Three points? Pfft.
N.C. State fell behind at the half, again, and the Wolfpack came back to win the game, again.
Junior running back Shadrach Thornton scored three touchdowns in N.C. State's 46-34 win over Old Dominion on Saturday night.
N.C. State (2-0) trailed 21-18 at the half, which was nothing compared to the 17-3 hole the Wolfpack dug out of last week against Georgia Southern.
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Thornton and sophomore running back Matt Dayes (two touchdowns) took turns scoring and as a team, the Wolfpack rushed for 242 yards. Thornton finished with 86 yards on 14 carries and Dayes had 79 yards on 13 carries.'
"It was a big, big, big night for the rushing game," N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said.
"We ran the ball physically. The offensive line opened up holes and (the running backs) ran people over."
Junior quarterback Jacoby Brissett even got 45 yards on seven attempts, to go with 253 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns.
"The offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and if they do that every game, we can win a lot of games," Brissett said.
Thornton, whose 23-yard TD run with 3:59 left put the Monarchs (1-1) away for good, said there's a reason for the Wolfpack's improved running game.
"Jacoby," Thornton said. "We've got a good quarterback.
"You've got to respect the pass, if you don't, we will light you up. If you do, we will run you up."
N.C. State struggled with Old Dominion's offense, especially in the first half but was able to string together enough stops in the third quarter to take control of the game.
ODU's senior quarterback Taylor Heinicke threw for 274 yards and two touchdowns and running back Ray Lawry ran for 71 yards and three touchdowns.
Heinicke's 9-yard TD pass to receiver Antonio Vaughn with 5:57 left in the fourth quarter cut N.C. State's lead to 39-34.
The 2-point conversion was unsuccessful and then N.C. State turned a botched onsides kick attempt into a quick touchdown. Thornton, off the direct snap, rumbled through the ODU defense, breaking a couple of tackles en route to a 23-yard touchdown for a 46-34 advantage.
The way the game started, it looked like the teams would trade touchdowns right up until the final whistle. ODU led 21-10 in the second quarter and 28-25 in the third.
The Monarchs had success early on the ground with Cam Boyd (48 yards on eight carries in the first half) and Lawry, who had 55 yards on seven first-half carries. Heinicke is usually the Monarchs' main weapon, but he was able to keep N.C. State's defense guessing with a variety of runs and short, accurate passes.
The Monarchs were 7 of 9 on third down in the first half but only 3 of 9 in the second half.
"Their quarterback is a great player and we had a hard time with him," Doeren said. "We could not get off the field on third down in the first half."
After falling behind 21-10, the Pack looked like it got a defensive touchdown by cornerback Jack Tocho, who returned a fumble 45 yards for an apparent score, but it was overturned after a lengthy review.
Given the second chance at the series, ODU got down to State's 10-yard line but kicker Ricky Segers missed a 27-yard chip shot.
Brissett was able to move the Pack quickly down the field, aided by a 42-yard connection with receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Dayes punched in the touchdown after a 7-yard pass from Brissett.
N.C. State then elected to go for the 2-point conversion. Brissett hit Valdes-Scantling on an alley-oop in the right corner of the end zone to cut ODU's lead to 21-18 at the half.
So far, the Wolfpack has been able to overcome the slow starts. It has out-scored its first two opponents 49-19 in the second half.
"The No. 1 thing is you gotta win and we found a way to win two weeks in a row," Doeren said.