Raleigh, NC – In front of a hostile crowd of 56,107 crazy Wolfpack fans, No. 24 NC State upsets the defending Heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson and the No.17 Louisville Cardinals 39-25.
Louisville started out with the ball, but it would be NC State in their all black uniforms that came out and set the tone early. Bradley Chubb registered a huge sack early, and Lamar Jackson did not find his rhythm early.
NC State marched down the field on a long drive on their initial possession, but a Finley fumble in the red zone would thwart their scoring hopes early.
The game would be scoreless after the end of the first quarter.
Things would heat up for the Wolfpack shortly into the second quarter. After a key 4th down conversion, Ryan Finley hooked up with Kelvin Harmon for a beautiful 48-yard touchdown pass for the early 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing drive, Lamar Jackson threw a strike to Seth Dawkins for a 23-yard touchdown with 7:27 remaining in the first half to tie the game at seven.
Big 79-yard pass to Samuels to set up what was thought to be a Wolfpack 4-yard touchdown from Finley to Jacoby Meyers, but the receiver stepped out of bounds on the review and it was deemed a loss of downs. Carson Wise would kick the 21-yard field goal to give the Home team the 10-7 advantage with 5:03 remaining in the second quarter.
Louisville could not get anything going as another sack put them in bad field position and the Cardinal offense could not bounce back from it.
After a big 39-yard pass from Finley to Stephen Louis, NC State would take the lead on an 11-yard touchdown run by Nyheim Hines.
Hines would finish with 102 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Coach Doeren stated that Nyheim Hines plays “angry.” “He’s competitive, spirited, super talented, and he’s the most competitive guy on the field at times” continued the NC State Head Coach.
Louisville would engineer a nice two-minute drive to get in position for a 28-yard field goal from Blanton Creque to trail NC State 17-10 heading into halftime.
Carson Wise missed a 34-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half for NC State
Blanton Creque would bounce back to make a career-long 48-yard field goal to cut the deficit to four with 5:16 remaining in the third quarter.
On the next drive, a big 45-yard run by Hines would set up a Hines touchdown on a seven-yard run up the middle to give his team the 24-13 lead.
La-marvelous Jackson would use his magic to escape a few NC State defenders and sprinted four yards for a Louisville touchdown. The Cardinals went for two points but the two-point conversion failed to leave the score at 24-19 with 12:39 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Wolfpack would silence any hope of a comeback on the next drive. On what was set up by a huge 48-yard kickoff return by Hines, Ryan Finley would lob the ball up to Kelvin Harmon who snagged the ball for a big 21-yard gain. Reggie Gallaspy punched it in from three yards out on the ensuing play to give NC State the 32-19 lead after the two-point conversion on the pass from Finley to Hines.
Finley finished the game with 367 passing yards, completing 20-of-31 attempts and a touchdown.
Lamar Jackson to Seth Dawkins 65 yards would set them up inside of the Wolfpack five yard line. Jackson would call his own number two plays later and run it in from three yards out for the Cardinals touchdown. Bradley Chubb would block the PAT field goal to preserve the 32-25 lead.
Chubb had a monster game, registering six tackles, two tackles for a loss, one field goal block, and two quarterback pressures. This was all part of a defense that managed to bottle up the defending Heisman winner with four sacks and five quarterback hits. The Wolfpack defense also recorded six tackles for a loss and an interception return for a touchdown.
Chubb was high on Lamar Jackson even after the victory. “He’s electric. He’s fast. He can do a lot of things with his feet and his arms. We just had to try and contain him the best we could” stated a tired yet jubilant Chubb.
The reigning Heisman-winner finished with 354 passing yards on 26-of-47 passing attempts and three total touchdowns (one passing, two rushing).
On the next Louisville drive, Jackson’s pass was tipped up by safety Shawn Boone and intercepted by linebacker Germaine Pratt, who returned the interception 25-yards for a pick-six touchdown to seal the game at 39-25. Pratt emphasized that “as a defensive player, we want to be on the field at the end of the game. So we seized it.”
The defense was able to keep Lamar Jackson bottled up for the majority of the night, but they were able to come away with a signature victory to start the season 3-0 in ACC play. Coach Doeren mentioned that his team “had to learn what the word ‘perseverance’ means.” Coach Doeren would go on to elaborate, “It’s one of our core values. You don’t just choose to persevere, you have to have adversity. You have to have struggle, you have to face your fears. To do that, you’ve got to grow up, dig deep. Our guys did that.
Indeed the 24th-ranked NC State Wolfpack did dig deep for this victory.The defense worked very hard and their were two receivers, Jaylen Samuels (seven receptions, 104 yards) and Kelvin Harmon (six receptions, 133 yards, one touchdown) who recorded over 100 receiving yards in the game. Hines had another big game this week with his 102 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
The team will get a short break to recover before coming back in to practice on Sunday to prepare for a showdown on the road next Saturday against Pittsburgh.