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GAMEDAY College Football

North Carolina State 22, Virginia Tech 21

By AARON BEARD
AP Sports Writer

RALEIGH, N.C. - First-year quarterback MJ Morris threw for three second-half touchdowns to help No. 24 North Carolina State rally from 18 points down in the third quarter to beat Virginia Tech 22-21.

Morris took over for starter Jack Chambers to lead an unexpected comeback for the Wolfpack (6-2, 2-2 Atalntic Coast Conference), who trailed 21-3 after Grant Wells' 20-yard TD keeper with 4:02 in the third quarter.

Instead, N.C. State somehow found a way to make its biggest comeback since rallying from 27 down to beat Maryland in 2011. It also marked the Wolfpack's second comeback from a double-digit deficit after halftime this month, going back to a rally from 17-3 down at the break against Florida State.

This one was arguably more critical for a team that had been reeling offensively since losing quarterback and preseason ACC player of the year Devin Leary to a season-ending injury in that Florida State win. But after looking like every yard was a struggle, Morris and the Wolfpack started pushing the ball downfield and connecting to suddenly change momentum.

It started with a 35-yard deep throw from Morris to Thayer Thomas with 1:42 left in the third. Morris followed with a 7-yard score to Trent Pennix early in the fourth, then hit Thomas again on a short throw that the receiver cut up the middle of the field and scored from 18 yards out with 7:38 mark.

After its veteran defense forced a three-and-out, the Wolfpack kept the chains moving on a final drive that ate up the last 5:35 to seal the win.

Thomas finished with 10 catches for 118 yards and the two scores for the Wolfpack.

Wells ran for two scores and hit Kaleb Smith for an 85-yard score in the third for the Hokies (2-6, 1-4).

THE TAKEAWAY

Virginia Tech: This one will be difficult to get past for the Hokies, who looked on their way to ending the Wolfpack's 14-game home winning streak and giving first-year coach Brent Pry his first road win in four tries. Instead, the offense that suddenly found success attacking the Wolfpack's veteran defense sputtered when it needed a big drive and the defense gave up three straight TD drives.

N.C. State: The Wolfpack went through a bye week with a chance to tweak the offense to better suit the strengths of Chambers in the wake of Leary's loss. But Morris proved the more effective passer as the Wolfpack needed to get more aggressive down big - and it worked.


Scoring Summary
Second Quarter VaTechNCSU
NCSU FG 0:05 Christopher Dunn 35 yard field goal 0 3
Third Quarter VaTechNCSU
VaTech TD 12:51 Grant Wells 4 yard TD run (William Ross Extra Point) 7 3
VaTech TD 9:18 Kaleb Smith 85 yard TD pass from Grant Wells (William Ross Extra Point) 14 3
VaTech TD 4:02 Grant Wells 20 yard TD run (William Ross Extra Point) 21 3
NCSU TD 1:42 Thayer Thomas 35 yard TD pass from MJ Morris (Christopher Dunn Extra Point) 21 10
Fourth Quarter VaTechNCSU
NCSU TD 12:15 Trent Pennix 7 yard TD pass from MJ Morris (Darryl Jones 2pt conversion attempt is NO GOOD) 21 16
NCSU TD 7:38 Thayer Thomas 18 yard TD pass from MJ Morris (MJ Morris 2pt conversion attempt is NO GOOD) 21 22
Team Stats
  Virginia Tech North Carolina State
First downs 10 21
  Rushing 2 7
  Passing 5 13
  Penalty 3 1
3rd Down Efficiency 1-11, 9% 8-19, 42%
4th down efficiency 0-0, -% 1-1, 100%
Rushes-Yards 26-50 34-60
Passing Yards 243 296
Return Yards 68 50
Completions-Attempts-Int 11-22-0 26-43-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 4-26 2-16
Punts 9 8
Fumbles Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties - Yards 13-69 8-65
Virginia Tech Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
G. Wells 11 22 243 1 0
North Carolina State Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
M. Morris 20 29 265 3 0
J. Chambers 6 13 31 0 0
Virginia Tech Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
M. Thomas 9 21 2.3 0
G. Wells 11 17 1.5 2
J. Holston 5 14 2.8 0
North Carolina State Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
J. Houston 9 31 3.4 0
J. Chambers 4 12 3.0 0
M. Morris 13 12 0.9 0
D. Jones II 3 10 3.3 0
J. Gray 1 8 8.0 0
D. Mimms III 1 3 3.0 0
Virginia Tech Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
K. Smith 3 141 47.0 1
D. Wright 2 46 23.0 0
M. Thomas 2 34 17.0 0
D. Lofton 3 16 5.3 0
J. Holston 1 6 6.0 0
North Carolina State Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
T. Thomas 10 118 11.8 2
D. Carter 5 62 12.4 0
T. Timmons Jr. 2 51 25.5 0
J. Houston 4 28 7.0 0
T. Pennix 3 25 8.3 1
D. Jones 2 12 6.0 0
Virginia Tech Interceptions
Player Int Yards
North Carolina State Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Virginia Tech Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
P. Moore 9 359 39.9
North Carolina State Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
S. McDonough 8 317 39.6
Virginia Tech Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
North Carolina State Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
T. Thomas 2 -18 -9.0
Virginia Tech Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
C. Black 4 54 13.5
B. Duke 1 14 14.0
North Carolina State Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
J. Gray 2 68 34.0
Virginia Tech Missed FG
Player Length
North Carolina State Missed FG
Player Length




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