So much for looking ahead to Florida State. N.C. State was focused on the task at hand, taking care of business at home versus Furman, resulting in a dominating 49-16 victory.
N.C. State (2-1) can now shift its attention to the Seminoles and ACC play. The teams will meet next Saturday in Tallahassee. But first the Wolfpack had to make sure there wasn’t a replay of last week, when it trailed Marshall early at home.
Furman (0-3) did take an early 3-0 lead after a 46-yard field goal by Grayson Atkins, but N.C. State scored 14 unanswered points, the first score a 1-yard run by Jaylen Samuels, followed by a 30-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Finley to JuMichael Ramos. It was the first catch of the season for the senior wideout, who missed all of last season with a knee injury.
Samuels scored on a pair of 1-yard runs for the Wolfpack in the second quarter, but the Paladins didn’t go away quietly. After another Atkins field goal on Furman’s first drive of the second half, the Paladins found the end zone on a 71-yard hookup from P.J. Blazejowski to tight end Andy Schumpert. Schumpert came into the game with just one catch for 13 yards this season but caught two passes covering 88 yards on the Furman touchdown drive. That cut N.C. State’s lead to 21-13 before Samuels’ third score of the first half gave the Wolfpack a 28-13 halftime lead.
The Wolfpack turned two second-half turnovers into 14 points to put the game out of reach. On the Paladins second possession of the second half, N.C. State senior nickelback Shawn Boone stepped in front of a Blazejowski pass and raced 47-yards for the touchdown. On the next drive, Wolfpack defensive end Kentavius Street forced and recovered a fumble, giving N.C. State the ball on the 23-yard line.
Two Dakwa Nichols carries, the second covering 9 yards for a score, gave the home team a comfortable 49-13 with 1:58 remaining in the third quarter.
The Wolfpack stalled on its opening drive of the second half, punting the ball back to Furman, which gained 24 yards in nine plays before N.C. State blocked a punt. The kick was partially blocked by Kelvin Harmon, setting the Wolfpack up at the 49-yard line. Four plays later, Nyheim Hines raced in for a 28-yard score to make it 35-13 before the defense set up the next two scores.
Furman, who came into the contest averaging 208.5 yards rushing per game with its triple-option offense, was held to 137 yards on the ground by the N.C. State defense. The Pack rushed for a season-high 235 yards.
Finley finished the afternoon 22-for-27 with 231 yards and one score. Samuels had five carries for 16 yards and three scores and also caught six passes for 75 yards. It was the second time in his career that the senior from Charlotte rushed for three scores in one game (Troy, 2015). Hines led the ground attack with 92 yards on 11 carries.