RALEIGH, N.C. – The N.C. State Wolfpack posted their tenth consecutive home-opening win with a 34-6 finish over instate opponent East Carolina on Saturday.
Head coach Dave Doeren earned his seventh opening-day victory at Carter-Finley Stadium with the help of redshirt sophomore quarterback Matthew McKay.
McKay’s collegiate debut as a starter yielded a 25-of-37, 308-yard finish that included three TDs (two rushing, one passing) and no interceptions.
Leading 17-3 at halftime, N.C. State’s defense contained the Pirates defense throughout, allowing only one other field goal in the dying minutes of the game.
McKay and the State offense piled on the offense to produce 505 yards (314 passing, 191 rushing) via 23 first-down conversions and finished 4-of-4 in the red zone.
ECU quarterback Holton Ahlers (22-39) threw for 168 yards of the Pirates 228 total, with one interception and little run support that earned 41 yards against the stingy Wolfpack defense.
Jake Verity converted both of the Pirates’ field goals.
KEYS TO THE WIN
NC State Defense
The trio of Chris Ingram, Tanner Ingle, and Nick McCloud set the tone for the Wolfpack defense early, causing a fumble in the State end zone that ended ECU’s opening 12-play, 75-yard drive. Seven solo tackles and an interception from Ingram, four solos from Ingles and three from McCloud highlighted NC State’s work against an ECU offense that couldn’t generate much scoring.
NC State Offense
McKay went to work and effectively utilized both the passing and run game. Thayer Thomas (6 catches, 83 yards), Tabari Hines (4 catches, 74 yards, 1 TD), and Emeka Emezie (7 catches, 70 yards) hauled in passes in while Zonovan Knight (9 rushes, 43 yards, 1 TD), McKay (6 rushes, 35 yards, 1 TD), Jordan Houston (6 rushes, 36 yards), and Ricky Person (5 rushes, 20 yards) carried the rest of the load.
POSTGAME AUDIO – WHAT THEY SAID
Peter Koutroumpis: 401-323-8960, @pksport