthony Smith, for his second career-reception, and another to Dylan Parham, the first touchdown of his career. Doeren showed just how aggressive he would be when the Pack got the ball back with 1:17 remaining in the half. N.C. State covered 75 yards in 53 seconds, all passes, ending with a 12-yard pass from Leary to Thayer Thomas, who caught his second touchdown of the year.
Leary finished 23-29 with 259 yards and three scores in the first half. He played just one series in the second half, paving the way for Ben Finley early in the third.
N.C. State had just one hiccup in the first half. On the first drive of the day, Bam Knight fumbled on first carry, turning the ball back over to the Paladins. The Wolfpack defense held and Knight made up for the lost fumble, picking up 56 yards on five carries on the ensuing drive, scoring from 1-yard out. Knight finished the first half with 104 yards on 11 carries. It was his second 100-yard game of the season.
Ricky Person (8-41) scored on the first drive of the third quarter, pushing the lead to 45-0. The Paladins avoided the shutout by scoring on their third drive of the second half, a Hamp Sisson 16-yard pass to Ryan Miller.
The N.C. State defense forced six straight punts in the first half and forced a turnover on Furman’s first drive of the third quarter.
The talk all week after the Mississippi State loss was missed opportunities in the red zone. N.C. State was 1-3 from inside the 20 last weekend. Against Furman the Pack went 6-6.
Dave Doeren said he wanted to see his defense get more sacks and force more turnovers this week. After not forcing a turnover versus the Bulldogs, Tyler Baker-Williams picked off Sisson in the third quarter. It was the second-career interception for Baker-Williams.
N.C. State did not allow a rushing touchdown for the third straight game. The Wolfpack defense is one of 16 teams in the nation not to allow a rushing score this season. The Wolfpack defense didn’t give up a 100-yards on the ground 38th time under Doeren. In three games, N.C. State has only given up 100 on the ground once this season, 104 to South Florida in the opener.
8: Number of wins versus FCS opponents during the Dave Doeren era.
297-71: Doeren has outscored FCS opponents 297-71 in eight contests.
10: Leary was spreading the love in the first half, connecting with 10 different wide receivers. That’s the most receivers Leary has completed in a game at N.C. State.