With only 53 seconds off the clock, the NC State Wolfpack struck first in their ACC clash with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett stepped back and fired a strike to Maurice Trowell, who caught the pass and ran the rest of the way for a 59-yard touchdown and just like that Wake Forest was behind 7-0.
Just like in the previous game against the North Carolina Tar Heels, Wake Forest was missing tackles and giving up big plays. After their opening drive was foiled, Wake was looking for a defensive stop, which did not come. NC State running back Matthew Dayes took the handoff on the first play of their second drive and weaved through the Demon Deacon defense and broke away for an 85-yard touchdown to go up 14-0.
Later in the first, the NC State offense found pay dirt again. Jacoby Brissett threw another beautiful deep ball, this time to Nyheim Hines, who reached the ball over the line and gave the Wolfpack a 21 point lead less than 12 minutes into the game.
NC State was not finished yet. On their next drive, Dayes broke through the Deacon front and found open space for another long touchdown run. This one was 57 yards. Wake Forest was down by 28 before the second quarter started. NC State showed that they were ready for this game and Wake started flat. It was a perfect storm that resulted in a huge disparity in yards and points. After the first quarter, NC State had only ran two more plays than Wake Forest, but had over 300 more yards gained. All four of the Wolfpack touchdowns were over 50 yards.
NC State head coach Dave Doeren was obviously ecstatic about his team’s performance in the opening quarter. “I thought the first quarter, we came out blazing on both sides of the ball. We really did a nice job getting 28 points, having some explosive plays.”
Those explosive plays put the game out of reach early. Even though Wake did not allow another offensive score, they were still beaten 35-17. The start was very disappointing for Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson. “It was a 12 o’clock kickoff today, and our football team showed up at 12:45.”
The struggles can be credited to poor tackling in the secondary, coupled with playing against solid playmakers like Matthew Dayes. Coach Clawson said after the game, “Right now we are a really poor tackling team against good people. Teams that have an elite back right now, and we’re just not tackling them.”
NC State dominated the beginning of the game and never looked back. They were able to beat the Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem for the first time since October 6th, 2001.