When a quarterback comes off the bench to score touchdowns in each of his first three plays it might typically lead to some discussion on who the starter should be. In the case of NC State, it is more likely to give the Wolfpack's opponents something to think about.
Jalan McClendon rushed for touchdowns on his first two plays of the game and then in the third quarter found Thaddeus Moss for his first college score. Ryan Finley threw for three touchdowns himself however, and NC State thumped Old Dominion, 49-22, at Carter-Finley Stadium in a much needed rebound effort following the Wolfpack's tough loss last week at East Carolina.
Finley finished a remarkable 24-for-28 passing for 281 yards while McClendon made the most of his playing time, going 3-for-4 for 31 yards. The duo had a hand in six of NC State's seven touchdowns against the Monarchs.
The past week was not easy for NC State. The disappointment following a bitter three-point loss in Greenville lingered around Raleigh and led to some questioning the direction of the program.
"A lot of people are saying things about our guys and me and everybody else, and we hung together," NC State head coach Dave Doeren said after the game. "We're going to stay together. I'm really proud of our players and our coaches for that, and we'll continue to do that everyday."
Last season it looked like NC State would have a quarterback battle prior to the 2016 campaign and that came to fruition, but it ended up have a different participant and eventual starter than people thought. Finley ultimately won the job many assumed McClendon had the inside track on while Jakobi Meyers, who heading into the season was felt by some to be a solid wildcat option, moved to wide receiver and caught three passes pass for 50 yards versus Old Dominion.
The movement at the quarterback position has not created any friction within the position group.
"I thought he did a great job, to come in like that," Finley said of McClendon. "We're in it together and Jalan is a great player. He could probably be out there too, and he did a great job. We don't care who scores as long as we win."
McClendon, while knowing that he would play a lesser part heading into the contest, echoed Finley's sentiments.
"I know they had a couple of packages for me this week and I just went in and did what I'm supposed to do. As long as I win I don't care. That's what matters at the end of the day. As long as he's productive and we're winning, then I'm fine."
Considering the unrest that followed NC State's loss at East Carolina, the comradery between the quarterbacks is something that pleases but does not surprise Doeren.
"We have a really great bunch of kids here and it's fun to be with them," Doeren said. "I enjoyed every minute of coaching them today."