The Wolfpack opened the scoring on the game's first drive thanks to a career long 53-yard field goal from sophomore kicker John Deraney.
Virginia Tech's lone touchdown came on a three-yard touchdown pass from Bryan Randall to fullback John Kinzer in the first quarter, giving the Hokies a 7-3 lead. The scoring drive was set up by a fumbled exchange from Wolfpack quarterback Marcus Stone and T.A. McLendon.
After a long punt return by Virginia Tech's Eddie Royal, the Hokies had to settle for a 23-yard field goal that pushed their lead to 10-3.
NC State came back late in the second with a strong defensive stand that set up their second scoring drive. Defensive ends Manny Lawson and Raymond Brooks record consecutive sacks that pushed the Hokies to the 1-yard line where they were forced to punt.
On the next drive, McLendon scored on a 6-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 10-10 heading into the half.
McLendon rushed for 56 yards on 13 carries in the first half while quarterback Jay Davis passed for 56 yards on 3 of 8 passing. Marcus Stone was solid in limited action, completing his lone pass for ten yards while leading the Wolfpack on their lone touchdown scoring drive.
Virginia Tech's had no success through the air, passing for just five yards in the first half.
The second half began like the first ended, with the Wolfpack defense simply dominating. NC State recorded two sacks on Virginia Tech's next two possessions, before the game turned on a special teams play.
Hokie punter Vincent Burns bobbled the punt snap and NC State's Marcus Hudson recovered at the Virginia Tech five-yard line. The Wolfpack would capitalize on the error, as quarterback Marcus Stone snuck in from the one-yard line to give NC State a 17-10 lead.
Much of the second half remained the same way, as NC State looked to establish T.A. McLendon on the ground while torturing Virginia Tech when they had the ball.
The Hokies climbed back into the ball game in the fourth quarter thanks to six points from Brandon Pace, a 23-yard field goal and a 37-yarder that closed NC State's lead to 17-16.
Both teams exchanged possessions in the final minutes, with the Wolfpack's John Deraney pinning the Hokies at their own five-yard line with a crucial 48-yard punt on what would be the game's final possession at the 2:44 mark.
The Hokies, who had no timeouts left entering the drive, converted a fourth and three on an eight-yard completion to Josh Hyman.
Tech would get their biggest play of the game moments later, as Randall hooked up with David Clowney on a 38-yard pass play that put the Hokies at NC State's 26-yard line and in field goal range.
After a two-yard run from Randall, which looked like a play to position the football for kicker Brandon Pace, he would spike the ball on second down to stop the clock with three seconds left to allow Pace and the field goal unit time to take the field.
Wisely, NC State used their final timeout to 'ice' Pace while allowing their blocking unit time to rest. On the game's final play, Pace pushed a 43-yard field goal wide right, and NC State picked up their second win of the season.
The Wolfpack's defense finished the game with ten sacks, as defensive end Manny Lawson led the way with three sacks of his own, giving him five on the season. They also held Virginia Tech to 192 yards of total offense and just one offensive touchdown. The defense has now yielded just two offensive touchdowns in twelve quarters of play.
Offensively, McLendon finished with 93 yards on 24 carries, while freshman Marcus Stone completed the game behind center for the Wolfpack. Stone managed the game superbly and minimized mistakes in the second half.
NC State (2-1) now takes on Wake Forest (3-1) next weekend at Carter-Finely Stadium, and Virginia Tech (2-2) prepares for a tough West Virginia (2-0) squad.