Sophomore corner David Amerson intercepted his third pass of the season in the second quarter. Amerson didn't have any as a freshman starter in 2010 and State's team-best was four, by safety Brandon Bishop last year.
Amerson's pick, at the Wolfpack's 7-yard line, was a glass-half-full, half-empty play, though. South Alabama tight end Kevin Helms ran free through State's secondary and would have scored easily with a better throw from quarterback C.J. Bennett, who underthrew Helms by about 5 yards, allowing Amerson to leap and make the interception.
N.C. State linebacker Terrell Manning tweaked a knee at 2:22 in the first quarter and did not return. Manning did run off the field. Manning is one of the impact players on defense and the Wolfpack would be better off with him for Thursday's trip to Cincinnati. The Wolfpack is already down three starters on defense from the preseason depth chart.
Given the in-state recruiting base, South Alabama has a chance to make a successful transition from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Sun Belt Conference, where Troy has dominated the past five years. Saturday's trip to Raleigh was the Jaguars' first game against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent since the program started two years ago .
Redshirt freshman running back Kendall Houston, a transfer from Arkansas State via Mobile, Ala., in particular was impressive for the Jaguars.