It wasn’t pretty at all, but a win is always a win. The NC State Wolfpack have been finding different ways to win games all year long and used a mixture to overcome a sluggish second half, defeating Georgia Tech 23-13 on senior day Saturday night inside Carter-Finley Stadium.
The Wolfpack finish the regular season at 8-3 overall and 7-3 in the ACC, setting a program record for ACC wins in a season. Georgia Tech falls to 3-6 overall and 3-5 in the ACC with two games remaining.
Inside The Numbers
Georgia Tech outgained NC State in total yardage 412-397. The Wolfpack were limited to just 88 yards rushing while the Yellow Jackets produced another strong outing on the ground, finishing with 261 yards.
Bailey Hockman finished the night 23-36 (36 pass attempts were a season-high) for 309 yards. Senior receiver Emeka Emezie finished his final home game with six receptions for 91 yards. Ricky Person Jr tallied 59 yards and one score.
Freshman quarterback Jeff Sims completed 13 of 27 passes for 151 yards while rushing for 93 yards and one touchdown. Jordan Mason led Georgia Tech in rushing with 99 yards. Adonicas Sanders led all receivers with 105 yards on seven catches.
Both teams opened the contest gaining one first down before punting on their first drives. Three and outs followed from both offenses – leaving the game scoreless with 9:51 remaining in the quarter.
The Wolfpack offense finally got into a groove as Bailey Hockman strung together a few
completions driving into Yellow Jacket territory. The drive would come to a halt, resulting in a 41-yard field goal from Chris Dunn to put NC State ahead 3-0 with 5:19 left in the opening stanza.
The NC State defense forced its third punt from the Georgia Tech offense which resulted in a short punt and a good return from Thayer Thomas up to the Yellow Jackets 45 yard line. The Wolfpack would drive to the 20 before the end of the quarter.
As the quarter opened with the Wolfpack at the Tech 20 yard line, Rickey Person Jr took the first snap of the quarter around the left end and waltzed into the end zone, making the score 10-0 with just eight seconds off the clock.
On the next drive, Georgia Tech would impose its will on the State defense driving 75 yards in 8 plays – capped off by a 34-yard scamper from quarterback Jeff Sims, trimming the NC State lead to 10-7 with 12:20 remaining in the quarter.
Starting deep in their own territory after the Tech score, Hockman used a pair of deep passes of 33 yards to Porter Rooks and 25 to CJ Riley which set up a five-yard score from Bam Knight to extend the Wolfpack lead to 17-7 with 10:12 left.
Georgia Tech would use its efficient running game to drive down to the State 35 yard line before getting stopped on fourth down – turning the ball over on downs. Hockman again used the deep ball to set the Wolfpack offense up for a score, connecting with Devin Carter for a gain of 36 yards inside the Yellow Jacket 10 yard line. The Pack wouldn’t be able to punch it in for six and settled for Dunn’s second field goal of the contest to go ahead 20-7 with 3:53 left before the break.
A repeat from earlier in the quarter, as Tech drove down inside the Wolfpack 25 and came up empty on 4th down. State would take over on downs and head into the locker room up 20-7.
Georgia Tech took the opening half kickoff down the field, getting to the NC State one-yard line twice before penalties and negative plays resulted in a 26-yard field goal to trim the NC State lead to 20-10 with 8:53 left in the quarter. NC State looked prime to add to their lead getting all the way down the Georgia Tech 10 yard line before being stuffed on 4th and short with 3:34 left. Georgia Tech continued to run the ball at will, getting inside the NC State 30 before the quarter break trailing 20-10.
The Georgia Tech offense would again stall inside the red zone, settling for a 22-yard field goal from Gavin Stewart that cut deeper into the Wolfpack lead at 20-13 with 11:32 left. NC State would get the ball back after a Georgia Tech punt, allowing Chris Dunn to kick his school-record 56th field goal making the score 23-13 in favor of the Wolfpack with 3:31 left.