N. C. State QB Jacoby Brissett played an efficient game, leading the Wolfpack on six scoring drives.
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The N. C. State Wolfpack defeated the UCF Knights 34-27 to win the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. The Wolfpack defense made their presence known in this game, holding UCF to just 4.6 yards/play while the offense went to work with an incredible 6.3 yards/play, and over 10 yards/pass.
In the first quarter UCF struck first with a 40-yard FG from PK Shawn Moffitt. But on the ensuing drive, the Wolfpack managed to score the game’s first TD on a trick play from RB Shadrach Thornton – who made a RB pass and found Jaylen Samuels for an 18-yard TD strike to give the Wolfpack a 7-3 lead. In the second quarter UCF managed to get on the board and retake the lead with a TD pass from QB Justin Holman to Josh Reese. But the Wolfpack struck back on QB Jacoby Brissett’s lone TD of the day – a 37-yard pass to Johnathan Alston to give N. C. State a 14-10 lead they would never relinquish again. With 3:58 left in the first half, Wolfpack PK Niklas Sade kicked a 19-yard FG to give them a 17-10 halftime lead.
In the third quarter Wolfpack RB Matt Dayes scored two TDs – a 24-yard TD run on the team’s first drive of the second half and later on a 15-yard run. The Knights were only able to pick up a FG in the quarter to make it 31-13. N. C. State was able to extend their lead early in the fourth quarter with another FG from Niklas Sade – that’s when the Knights started to rally. QB Justin Holman threw a TD pass to Josh Reese with 11:33 remaining, but the Wolfpack defense kept the ball out of the endzone for the next ten minutes. A second Holman pass to Reese with 1:50 left to go put the game within reach, but the onside kick failed, giving the Wolfpack the victory.
With the win the Wolfpack have won their first bowl game under head coach Dave Doeren, and first bowl victory since the 2011 Belk Bowl. They finish the season with an 8-5 record.