Gameday Live Blog/Open Thread: State vs. Duke

Brett Friedlander

NC State has been one of the surprise football teams of the ACC so far this season and is coming off two straight road wins. 

The most impressive thing about the Wolfpack's 3-1 start is that all three of the victories have been achieved in different manners. The first, against Wake Forest, came on the strength of a strong running game. The second, at Pittsburgh, came courtesy of Devin Leary’s arm before the defense took center stage last week.

So now coach Dave Doeren and his team return home for the first time in a month to play their first game this season as a favorite. And the first game with at least some fans in the stands.

It’s the kind of scenario in which the Wolfpack has traditionally laid an egg. If this really is a different State team — and it’s looked the part so far — this is the time it will show.

The keys, at our Kenton Gibbs has notice, will be turnovers and the running game. The winner of the game will likely be the one that avoids the former and is better at the latter.

So while you wait for the first game between the Wolfpack and Blue Devils since 2013 to kick off, here's a look back at our coverage from earlier in the week to keep you busy:

Everything you need to know about today's game

Kenton's Keys

Duke Presents More Opportunities for Takeaways

Dawkins Had to Keep it 100 to be No. 0

Rooks Brings 'Shooter's Mentality' to Wolfpack Receiving Corps

Talkin' Wolfpack: Brett and Kenton Break Down This Week's Game

Coach Dave Doeren's Duke Scouting Report

PREGAME

Back home again for the first time since the opening game, State will be wearing its usual red jerseys with white pants and red helmets today ...

Good news for the Wolfpack in the personnel department -- Nickel Tyler Baker-Williams is back active again after missing the past two weeks in contact tracing quarantine. Defensive end Daniel Joseph and tight end Dylan Parham, both of whom missed last week's game at Virginia, are also back in uniform and available today.

Offensive linemen Justin Witt and Timothy McKay, however, are still out ... as is cornerback Chris Ingram, who has yet to practice or play this season ...

FIRST QUARTER

State will start the game on defense. ...

After giving up a nine-yard run on the opening play of the game, State prevents the Blue Devils from converting and gets the three-and-out. Great start for the Wolfpack defense coming off its best effort of the season last week at UVa ...

While the defense is off to a good start, special teams are not.

Duke blocks a Trenton Gill punt and returns it for a 68-yard touchdown and just like that, State is down early. The Wolfpack scored first in all three of its wins so far and lost the only game it fell behind. Game on ...

Duke 7, State 0, 9:51 left first quarter

And now a turnover. Bam Knight fumbles to give the ball back to the Blue Devils. This is unraveling in a hurry for the Wolfpack. Defense needs to make something happen here to change the momentum before this becomes a runaway train ...

Jakeen Harris becomes the third State defensive player in as many games to be ejected for targeting, joining Joshua Pierre-Louis against Pitt and Tanner Ingle last week at UVa ...

And there's the big play by the defense. Payton Wilson -- whose brother had a big game for the Atlanta Braves earlier in the week -- does his thing by getting his name on the Takeaway Bone. Wilson's interception prevents further damage ...

That's the ninth interception thrown by Duke's Chase Brice this season and State's fourth in the past two games. ...

Ricky Person Jr. gets the Wolfpack flips the field with a 34-yard run, but Knight can't get the first down on a third-and-1 run. Then add a facemask penalty on Bryson Speas and State has to punt. It's up to the defense again ...

Another three-and-out. Defense is holding down the fort and settling things down. Now it's up to the offense to get things going ...

Not happening yet. Leary is picked off. Second turnover for the Wolfpack, to go along with the blocked punt. State is its own worst enemy so far ...

Defense limits the damage again, thanks to the help of an illegal block penalty on the Blue Devils. When the second quarter begins, Duke will likely line up for a field goal ...

End of 1 ... Blue Devils 7, Wolfpack 0

SECOND QUARTER

Duke does try the field goal and it's good from 46 yards out ... 

Blue Devils 10, Wolfpack 0 with 14:55 left in the half

The situation isn't good for State, but after playing the worst first quarter it could possibly draw up and still only being 10 points down with 45 minutes remaining is a positive. That is, if the Wolfpack can turn things around and start playing like it has on the road the past two weeks ...

Leary's best pass of the day so far hits Carter near the end zone.. He's knocked out just before the pylon. Jordan Houston finishes the drive from the 1 on the next play and just like that, the Wolfpack is right back in this one.

Great answer by the Wolfpack, not just because of the score but because of the signs of life the offense has finally shown  ...

Duke 10, State 7, 10:44 left in the half

Trent Pinnix heading to the locker room. Not sure what his issue is ...

Horrible decision by the Duke kick return man ... Blue Devils will start from their own 11 ...

Isaac Duffy, who's in the game only because Jakeen Harris was ejected earlier for targeting, breaks up a pass to get another three-and-out ... Duke is now 0 for 6 on third down today ...

But instead of getting the ball back near midfield, State gives the Blue Devils another gift with a running into the kicker penalty that results in a first down ...

Defense has been playing well all day, offense finally seems to be getting its act together. Special teams is hurting State so far ...

There's the first third down conversion for the Blue Devils ...

