NC State's defense came out and got the job done.
Playing against an under-manned Presbyterian squad, the Wolfpack held the Blue Hose to just 252 yards of total offense. Quarterback Hays McMath passed for 130 yards, and NC State limited PC to just 122 yards rushing on 45 carries, a 2.7 yards per carry average.
Leading the way was middle linebacker Jerod Fernandez. A redshirt freshman, Fernandez finished with a game-high 12 tackles and a tackle for a loss. Defensive tackle Thomas Teal really stepped up, totaling six tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery.
Freshman defensive tackle Kenton Gibbs came off the bench to record six tackles and a sack in limited action.
Presbyterian had just one drive reach the Wolfpack red zone and missed a field goal attempt on that possession.
NC State's offense started slow, but used an offensive burst late in the second quarter into the third quarter to blow the game wide open.
After scoring on the opening drive, the Wolfpack punted on the next three possessions before taking a 14-0 lead with 1:58 left in the second quarter. Following a turnover, the Pack scored 47 seconds later when Jacoby Brissett connected with Matt Dayes for a touchdown to put the Pack up 21-0 at halftime.
On the opening possession of the second half, Brissett tossed a 65-yard touchdown strike to Bryan Underwood on the first play from scrimmage, putting the Pack ahead 28-0.
Dave Doeren has talked in recent weeks about getting more explosive plays, and State was able to do that again on Saturday after doing so last week versus South Florida.
Five of NC State's six touchdowns were 18 yards or longer.
BRISSETT IS EFFICIENT... AGAIN
Jacoby Brissett had another productive night under center for the Wolfpack.
The redshirt junior completed 14-of-21 passes for 195 yards and three touchdowns, and he added another 22 yards rushing and a one-yard touchdown plunge.
Brissett is having arguably the best start in the ACC at the position, as he hos now totaled 11 touchdowns and just one interception.
The competition steps up next Saturday when Florida State comes to Carter-Finley Stadium.
GROUND GAME GETS GOING
As with the rest of the Wolfpack offense, the rushing attack started slow but took over during the course of the game.
NC State was playing without starting left guard Joe Thuney, who was out with an illness and starting right guard Alex Barr slid over into his spot, so maybe it took some time to gel because at the half the Pack had just 69 rushing yards.
They finished with 265 yards rushing, totaling nearly 200 yards on the ground in the second half. That figure included the 68-yard touchdown run by Matt Dayes and Shadrach Thornton's 33-yard score through the middle of the line, untouched.
It was the third-straight game with 200+ rush yards for the Wolfpack, a feat they hadn't accomplished since 1994.
LIMITING BIG PLAYS
Giving up big plays was an area of concern for NC State to start the season, but the Wolfpack defense seems to have made it a focal point to keep the ball in front of them, don't have any missed assignments, and to tackle when they have the chance to do so.
Presbyterian couldn't get any explosive plays against the Pack defense. State yielded just one play of 20 or more yards to the Blue Hose, a 33-yard pass in the third quarter. The Blue Hose had just five total "chunk plays..." runs of 10+ yards or passes of 15+ yards.
Look for NC State to continue trying to make opposing offenses grind out drives against them... they came up with another red zone stop, which has been big for them so far this year.
BAUMANN BOOMS IT
Lost in the start of the season has been the strong play of senior punter Wil Baumann.
He entered the game averaging an absurd 47.3 yards per punt, which would easily lead the ACC, however, he's only attempted seven punts so he doesn't qualify for the category.
Saturday night he was drilling them against Presbyterian. Baumann kicked four punts and averaged a ridiculous 55.3 yards per punt, and that included a 67-yard kick that was downed inside the 20-yard line.
He has become a weapon for the Wolfpack.