Russell Wilson threw for four touchdowns and the Wolfpack offense tallied 480 yards as the Pack dominated Western Carolina on Saturday night with a 48-7 win at Carter-Finley Stadium. After punting on its first possession, the Pack scored on its next eight to help blow past the Catamounts.
The Pack defense gave up an 87-yard touchdown drive to start the game,but wouldn't give up a single point during the rest of the game. Apart from the opening drive, the Pack allowed just 102 yards of total offense and the Catamounts never crossed midfield. Sophomore Terrell Manning led the way for the Pack defensively with 10 tackles while Nate Irving, playing in his first game since 2008, did not record a tackle.
While Wilson racked up 306 yards and four touchdowns, TJ Graham was the surprise star for the Pack offense. The junior caught six passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns, twice as many as his career total coming into the game. Mike Glennon replaced Wilson mid-way through the third quarter, but the sophomore back-up appeared to hurt his knee on a hit in the fourth quarter. The injury has initially been diagnosed as a bruise but Glennon did not return to the game.
Western Carolina shocked the sell-out crowd at the start of the game with a impressive scoring drive for a touchdown. The Catamounts picked up 20 yards on their first play from scrimmage and proceeded to march down the field on a 10 play, 87-yard drive that culminated with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Deja Alexander that put the Pack in a quick 7-0 hole.
The Pack followed the Catamount's score with a three-and-out, but was bailed out when the ensuing punt hit a Western Carolina player – allowing the Pack to recover. They took full advantage of a second opportunity, as Wilson found a wide-open Graham in the end zone on the first play of the drive, a 26-yard catch that tied the game.
The Pack defense forced a punt on the ensuing Catamount possession, and the offense marched down the field to take the lead for the first time all day. Wilson and the Pack put together an 11-play, 72-yard drive that was kept alive when Dean Haynes picked up a fourth-and-one. Three plays later, Wilson found Graham cutting across the middle of the field and the elusive receiver found the corner and waltzed into the end zone.
Russell Wilson threw his third touchdown pass on the Pack's next possession, a drive that started with a 60-yard bomb to Owen Spencer. The senior wide-out beat his defender down the field but couldn't elude the tackle, giving the Pack the ball inside the 20-yard line. A pass to Graham got the ball to the goal-line, where Wilson found Taylor Gentry on play action for the score.
While the NC State defense found its groove, forcing three consecutive punts, Wilson continued to throw bullets all over the field. His fourth touchdown throw went to George Bryan, a 7-yard strike to the back of the end zone to make the score 28-7 in favor of the Pack. The Pack offense would end the first half with a 24-yard field goal to make the score 31-7 going into the locker room.
The Pack opened the second half the same way they closed the first, as Josh Czajkowski hit a 28-yard attempt on its opening drive as the offense stalled at the 11-yard line. The Pack got back to its touchdown ways on its next drive, as true freshman Mustafa Greene scored the first touchdown of his career with a 2-yard scamper to make it a 41-7 lead for the home team.
Mike Glennon replaced Wilson for the Pack's next drive, marching the team down thefield before freshman running back Dean Haynes punched in a 1-yard touchdown run.