After a Grayson Atkins field goal on the first drive of the game, Furman never saw the lead again, and any hopes of a 3-peat over N.C. State went down the tubes. The ‘Pack quickly turned to Hines and Samuel on the ensuing drive looking to impose its will on the undersized Furman defense. After some feisty running from Hines, H-back Samuels would punch it in from the 2-yard line giving the Wolfpack a 7-3 lead. Samuels did it all for the ‘Pack as he finished with 3 touchdowns on 5 carries. The senior from Charlotte, North Carolina, also led N.C. State in receiving, logging 75 yards on 6 receptions. Finley, a graduate transfer from Boise State showed why he’s considered one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC.
Starting at his own 40-yard line, Finley picked apart the Paladin defense and capped the drive by finding a wide open JuMichael Ramos, who returns from two major knee surgeries, down the sideline putting the ‘Pack up 14-3 in the final second of the 1st quarter. Karma is real, and if this is any indication of it there should be more to come for Ramos “That was a pretty emotional play on the sideline for all our guys, and great karma for him. He’s worked hard and he earned it, so we’re proud of him.”
Entering the 2nd quarter of play, Furman tried to stick around when Atkins added another field goal making the score 14-6. Hines, and the Wolfpack kept the pressure on after a 50-yard kick return put N.C. Sate in great field position. Samuels and Finley looked synced as the duo would link up two times on the drive, with the final touch being a one yard run by the bruising back, making it 21-6.
It wasn’t all bad for the Paladins. A great philosopher once said “If you get on that horse you better ride.” Late in the 2nd quarter Furman quarterback P.J. Blazejowski, off play action, found senior tight end Andy Shumpert who snuck behind the defense and galloped his way to a 71-yard touchdown. Bullseye, the horse from Toy Story, is somewhere smiling.
The second half saw much of the same as the Wolfpack continued to pour it on the Paladins. On their second drive of the half N.C. State and Nyheim Hines bullied its opponent. Behind one of the best offensive lines the country, Hines would take the lead handoff towards the right side, after a great double team by the guard and center, and an excellent lead block by tight end Cole Cook, Hines would stroll into the end zone untouched making it 35-13.
Defense, not to be outdone, would get in on the act as DB Shawn Boone sitting in the strong side flat zone, picked off the Blazejowski screen pass attempt and raced 47 yards for the Wolfpack touchdown putting the Wolfpack up. Boone would finish with two tackles to go along with the pick six. Junior defensive end Darian Roseboro led the ‘Pack notching 9 tackles and a half sack with senior linebacker Airius Moore chipped in another 7.
The Paladins we held to just 329 of total offense, but controlled the ball for over 30 minutes. Furman head coach Clay Hendrix knew it would be a tough game for his team stating “I think the toughest thing for us was our inability to run the ball at them. I knew it would be a challenge, but I hoped we could do a better job of it because if we can’t then they don’t have to honor as much of the other stuff we do.”
N.C. State would get 14 points off Furman turnovers, the last coming after an Blazejowski fumble set up a 9-yard scoring run by running back Dakwa Nichols making the score 49-13. Surprisingly the Wolfpack were held scoreless in the 4th quarter, probably due to the backups getting some burn in clean up duty. Furman would add another Atkins field goal late in the game making the final score 49-16 N.C. State.
Finley finished the game completing 22 of his 27 attempts and 1 touchdown to go with his 231 yards passing. Samuels logged 91 total yards but his biggest contribution came near the goal line as shown by his 3 touchdowns. Hines, the team’s leading rusher finished the contest with 167 total yards. He would finish 92 yards and 1 touchdown on 11 carries.
Next week, the Wolfpack travel to Tallahassee to take on the Florida State Seminoles in their first ACC matchup of the season. Kickoff is at 12pm.