State Falls to Wake, 38-18

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- NC State quarterback Daniel Evans threw three interceptions with the final one returned 57 yards for a game-clinching touchdown by Aaron Curry as Wake Forest defeated the Wolfpack 38-18.

Wake Forest, playing several seniors on Senior Day, came out and jumped on NC State right away. After forcing a three-and-out on the Wolfpack's first possession, the Deacs marched down the field and scored a touchdown on a one-yard plunge from senior fullback DeAngelo Bryant. The run capped a 10-play, 63-yard drive that gave Wake a 7-0 advantage.

NC State came right back and sustained a long drive of its own, keyed by timely passing from Daniel Evans. After driving inside the redzone, Evans got greedy and was picked off by standout cornerback Alphonso Smith. It was the second interception Evans had thrown in the redzone in the past two weeks. Wake would give it right back though at the other end of the field when Pack freshman linebacker Nate Irving knocked the ball out of the hands of Josh Adams, and the fumble was recovered by freshman corner DeAndre Morgan at the Wolfpack's 18.

Evans, who was 5-of-11 for 76 yards in the first quarter, remained hot, this time connecting with Marcus Stone and Darrell Blackman to move the Pack deep into Wake territory. The drive would stall though as a chopblocking penalty pushed State out of the redzone and forced a field goal attempt from senior Steven Hauschka, who connected from 42 yards out to cut Wake's lead to 7-3.

Midway through the second quarter Wake would score again, this time capitalizing on a blocked punt recovered at the 38-yard line. Freshman tailback Josh Adams scored from four yards out and pushing Wake's lead to 14-3 with just over five minutes remaining in the quarter. The Deacs weren't finished. After a long completion on third-and-long, quarterback Riley Skinner found Bryant in the corner of the endzone for a touchdown, and Wake's lead jumped to 21-3.

Wake's offense dominated the first half, totaling 268 yards of offense as NC State generated just 174 yards with two turnovers. The Deacs were 5-of-7 on third down and had the ball nearly twenty minutes of the first half.

The Wolfpack's defense came out strong in the second half, playing inspired football. State forced two three-and-outs by Wake Forest, with the second giving the Pack's offense favorable field position at its own 48-yard line. Evans would lead them down the field, with help from a couple of huge Deacon penalties. On third-and-goal, the junior quarterback found Matt Kushner in the endzone for the touchdown, pulling the Pack back within 11 at 21-10.

NC State's offense wasn't done. After another strong defensive stand, the Pack maintained the momentum with Evans testing Wake through the air. The big play came on a 32-yard bomb to Blackman that set the Wolfpack up inside the five. Two plays later Eugene would dive in from the one, and after a two-point conversion Wake's lead had been cut to 21-18.

On the ensuing possession, Skinner attacked the Pack on the edge, hitting freshman Jordan Williams for a 62-yard scoring strike and just like that Wake's lead increased to 28-18 entering the final quarter.

Wake would get the ball right back, but Pack linebacker John Ware forced a fumble that was recovered by Martrel Brown, giving State great field position on Wake's side of the field early in the fourth quarter. After mounting a mini-drive, kicker Steven Hauschka, who has missed just one kick all year, was wide left from 37-yards out, and State squandered a chance to cut the lead to seven points.

Following another Wake punt, the Pack would turn the ball over again, this time when sophomore Donald Bowens fumbled and the Deacs recovered at the 37-yard line. The turnover led to a Sam Swank 37-yard field goal that gave Wake a 31-18 lead with just under seven minutes remaining.

The Deacs would slam the door shut on NC State's next possession, as Evans' pass intended for Owen Spencer was batted in the air and picked off by Aaron Curry, and the junior linebacker returned it 57yards for the game-clinching touchdown.

The 38-18 defeat left NC State (5-6, 3-4) still searching for a win to become bowl eligible. Their final game is next Saturday against Maryland, who will also be looking for their sixth win.

Quarterback Daniel Evans completed just 24-of-56 passes for 286 yards and a touchdown, but he threw three costly interceptions. Junior safety DaJuan Morgan was probably the Pack's best player as he totaled 15 tackles and a forced fumble.

For Wake Forest, quarterback Riley Skinner completed 20-of-29 passes for 208 yards and two scores while corner Alphonso Smith totaled seven tackles and two interceptions.

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