The Jaguars, who had never lost a game in the program's three-year history but also had never played and FBS team, hung around for much of the game but never got it closer than 11 points in the second half. The Wolfpack did enough to take home a 35-13 win on Saturday night at Carter-Finley Stadium but failed to dominate against a team that didn't exist when O'Brien was hired to coach the Pack.
Mike Glennon set a career high with four touchdown throws in the win, finishing 17-of-20 for 274 yards and no interceptions. Two of those touchdown throws went to Taylor Gentry, the first multi-touchdown game of the fullback's career. TJ Graham hauled in five catches for 128 yards and became the first receiver to have back-to-back 100-yard receiving games since Jerricho Cotchery in 2003.
The Pack allowed 286 yards, the best mark of the season for the defense, and forced three turnovers in the win. But the offense put the ball on the ground four times, losing three fumbles to keep the Jaguars' hopes alive for much of the evening.
Glennon and the offense wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, scoring on its first possession. TJ Graham took the opening kickoff to near midfield and the Pack marched to the endzone from there. The big play came on crossing route to Bryan Underwood, who scampered to the USA 1-yard line on a 30-yard pass from Glennon. James Washington punched it in two plays later to put the Pack up by a touchdown early. The Jaguars answered that score late in the first quarter with a 46-yard field goal, the longest kick in the school's short history.
The Pack offense looked like it was going to roll through the Jaguars early but quickly lost steam. James Washington lost a fumble and both Glennon and Curtis Underwood fumbled balls that were recovered by the Pack. The offense got its second touchdown early in the second quarter, scoring on a 1-yard pass to Gentry. But the Pack continued sputtering, punting on its final two possessions of the half and amassing just 56 yards in the final 12 minutes before taking a 14-3 lead into the locker room.
South Alabama opened the second half by giving the football away, as Brandan Bishop came up with an interception that he returned deep into Jaguar territory. The offense took over from there, as a heavy dose of Washington got the Pack inside the 5-yard line and Glennon found Gentry for the second time to make it a 21-3 game.
But the Jaguars didn't fold the tent, countering with their first touchdown of the game by sticking to the ground game. South Alabama marched down the field on a six play, 66-yard drive that was capped by an 8-yard run from Georgia transfer Demetre Baker. The Jaguars looked like they might make it an interesting game when they recovered a Pack fumble on its next possession but the visitors failed to capitalize – missing a field goal.
The Pack followed the missed field goal with its best offensive drive of the evening, a nine-play 73-yard drive that ended with the Pack's fourth touchdown of the night. The Pack chose to go for it on 4th and four from inside the Jaguar 40-yard line and the gamble payed off as Tobais Palmer hauled in a 1st down grab. Two plays later Glennon hit Underwood in the right flat the senior back took it to the house for an 18-yard touchdown to make it a 28-10 game late in the third quarter.
Following another South Alabama field goal, the Pack hit on its biggest play of the night and ended any doubt about the outcome. Graham got behind the Jaguar defense and Glennon hit him in stride for a 67-yard touchdown – the second 60-plus yard touchdown that Graham has caught in the last two games. The touchdown made it a 35-10 game and neither team would score over the final four minutes.