NC State throttles Central Michigan, 48-14

jgiglio@newsobserver.comSeptember 28, 2013 

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    — Dave Doeren has won 18 straight games against Mid-American Conference teams.

    Doeren, who spent the previous two seasons at Northern Illinois, lost his first MAC game to Central Michigan in 2011 and has won 18 games against the conference since.

    — Sophomore receiver Travares Copeland played for the first time this season on Saturday after missing the first three games with a hamstring injury. Copeland, transfer from West Virginia, caught one pass for 10 yards.

    — Defensive ends Forrest West (hamstring) and Darryl Cato-Bishop (ankle) both sat out Saturday’s game with injuries. Sophomore Mike Rose got the start and he had a sack for the second straight game.

    Short on bodies on the outside, junior Thomas Teal took some snaps at defensive end.

— N.C. State went into Saturday’s 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.

“There’s 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 week’s 26-14 loss to third-ranked Clemson, the Wolfpack’s defense got after the quarterback and played with a toughness which met Doeren’s approval.

Unlike a 23-21 nonconference win over Richmond on Sept. 7, this one didn’t 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. State’s defense produced three interceptions and held the Chippewas (1-4) to 259 yards of total offense.

“It’s 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 Michigan’s 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 Wolfpack’s 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.

“That’s 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 didn’t 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. State’s 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. State’s 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 Saturday’s game.

“We did improve since the Clemson game which is what we needed to do,” Thomas.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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