It wasn’t pretty…but at the end of the day, the visiting Louisville Cardinals continued their resurgence as they scored 13 straight points to overcome the host NC State Wolfpack 13-10 Friday night inside Carter-Finley Stadium.
Both teams traded punts to open the contest with the Cardinals getting into Wolfpack territory before the State offense went three and out. Louisville’s next possession resulted in a three-and-out before a fake punt attempt that netted enough yards would be wiped away with a holding penalty. A short punt set the Wolfpack up at their own 46-yard line for their second shot on offense. The NC State offense would gain nine yards on three plays then attempted to draw the Cards offside but were unsuccessful leading to another punt with just over five minutes left in the opening quarter.
A personal foul on the Cards gave NC State their first set of new downs. Nothing more would come from it as the Wolfpack punted for the third time in the quarter sending us to a scoreless tie after 15 minutes played.
Louisville would take over and drive inside the NC State 40-yard line before having to settle for a 52-yard field goal attempt that was no good. After getting across midfield it was the Wolfpack’s turn at a fake punt attempt. A direct snap to Peyton Wilson who gained three yards was enough to keep the NC State drive alive. Facing 4th and short at the five-yard line, NC State again went for it and picked up just enough to make it first and goal from the four. On the next play, Delbert Mimms found the endzone. The PAT made the score 7-0 in favor of the Wolfpack with 6:27 remaining in the half.
The Cards hurt themselves again while driving inside the NC State 40, Sean Brown forced a fumble on quarter Jack Plummer that was recovered by Peyton Wilson giving the Wolfpack the ball at the 49-yard with just over three minutes left before the break.
After another Wolfpack punt, another Cards mistake set NC State up at the 32-yard line as Plummer was picked off by Shyheim Battle with just under a minute left in the half. NC State turned the takeaway into points as Brayden Naverson added a 48-yard field goal as time expired making the score 10-0 at halftime.
NC State opened the second half with a drive all the way inside the 10-yard line including a 45-yard pass play from Armstrong to Timmons Jr. On the next snap, Armstrong was picked off in the endzone by Cam’Ron Kelly ending the threat. Punts from both teams followed before Louisville flipped the field with a good punt return before finally finding the endzone on a 39-yard bomb from Plummer to Chris Bell sliced the Wolfpack lead to 10-7 after the PAT with 6:38 remaining in the third.
Things continued to swing in the Cards favor as Armstrong fumbled on a QB run near midfield that was recovered by Louisville at their own 44-yard line. Louisville tied the game at 10-10 with 1:32 left in the third with a 7-play, 40-yard drive that ended with a 33-yard field goal from Brock Travelstead.
The momentum switched sides as Plummer gifted NC State an interception in the endzone as Bishop Fitzgerald came away with the turnover with 13:03 left. The tie would be broken with 5:32 left as Travelstead added a 53-yard field goal putting Louisville ahead 13-10.
A crucial call would come with 2:44 left as Louisville punted but NC State would be called for a late running into the kicker penalty which awarded the Cards with a first down. Louisville would run the ball forcing NC State to use their remaining timeouts before punting away to the Wolfpack with 1:44 on the clock.
The threat would be short-lived as Armstrong was pressured on the first play and was picked off sending Louisville to the 13-10 comeback win.
The Wolfpack were held to just 201 total yards while the Cards piled on 306. Armstrong was the leading rusher for State finishing with 61 yards on 17 carries while completing just 13 of 25 passes for 112 yards and two interceptions.
Wilson turned in a stat stuffing performance collecting 10 total tackles (six solo), two sacks, and two tackles for loss.
NC State returns to Carter-Finley Stadium next Saturday as they host Marshall.