Teammate’s push pays dividends for Wolfpack's Palmer

jgiglio@newsobserver.comNovember 10, 2012 

— Tobais Palmer had a big play in him, that much N.C. State linebacker Sterling Lucas knew.

At halftime Saturday, with N.C. State up 17-6, Lucas told Palmer to make something happen early in the third quarter. Palmer obliged with a 100-yard kickoff return on the first play of the second half.

“He called it before we even went out there,” Palmer said of Lucas. “I needed that and he helped me.”

Palmer streaked through and around Wake’s kick coverage to extend the Wolfpack’s lead to 24-6 and knock the Deacons back.

“We felt really good at halftime, especially going in as poorly as we thought we played in the first half,” Wake coach Jim Grobe said. “I thought we had a fired-up team coming out for the second half, but that kick return took the wind out of our sails.”

The 100-yard return matched the school record, set in 2008 by T.J. Graham. The return took 11 seconds, which N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien said was a little slow for the senior receiver.

“He’s a little quicker than that,” O’Brien joked. “We’ll have to get on him.”

CAMPANARO THE QB? As good as Wake’s Michael Campanaro has been at receiver, he might have a future at quarterback. Campanaro threw a 39-yard touchdown to Terence Davis in the second quarter. It was the second year in a row Campanaro has thrown a touchdown against N.C. State.

For his career, Campanaro has completed 4-of-5 passes for 145 yards with three touchdowns.

WALLACE RETURNS TO THE O-LINE: Senior Andrew Wallace made his first start since a 52-14 win over The Citadel on Sept. 22. Wallace had missed all but seven snaps in the previous five games with an injured left ankle.

Wallace, who started the year at right tackle, played right guard on Saturday, replacing Duran Christophe, who missed the game with a concussion. The return of Wallace helped the offensive line produce 170 rushing yards. N.C. State had rushed for a combined total of 192 in the previous four games.

The Pack’s line seemed to make it through the game without any major injuries, a rarity this season. N.C. State has used six starting combinations on the line through 10 games. Tackle Rob Crisp went out briefly in the third quarter with a reoccurring back injury but he returned to finish the game.

NUMBERS AND NOTES: Wake Forest lost two games to in-state opponents (it lost to Duke on Sept. 29) in the same season for the first time since 2004. … N.C. State improved to 8-1 at home against in-state opponents under Tom O’Brien. The home team has won each of the past six games in the Wake series. … N.C. State is 3-0 against the Atlantic Division this season and 0-3 against the Coastal Division.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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