And an unnecessary roughness call on Savion Jackson. Six penalties for 77 yards on the Wolfpack already ...

Jake Bobo makes a great catch on the sideline, but it's ruled out of bounds. The play is under review. If the call stands, the Wolfpack will have gotten another stop in spite of itself ...

Call is reversed. Bobo is ruled to have gotten an elbow down before going out of bounds. First down Duke at the State 38 ...

Poor tackling helps Bobo get into the end zone for Duke ... and to add insult to injury (literally), Tanner Ingle is down with what appears to be a hamstring issue ... With Harris already out, Wolfpack is in a familiar predicament at safety. ...

Duke 17, State 7, 3:43 left in the half

Fourth-and-five near midfield and the Wolfpack is going to go for it ... Or maybe not. Doeren calls time out ... fourth-and-five from the Duke 43 ...

SECOND HALF

Wolfpack Nation, sorry for the interruption in my blog ... My computer issues have been resolved and I'm back on line.

Did I miss anything?

Well, let's see ... there was the blocked punt for a touchdown -- matching the blocked punt Duke got for a score earlier in the game -- that got the Wolfpack back to within 20-14 at halftime. ...

There was another interception by Payton Wilson, his second of the day ...

There was a go-ahead touchdown pass from Leary to Cary Angeline to give State its first lead of the day at 21-0. ...

Unfortunately, Leary was carted from the field with his foot in an air cast after taking a big hit on a running play. But as Doeren has said on many occasions, every teams needs more than one competent quarterback. And State is blessed with two, as illustrated when Bailey Hockman came off the bench to throw a touchdown pass to Thayer Thomas -- on a great catch Thomas appeared to snare against his helmet.

So now that we're caught up, let's get back to it with State ahead 28-20 and 9:57 remaining ...

Ricky Person with a big gain on a swing pass from Hockman ... but a lot of the yardage is going to be nulllified, because Person stepped out of bounds at the Wolfpack 33. So instead of a 51-yard gain, it's about a 14-yard pickup. But that's not bad. It's still a first down ...

There are a lot of reasons why the Wolfpack has turned things around after playing one of the worst first halves a team can possibly play. But one of the biggest is penalties. The Wolfpack committed eight for 106 yards in the first half. It has yet to be flagged for any infractions in the second half thus far ...

Hockman takes a sack and what appeared to be a promising possession for the Wolfpack ends in a punt ...

Isaiah Moore is down. He's got 12 tackles today. Losing him would be huge ...

Payton Wilson has 18 tackles and two interceptions, by the way ...

Not only is State showing off its depth at quarterback today, but it's also showing the value of having more than one quality ballcarrier. A week after Zonovan Knight ran for 101 yards at Virginia, today it's Person's turn to carry the load. He's got 88 yards on 14 carries for a 6.3 yard average. He's also caught three passes ...

 Put another name on the Takeover Bone! Linebacker Jaylon Scott gets State's third interception of the day -- all by LBs. For the second straight week the Wolfpack has taken advantage of an opposing quarterback prone to throwing to the wrong team by picking him off three times ...

And Bam Knight finally breaks loose. He had just 10 yards on his first six carries. Now he's got 27 on his last two attempts ...

Duke wants time out with State facing a third-and-3 from the Duke 18. With 3:49 left, a field goal here would be just as good as a TD. It would give the Wolfpack a two-score lead. A touchdown, however, would probably put this one away ...

Not to be outdone, the Wolfpack now wants timeout. ...

Person loses four, but that's okay. Dunn converts the field goal, a 40-yarder, to increase the Wolfpack lead ...

State 31, Duke 20, 3:17 remaining

While State is in good shape, this one still isn't over .... Wolfpack doesn't need to be giving up these big chunks of yardage. Make Duke work for it and use the clock ...

Blue Devils are already at the Wolfpack 35. Still plenty of time left ...

Timeout Duke, 90 seconds left ...

Last week Jackson and Durant both rushed for 160 or more yards. Today they've combined for just 44. Quarterback Brice has 91 of the Blue Devils' 134 rushing yards ...

Big PBU in the end zone by true freshman Devan Boykin. And now a Terrell Dawkins sack ... and Duke is faced with a fourth down and 14 ... Blue Devils use their last timeout. A stop on this play and it's in the W column ...

Smart move by Cutcliffe here. Duke is going to attempt a field goal, since it's 10 points down and needs the ball back to score again. If the kick is good, it will all come down to an onside kick. ...

No need for the onside kick ... great strategy by the Blue Devils. Poor execution. Ham misses from 45 yards and State can take a knee ...

For the fourth time this season, the Wolfpack has found a different way to win. This time overcoming its own mistakes in the first half and an injury to its starting quarterback to battle back and beat a team it hasn't played in seven years.

FINAL: State 31, Duke 20

State-Duke FB final box

You can follow us for future coverage by clicking "Follow" on the top righthand corner of the page. Also be sure to like us on Facebook & Twitter:

Facebook -- ACC Insider

Twitter -- @WolfpackMaven and Brett Friedlander at @BFriedACC

Comments

Football

FEATURED
COMMUNITY