Mistakes Plague Herd in Loss at North Carolina State

A slow start was not enough to keep the North Carolina State Wolfpack down Saturday night and the Wolfpack rallied from a 10-point second quarter deficit to defeat the Marshall Thundering Herd 37-20 in front of 57,430 fans at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina.

NC State (1-1) trailed 20-10 midway through the second quarter, but the Wolfpack outscored Marshall (1-1) 27-0 the rest of the way in a game that was closer than the final score indicated.

The Herd’s offense picked up one first down on its opening possession before punting to NC State and the Wolfpack took advantage with a 31-yard field goal from Carson Wise to open up a 3-0 lead with 10:15 remaining in the first quarter.

But Marshall had an impressive answer when a 9-play, 85-yard drive was capped off with a Chase Litton touchdown pass to Willie Johnson from 1 yard out to give the Herd a 7-3 lead with 6:23 to go in the first quarter.

Following a defensive stand, the Herd’s offense added to its lead when Kaare Vedvik connected on a 33-yard field goal to extend Marshall’s lead to 10-3 with 3:09 remaining in the first quarter.

After a few punts, Marshall’s offense went on another impressive drive that was capped off with another Vedvik field goal, this time from 45 yards out, to extend the Herd’s lead to 13-3 with 8:20 remaining in the second quarter.

But the Wolfpack offense finally got going on its next possession when Ryan Finley connected with Stephen Louis for a 24-yard touchdown to cut Marshall’s lead down to 13-10 with 5:26 to go in the second quarter.

Marshall had an immediate answer offensively when Litton connected with Tyre Brady and after an impressive run after the catch, Brady was in the end zone after a 75-yard scamper to extend the Herd’s lead back up to 20-10 with 5:07 remaining in the second quarter.

NC State’s offense found its groove late in the second quarter when after two more Finley touchdown passes, from 39 yards and 34 yards respectively, the Wolfpack took a 23-20 lead into halftime.

The Wolfpack’s final touchdown was aided by a pass interference call against Marshall after the Herd came up with a third down stop.

Marshall’s defense made an initial stop on third down on NC State’s initial offensive possession of the third quarter, but the Herd was called for pass interference and the Wolfpack drive continued.

And it continued in a big way when Reggie Gallaspy II punched it in the end zone from 1 yard out on fourth-and-goal to extend the NC State lead to 30-20 with 7:58 remaining in the third quarter.

Marshall kickoff returner Keion Davis, who returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in Week 1, looked like he had another on the ensuing kickoff following that NC State touchdown and he returned the kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown.

But a holding call brought the play back and the touchdown was nullified, setting up Marshall’s offense as its own 15-yard line.

The Herd responded with a long 16-play drive and drove the ball inside the NC State 20-yard line. But a late hit penalty on Marshall’s Levi Brown backed the Herd up to the 32-yard line.

And on fourth down, Vedvik’s field goal attempt from 46 yards out was missed after a bad snap and the Wolfpack’s offense took over.

Marshall’s defense responded with an impressive fourth down stand to give the offense the ball back. After a punt for each team, the Herd’s offense still had hopes of getting back in the game.

But after a short completion to running back Trey Rodriguez, Rodriguez fumbled and NC State’s Justin Jones recovered at the Herd’s 23-yard line.

The Wolfpack put the finishing touches on the game when Gallaspsy II found the end zone from 23 yards out on the following play to extend the NC State lead to 37-20 with 3:58 remaining in the game.

That score held and the Wolfpack walked away with a 37-20 win over the Herd to rebound from a narrow loss to South Carolina in Week 1.

Finley finished the game 29 for 36 for 341 yards and three touchdowns for NC State while Gallaspy II led the Wolfpack on the ground with 12 carries for 61 yards and two touchdowns.

Kelvin Harmon led all NC State receivers with nine receptions for 121 yards and one touchdown while superstar defensive end Bradley Chubb led the defense with seven total tackles, six solo tackles, one sack and three tackles-for-loss.

Despite the loss, Marshall’s offense was productive against the Wolfpack’s defense, racking up 451 total yards on the night. Litton was impressive, finishing 26 for 43 for 350 yards and two touchdowns with one late interception after the result was already decided.

Davis led the Herd’s ground game with eight carries for 74 yards and as a team, Marshall ran for 101 yards on the night against one of the best defensive lines in college football with a 4.0 yards-per-carry average after only producing 59 total rushing yards in Week 1.

Brady had a spectacular game for the Herd and led all receivers with 11 receptions for 248 yards and one touchdown. Brady set the Carter-Finley Stadium record for the most receiving yards by a single player in a single game and finished just 40 yards short of Randy Moss’s Marshall record for the most receiving yards in a single game.

Malik Gant led Marshall’s defense with 17 total tackles, nine solo tackles, and one tackle-for-loss. The final statistics were neck and neck between the Herd and the Wolfpack, but self-inflicted mistakes and nine penalties for 96 yards were the ultimate downfalls for Marshall.

The Herd will look to get back in the win column on Sept. 16 at home against Kent State. NC State returns to action Sept. 16 at home against Furman.

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