WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The NC State football team dropped its first road game of the 2013 season, falling at ACC rival Wake Forest by a final score of 28-13 Saturday afternoon at BB&T Field.
Following the loss, NC State (3-2, 0-2 ACC) holds a 63-38-6 advantage in the all-time series between the two football programs. Saturday’s result extended the trend of the home teams winning the last seven games of the series.
Wolfpack QB Pete Thomas completed 27 of his 43 passing attempts for a season-high 257 yards and one touchdown. NC State rushed for 115 yards on the ground, led by Thomas’ total of 60 yards, and was without leading rusher Matt Dayes for the entirety of the game.
Wake Forest (3-3, 1-2 ACC) was led offensively by 268 yards passing and three touchdowns from quarterback Tanner Price. Two of Price’s touchdowns were thrown to Michael Campanaro, who led all receivers with 12 catches for 153 yards.
The teams traded scoreless drives to begin the first quarter before Wake Forest opened the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run by Price with 2:14 remaining in the first quarter. The scoring play came at the end of a 13-play drive which spanned 80 yards and 8:06. Price was 7-8 through the air on the drive, amassing 71 passing yards in the process.
Thomas completed his first six passes of the day, not missing a receiver until a third-down play with 13:30 to play in the second quarter. Unfortunately for the redshirt junior quarterback, he lost leading receiver Rashard Smith to injury in the first quarter, and was without starting wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling for the second straight game. Coming into Saturday’s game, Smith and Valdes-Scantling ranked first and second on the Pack in receptions.
Following a solid defensive stand to start the second quarter, the Wolfpack got on the board through a Niklas Sade 27-yard field goal with 8:28 remaining in the half. The successful field goal was the 10th Sade has made this season on 11 attempts. Key in this eight-play, 33-yard drive was a 22-yard rush up the middle of the defense by Thomas.
Taking possession of the ball at its own 34-yard line with just 1:58 left to play in the first half, State marched down the field and took the lead (10-7) for the first time on the afternoon when Thomas found Quintin Payton in the end zone. The drive spanned 10 plays and 66 yards but took only 79 seconds to complete.
The Demon Deacons answered back immediately, scoring to re-claim the lead (14-10) with just six seconds left in the first half when Price found Michael Campanaro on a 10-yard TD pass which capped a brisk five-play, 75-yard drive in 33 seconds.
Wake Forest’s first drive of the second half was extended on fourth down due to a roughing the kicker penalty, and the Demon Deacons were able to stretch their lead to 21-10 with 7:25 on the clock when Price found Jared Crump in the end zone on a three-yard TD pass.
A 20-yard Sade field goal pulled the Pack within one possession (21-13) with 4:47 to play in the third quarter andDontae Johnson put a promising Wake Forest drive to an early end with his first-career interception and an ensuing 21-yard return.
Price extended Wake Forest’s lead to 28-13 with 10:43 to play in the contest when he found Campanaro on a 27-yard TD strike to cap an eight-play, 80-yard drive.
NC State will next be in action on Oct. 12 at home against Syracuse. The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. from Carter-Finley Stadium and will be televised on RSN with regional affiliates to be announced early next week. Saturday’s game against Syracuse will serve as NC State’s annual Employee Appreciation Day.