Sidelined with a knee injury in the losses at Cincinnati and versus Georgia Tech, Manning returned on Saturday and definitely provided a spark for the Wolfpack.
He tallied nine tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss, a sack, a forced fumble, and an interception... Manning was all over the field and wreaking havoc.
"Terrell [Manning] helped us a lot by just being out there," said O'Brien. "He understands the defense, he does it right. That's the best thing I can say about him. He does it right whether it's blitz, whether it's not blitz. That was big for the defense to get him back today."
"I can go, at the end of the day that's all I care about, being out there for my team," said Manning. "I'll do anything that it takes to win and be out there with my guys."
Manning's interception was a particularly big play as it ended Central Michigan's opening drive of the second half. Facing a 3rd-and-10, Wolfpack defensive end Art Norman hit CMU quarterback Ryan Radcliff while he was releasing the ball, and it fluttered in the air right to Manning.
The play led to a Tobais Palmer touchdown reception... and a 28-17 lead for the Wolfpack.
"I didn't think he was going to throw the ball," said Manning. "It was a little duck going in the air, it was kind of low, I just dug low to get it and I tried to get out but there were too many guys around me.
"I'm kind of embarrassed I got caught but it'll be OK."
It would be the first of four forced interceptions by the Wolfpack defense in the second half, and Manning believes the credit should go to the defensive line.
"Everything on defense starts up front," he said. "Our defensive line had a great game in the second half and it translated to the linebackers and we started playing well and the coverage picked up too. At the end of the day we take it from one level to the next level and it worked out."