Pressure bursts pipes. No one understands that better than Wolfpack linebackers coach Jon Tenuta. State's blitzes have mostly fallen flat through five games, though, and CMU quarterback Ryan Radcliff carved up State's defense in the first half.
State's defense looked like it did a year ago in the second half, pressuring Radcliff and forcing three third-quarter turnovers.
Radcliff started the game 15-of-17, with two touchdowns, but after State started to apply pressure, he went just 1-of-10 in the third quarter with three interceptions.
Sammy Baugh would appreciate the versatility of N.C. State's roster. Backup center Wayne Crawford played a series at defensive tackle in the first quarter.
Last week, fullback Taylor Gentry took some snaps at defensive tackle. Earlier in the season, cornerback Rashard Smith played receiver.
Crawford's move to the defensive line makes sense. He was recruited as a defensive tackle and with the addition of Cameron Fordham at center, there's depth behind starter Cam Wentz.
Fordham, a transfer from LSU, was cleared by the NCAA last week and has been the backup center the past two games.
"American Idol" winner and Garner native Scotty McCreery sang the national anthem before the game. It was a nice warmup for McCreery, a State fan, who will sing the anthem before the first game of the World Series.
If State had brought McCreery back to sing at halftime, more of the announced 54,388 fans might have remained in the stadium for the entire game.