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Aaron Schoonmaker

Wolfpack speed up to top the Turtles

Posted October 20, 2012

— Contrary to the mold for North Carolina State, the Wolfpack were at their best Saturday when they were going fast at the line in a 20-18 win over Maryland.

A mundane first quarter saw Mike Glennon go 2-for-7 for 1 yard and Tony Creecy run five times for 17 yards. The result was three punts, a 3-0 deficit and an energy level that made Eeyore look over-caffeinated.

Then it happened. NC State inserted Shadrach Thornton at running back and went to a no-huddle look. The new result was a 5-play, 75-yard drive in less than two minutes that ended in a 25-yard touchdown pass to fullback Logan Winkles.

Yes, a fullback and yes a sub-two minute drive.

In fact, only one of NC State’s four scoring drives on Saturday lasted more than two minutes.

Out of the break, leading 10-3, NC State went back to their conservative game plan. With the exception of the 1-play, 68-yard score to Brian Underwood, NC State’s next five drives accounted for 80 yards and no points.

But with their backs against the wall, out of timeouts and running out of time, that offensive urgency returned.

A 17-yard pass to Underwood preceded a pair of 14-yard completions to Quinton Payton and Rashard Smith – the last one aided by heady sideline footwork. Next thing the Wolfpack knew, they had regained the lead on a 43-yard Niklas Sade field goal after a drive that lasted just 1:45.

It was just the second time all season that NC State did not hold the ball longer than their opponent (Tennessee held a 31:47-28:13 advantage in the season opener) and NC State’s 24:46 time of possession was their lowest since a 38-10 loss to Virginia Tech on Nov. 21, 2009 (23:34). N.C. State Logo More NCSU Stories

Now, does Tom O’Brien want to live with this game plan week-in and week-out? Of course not. The team is not built that way. But when the game warrants, being able to speed things up is always a good option - naturally, it is a tougher transition that having to slow down.

Give Maryland credit. Quarterback Devin Burns, replacing Perry Hills, turned the Terps into a one-dimensional ground team and their first four possessions after half all lasted 3:22 or longer. NC State’s defense was tired and was gifted a fumble with three and a half minutes to play, but they never gave up the backbreaker.

Next week against North Carolina, expect the Wolfpack to go back to a ball-control game, but Saturday night, they were at their best when they sped things up.

34 Comments

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  • jandscroom Oct 22, 2012

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    You guys can't brat duke...how do you think you can beat STATE!!!

  • NCSU84 Oct 22, 2012

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    Me too. No need to show up. I concede...

  • heelsforever Oct 22, 2012

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    I'm guessing it will be a close game eventually won by State. They've consistently won the close games this year and the Heels have lost 3 of the 4 close games they've been in.

  • Packman24 Oct 22, 2012

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    I've heard this before!! Go Pack!!

  • kbkline Oct 21, 2012

    Any one else think this is stupid headline????

  • StunGunn Oct 21, 2012

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    It's anyone's guess who would have won the game had Maryland's back-up to the back-up QB started the game. I will say this: How good is State? Good enough to win close games, and that, folks is saying a lot. Give State the credit they deserve, because they do deserve credit.

  • shakennotstirred Oct 21, 2012

    I will venture to guess that UNC will be favored by a field goal. I won't be shocked either way. If State starts out hot, unc will catch them in the 4th and it will be another nail biter. GO PACK!!!

  • redwolfone Oct 21, 2012

    UNC will not win next week. Those of you who believe they are a good team are drinking too much fool aid. They will wear out in the first half and State will then crush them.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again01 Oct 21, 2012

    State got lucky, but so did Maryland. We had a touchdown on Amerson's interception that was taken away due to a block in the back. That block was not even needed because Amerson had already made his cut and was heading to the goal line. Secondly, that wasn't even a block in the back. He hit him on the side & shoulder.

    State very nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Maryland had no business being in a position to win, but they put in a QB we knew nothing about. He's probably their best QB, but he was supposed to redshirt. I suspect Maryland's offense will improve going forward with that guy leading them.

  • tayled Oct 21, 2012

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    I think if the backup QB had been the starter, we would have seen a diffeent outcome. I hate that the starter was injured and I wish him a speedy recovery, but the backup is a better QB.

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