RALEIGH — N.C. State went into Saturdays game against Central Michigan with two goals: build off of a competitive loss to Clemson and avoid an upset scare like it had against Richmond.
Done and done.
The Wolfpack (3-1) got a touchdown from both its defense and special teams and a balanced offensive effort to throttle Central Michigan 48-14 on Saturday.
Theres some good things there, N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said. Really good defensive effort in the first half and the second quarter was fantastic for our offense.
Like it did in last weeks 26-14 loss to third-ranked Clemson, the Wolfpacks defense got after the quarterback and played with a toughness which met Doerens approval.
Unlike a 23-21 nonconference win over Richmond on Sept. 7, this one didnt require a comeback or any second-half drama.
The Wolfpack ran for 239 yards and quarterback Pete Thomas threw for 244 yards, 148 to receiver Bryan Underwood.
Thomas, in his third start for the injured Brandon Mitchell, threw for his first touchdown of the season and ran for another score.
After going three games without one, N.C. States defense produced three interceptions and held the Chippewas (1-4) to 259 yards of total offense.
Its easy to have an offensive game plan when your defense plays like that, Thomas said.
Senior linebacker D.J. Green returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown on Central Michigans second play of the game to set the tone for the Wolfpack.
Green stepped in front of a Cooper Rush pass and had nothing in front of him but open space for the 7-0 lead at 12:16 in the first quarter.
Two long touchdowns by running backs Shadrach Thornton and Matt Dayes pushed the Wolfpacks lead to 21-0 midway through the second quarter.
Then receiver Rashard Smith returned a punt 67 yards for another score and the rout was on.
Thats what good teams do, they score in a variety of ways, Thomas said.
Thomas tacked on an 8-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to give N.C. State a 35-0 halftime lead.
The Chippewas didnt get on the scoreboard until a 13-yard touchdown pass from Rush to receiver Titus Davis at 14:56 in the fourth quarter.
A 38-yard touchdown run by Central Michigan running back Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore cut N.C. States lead to 38-14 at 11:42.
After a botched punt attempt by N.C. State, the Chips had the ball on the Wolfpack 31-yard line with a chance to make the game tighter. Instead, N.C. States defense came up with another turnover.
Backup safety Josh Stanley picked off Rush in the end zone to give the Wolfpack the ball back. On the next play, Thomas hit Underwood for an 80-yard touchdown and a comfortable 45-14 advantage.
Underwood finished the game with five catches for 148 yards and he added 42 rushing yards.
Thomas, who completed 14 of his 20 passes for 244 yards, said the Wolfpack got what it wanted out of Saturdays game.
We did improve since the Clemson game which is what we needed to do, Thomas.