Living On The Edge

The N.C. State Wolfpack have certainly been living on the edge the past couple of games, with the 20-18 escape at Maryland another example.

The N.C. State Wolfpack have certainly been living on the edge the past couple of games, with the 20-18 escape at Maryland another example.

The good thing for N.C. State is that it has learned how to convert at the end of games. The Wolfpack has won three of its games by three points or less or by a combined six points.

In two of those outcomes, the Wolfpack needed last-minute drives without timeouts in order to turn deficits into advantages. Quarterback Mike Glennon has excelled in those situations even though this marks only his second season as a starter.

The Wolfpack needed a late touchdown to defeat Florida State. All it took to top Maryland was a field goal in the final minute, though N.C. State needed to survive Maryland's last-ditch field-goal attempt that bounced off the upright.

The Wolfpack can receive kudos for some good clock management in those games. And now, there's a degree of confidence brewing that it can pull out these games.

WHAT'S AHEAD: The Wolfpack plays on the road, but it will be a short trip to face rival North Carolina, which has lost to in-state opponents Wake Forest and Duke and won't want to add N.C. State to that list.

N.C. State snapped a 16-game road losing streak within the ACC's Atlantic Division by defeating Maryland. It was the first time a Tom O'Brien-coached Wolfpack team won in the division on the road. N.C. State is 3-16 all-time in road division games since the ACC split into two divisions, with two of the victories coming at Maryland.

The Wolfpack continued its strong second-quarter play. It has allowed points in the second quarter only once this season, posting shutouts during that 15-minute span in six of the seven games.

KEEP AN EYE ON: RB Tony Creecy appears to have ascended to the clear front runner among tailbacks. He'll need to be more productive than averaging 2.1 yards per carry on 17 attempts (as was the case for the Maryland game) if the Wolfpack is going to crank up its rushing attack again.

LOOKING GOOD: LB Sterling Lucas has been a mainstay in the middle of the defense this year after preseason questions about how he would adjust after missing last season with an injury and then joining a group that was relatively inexperienced. The defense has elevated its play to become a strength on the team and it wouldn't be the case if not for Lucas raising the level of performance among linebackers.

STILL NEEDS WORK: The Wolfpack could use better starts to games and it's a situation that has rarely improved. It was a miserable opening stretch against Maryland because N.C. State had possession for less than five minutes of the first quarter, and trailed 3-0 going to the second quarter. There were also less-than-stellar opening stretches against Miami and Florida State.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "When it came time to make plays, he made plays." Coach Tom O'Brien, on QB Mike Glennon, who has orchestrated go-ahead drives in the waning minutes of the past two games.

S Earl Wolff forced his eighth fumble of his career in the game at Maryland. But it was the senior's first forced fumble of the season. He posted a team-high 13 tackles in the game.

WR Bryan Underwood added to his school record when he made a touchdown reception for the seventh game in a row. He also posted a career-best 134 receiving yards.

CB David Amerson notched his 17th career interception in the game at Maryland. He's the school leader in that category. He's the active leader in Division I in interceptions.

FB Logan Winkles has made four receptions in 16 career games. But his 25-yard grab against Maryland was his first touchdown reception.

K Niklas Sade has made his last five field-goal attempts, including the game-winner from 43 yards out with 32 seconds left at Maryland. He connected on only two of his first five attempts this season.

OT Rob Crisp was back in the lineup for the first time since the opener. He had been out with a back injury.

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