(Saturday, September 20th)
Final Score: North Carolina State 30, (15) East Carolina 24 (OT)
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Russell Wilson threw a five-yard touchdown pass to George Bryan with 1:12 remaining in the fourth quarter to tie the game and Andre Brown ran 10 yards for a score in overtime to give North Carolina State a 30-24 victory over 15th-ranked East Carolina at Carter-Finley Stadium.
East Carolina had the ball first in the extra period and the NC State defense came up with the big play, as Shea McKeen sacked Patrick Pinkney and forced a fumble.
It took the Wolfpack offense just three plays to win the game. After Wilson lost a yard on the first play, Brown ran through tackles for 16 yards to the 10-yard line, then finished the contest on the next play with another strong run to the end zone.
"I didn't want to rely on the kicker," said Brown. "I wanted to put this thing in the end zone."
North Carolina State (2-2) never led until the final play.
Brown ran for 73 yards on 12 carries and Wilson completed 21-of-31 passes for 210 yards with three scores for the Wolfpack, who were coming off a 27-9 loss at Clemson last week.
"It was certainly a great effort by our football team," said NC State head coach Tom O'Brien. "We made a couple of great plays at the end. We're really happy with this one."
Pinkney also threw for 210 yards on 19-of-32 passing with one touchdown and one interception. He ran for just 38 yards on nine carries. Norman Whitley led the way with 83 yards and a score on nine carries for East Carolina (3-1), which had beaten Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Tulane to open the season.
East Carolina, leading 21-17, had a chance to put the game away with a pair of drives inside the NC State five-yard line in the fourth quarter, but the Wolfpack made a pair of goal line stands.
On the first possession of the period, the Pirates faced 4th-and-goal from the one-yard line but Jon Williams was stuffed behind the line of scrimmage. After getting the ball back on a punt, ECU set up with 1st-and-goal from the nine and got to the three before settling for a 21-yard field goal from Ben Hartman for a seven-point margin with 4:27 remaining.
"The decision to go for the touchdown there was all mine," said ECU head coach Skip Holtz. "We had a missed assignment and one of their guys got in the backfield. Give NC State a lot of credit. They had to make some big plays to stop us and they did."
A 45-yard kickoff return by T.J. Graham gave the Wolfpack a short field and they took advantage. Wilson completed passes of 26 and 17 yards on the first two plays to set up a first down at the 12-yard line and soon after hit Bryan with a five-yard scoring pass. The play was initially ruled incomplete, as Bryan juggled it as he was falling to the turf, but a video review overturned the call and gave NC State the tying touchdown with 1:12 remaining.
East Carolina took a 7-0 lead with its defense, as Van Eskridge intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown midway through the first quarter.
NC State failed to produce a first down on its first three possessions, then took advantage of a 20-yard punt and marched 46 yards for the tying touchdown. The series appeared to bog down inside the five-yard line, but the Wolfpack elected to go for a first down on 4th-and-1 from the four and Wilson found a hole to reach the one-yard line. On the first play of the second quarter, Wilson found Brown in the end zone from four yards away to tie it.
The teams again traded punts before East Carolina again moved in front with nine minutes left in the half. Pinkney completed three straight passes to start the 77-yard drive, and on 3rd-and-5 from the NC State 39 he threw a pass down the middle to Davon Drew, who eluded a pair of tacklers near the 25 before racing to the end zone to give the Pirates a 14-7 edge.
NC State followed with a march from its own 25 to the ECU 39, but the Wolfpack could not pick up another first down and punted the ball away with just under four minutes left before the break.
Pinkney was then picked off by Justin Byers at the NC State 30 and the Wolfpack drove deep into ECU territory in the final minute. However, Eskridge came up with his second big play of the half and forced a fumble that was recovered by the Pirates inside their own 20-yard line.
The Wolfpack took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched 60 yards for the tying touchdown. A 30-yard pass from Wilson to Bryan keyed the series and Wilson hit Jarvis Williams with a 20-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-17.
East Carolina, though, answered immediately and again took a seven-point edge. Whitley, on the fourth play after the kickoff, broke free for a 42-yard touchdown jaunt to make it 21-14.
NC State pulled within four on a 41-yard field goal from Josh Czajkowski with 70 seconds to play in the third period.
NC State leads the all-time series 16-10...The Wolfpack host South Florida next Saturday, while East Carolina welcomes Houston...NC State outgained ECU by one yard, 384-383.
09/20 17:43:22 ET