EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — N.C. State made the equivalent of football sausage Saturday against Connecticut.
For the Wolfpack, how it was made was not as important as the end result, which was a 10-7 grind-it-out win over the offensively-challenged Huskies.
N.C. States offense made mistakes and struggled to protect quarterback Mike Glennon, and the defense forced four turnovers but had a fourth-quarter lapse that nearly cost the game.
But a win is a win, and a much-needed one after a 35-21 loss in the opener to Tennessee, said Glennon, whose 46-yard touchdown pass to receiver Bryan Underwood in the third quarter was the difference.
We played well enough to win and thats all that matters, Glennon said.
N.C. State coach Tom OBrien predicted it would be an uphill game, based on the location and the sequence in the schedule. The Pack was 1-4 on the road this past year.
I knew this was going to be a tough game, coming off of the disappointing loss that we had, OBrien said.
OBrien was right. Neither team threatened to set any artistic marks on offense. They ran for 89 total yards between the two and each finished with 204 passing yards.
Glennon was sacked six times but unlike this past weeks loss to Tennessee, he threw no interceptions. The Wolfpacks defense responded with three interceptions and a fumble.
All-American cornerback David Amerson bounced back from a rough outing against Tennessee with an interception and pass breakup on a critical fourth down on UConns final drive.
Facing fourth-and-4 from its own 45, UConn targeted Amerson who was beat on two long touchdowns last week. Quarterback Chandler Whitmer tried to find receiver Geremy Davis on a short curl at the first-down marker, but Amerson broke on the route and nearly had his second interception of the game.
I knew he was going to run something short, Amerson said. As soon he hesitated, I knew he was going inside, so I jumped it.
N.C. State led 3-0 at the half after a 41-yard field goal by Niklas Sade at 2:54 in the second quarter. The Packs offense struggled with the swirling winds inside Rentschler Field, and the intermittent rain, but mostly with a variety of UConn blitzes.
The Huskies got to Glennon six times and hammered him on several rushes. It was a copy-cat effort from the Tennessee defense, which pressured Glennon into four interceptions in the opener.
Thats something we have to take a look at and make sure that were doing the right things because we will see it again, OBrien said.
N.C. State protected Glennon long enough to take a 10-0 lead in the third quarter. Glennon hit Underwood on a streak down the right sideline for a 46-yard touchdown. Underwood raced past corner Taylor Mack, extended his arms and made a finger-tip catch and then dove into the end zone from the two-yard line.
I saw Mike kind of threw it too far so I put my hands out and gripped it, Underwood said.
The Pack needed Underwoods big play after UConns offense finally got on the board with seven minutes left in the game. Running back Lyle McCombs, a 1,000-yard rusher a year ago, took a swing pass from Whitmer near midfield and got loose for 43 yards. On the next play, McCombs rushed for a five-yard touchdown.
Up 10-7, N.C. State got the ball on its own 25 and picked up three first downs, all on passes to receiver Tobais Palmer (five catches, 46 yards) and moved down to the UConn 27-yard line.
The drive stalled on fourth-and-2, when Underwood dropped a short throw from Glennon, but N.C. States defense made the final necessary stand with Amersons breakup.
It goes as W and well be satisfied with that, Amerson said. Were 1-1 and we want to build on that and go from here.