RALEIGH, N.C. – Tyrod Taylor threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Jarrett Boykin with 1:27 left, and Virginia Tech rallied past No. 23 North Carolina State 41-30 on Saturday.
Taylor finished 12 of 24 for 123 yards with three touchdown passes and rushed for 121 yards to lead the Hokies (3-2, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) back from a 17-0 deficit to their third straight victory.
Darren Evans rushed for 160 yards and two TDs, David Wilson returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown and Jayron Hosley had three interceptions.
For the Wolfpack (4-1, 1-1) Russell Wilson threw for 362 yards and three touchdowns, but N.C. State's first appearance in the national rankings since 2003 likely will be a short one.
Josh Czajkowski's 42-yard field goal put N.C. State up 30-28 with 4:42 left.
That's when Taylor led the Hokies downfield in a hurry.
He hit Boykin in stride over the middle, and the receiver broke three tackles on his way to the goal line. Taylor's 2-point conversion pass was incomplete, leaving it at 34-30.
On N.C. State's first offensive play after that, Wilson heaved it downfield for Owen Spencer and Hosley picked it off with 1:02 left. Evans powered in with 28 seconds left to make the score look more lopsided than it actually was.
Taylor hit Andre Smith with touchdowns of 10 and 4 yards, and got the slumping Tech offense rolling just in time to avoid its first ACC loss of the year.
The Hokies were coming off an offensively challenged 19-0 victory at Boston College in which they came away with just one touchdown in four trips to the red zone. They finished this one with 440 total yards, and once they got clicking — scoring 34 points after halftime — they barely resembled the team that was beaten by Boise State and James Madison in a six-day span to start the season.
Taylor gave the Hokies their first lead with 12:24 remaining when he found Andre Smith alone in the back of the end zone to make it 28-27.
That came after big plays from David Wilson and Evans got them back in the game. Wilson took the halftime kickoff and raced down the left sideline for the score that pulled Tech to 17-13. On the Hokies' next possession, Evans ran unimpeded through the right side for a 54-yard TD, and Taylor hit Danny Coale with the 2-point conversion. That pulled the Hokies to within three, at 24-21, midway through the third.
Spencer finished with 145 yards receiving on six catches, while Jarvis Williams had four receptions for 103 yards for N.C. State, which rolled up 507 total yards. Russell Wilson finished with scoring passes covering 7 yards to George Bryan, 2 yards to Dean Haynes and 34 yards to Williams.
Feeding off the energy of the third-largest crowd in Carter-Finley Stadium history, the Wolfpack pounced on the Hokies early and marched virtually at will on their opening drive, which was capped when Wilson found Bryan at the pylon less than 4 minutes in.
Three plays after Brandon Bishop's 39-yard interception return to the 2, the N.C. State quarterback rolled on a bootleg and flipped the 2-yard scoring toss to Haynes. That made it 14-0 with 6½ minutes left in the first, and the lead grew to 17-0 on Czajkowski's 37-yard field goal on the fourth play of the second quarter.
Wilson capped the Wolfpack's opening possession of the second half with a long scoring pass to Williams. Czajkowski later converted from 32 yards out to give N.C. State a 27-21 lead with about 5 minutes left in the third.