Relive NC State's victory over ODU
Sometimes the scoreboard crew nails it with its song selection.
After the clock hit all zeroes on N.C. State’s 49-22 home win over Old Dominion on Saturday night, Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “Takin’ Care of Business” hit the speakers at Carter-Finley Stadium.
It was more workmanlike than flashy, but it was exactly what the Wolfpack (2-1) needed after a difficult loss to East Carolina last week.
Jalan McClendon turned in a unique hat trick, and Ryan Finley threw for three touchdowns as N.C. State got back on track.
“It was a tough week, and our guys hung together,” N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said. “It wasn’t perfect, but it was a lot better.”
N.C. State avoided the mistakes and hiccups that cost it a close call with the Pirates. There were only two penalties, there were no needless kicking-game risks, the tackling was better and the defensive line made an impact.
“It was a good win tonight, bouncing back from last week,” said junior tight end Jaylen Samuels, who caught two touchdown passes. “We just have to stay focused. We came out focused, and I think we played pretty good offense, defense and special teams.”
There were no complaints again on the offensive front. Finley completed 24 of 28 passes for a season-best 281 yards and three touchdowns.
And McClendon, after not playing a snap against ECU, ran for a 1-yard touchdown, to cap off a 13-play, 95-yard opening drive. He also had a 3-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
His third snap was a 3-yard touchdown pass to freshman tight end Thaddeus Moss.
Three snaps, three touchdowns.
“I thought he did a great job,” Finley said of McClendon. “To come in like that and be 3-for-3, that was impressive.”
McClendon, who notched his first career touchdowns, said they’ve been working on a package of plays for him in practice.
“I just went in and did what I was supposed to do,” McClendon said.
That’s basically what N.C. State did as a team. The defense, after getting chewed up by ECU last week, got five sacks and held ODU star running back Ray Lawry to 14 yards on nine carries.
N.C. State had only two sacks in the first two games. Sophomore defensive end Darian Roseboro finished with three on Saturday.
The Wolfpack led 21-3 at the half, yielding only a 21-yard field goal after the normally reliable Matt Dayes fumbled at the N.C. State 17-yard-line early in the second quarter.
The Monarchs (1-2) made it interesting with a touchdown on their first drive of the second half. Quarterback David Washington, who is from Raleigh, hit receiver Zach Pascal on the first of two touchdown passes.
ODU cut N.C. State’s lead to 21-9 at 9:31 in the third quarter and then inexplicably went for 2. N.C. State turned away Washington’s ill-advised 2-point pass and then responded on the next drive with McClendon’s short TD pass to Moss.
Samuels’ second touchdown catch, a 4-yard hookup with Finley, made it 35-9 heading into the fourth quarter.
So N.C. State took care of business and usually does against teams from a “Group of 5” conference or the Football Championship Subdivision. In his fourth season, Doeren has a 14-2 record against opponents not among the “Power 5” conferences.
“That’s every sport,” Samuels said. “You win the games you are supposed to win. We don’t take anybody lightly.”
What N.C. State needs figure out under Doeren is how to beat more of the “big boys.” The Wolfpack is 6-19 under Doeren against Power 5 opponents. After an open date next Saturday, that’s all that’s left on the schedule.
Business is about to pick up.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio