DURHAM, N.C. (AP)—Redshirt freshman Russell Wilson threw two touchdowns and matched a season high with 218 yards passing to help North Carolina State beat Duke 27-17 on Saturday and snap a four-game losing streak.
J.C. Neal returned a kickoff 89 yards for the go-ahead score for N.C. State (3-6, 1-4), which entered as the only team winless in Atlantic Coast Conference play but scored on its first four possessions to win the matchup of the league’s two last-place teams.
Wilson finished 13-of-25 with scoring passes covering 2 yards to Anthony Hill and 32 yards to Jarvis Williams to help a Wolfpack offense that entered as one of the ACC’s worst roll up 377 yards—seven shy of the season high established during its last win, an overtime upset of then-No. 15 East Carolina on Sept. 20. N.C. State had become increasingly competitive in recent weeks, losing its last three by a combined 19 points.
Thaddeus Lewis was 37-of-52 for 317 yards with two touchdowns for Duke (4-5, 1-4), which had three plays from the 1-yard line on its opening drive of the second half but came away with no points. Then, on the first play of N.C. State’s ensuing drive, linebacker Marcus Jones couldn’t come up with a tricky interception in the end zone off the pass he deflected, and Jamelle Eugene took the next handoff up the middle 53 yards to further deflate the Blue Devils.
Duke—which lost its second straight to an instate ACC rival yet already has won as many games as it did in the previous four seasons combined—hasn’t beaten N.C. State since 1993. This was the teams’ first meeting since 2003 because of the ACC’s rotating schedule and two-division format.
The Wolfpack made it worth the lengthy wait by answering Nick Maggio’s game-tying 29-yard field goal late in the first quarter with some razzle-dazzle.
T.J. Graham fielded the kickoff at the 7-yard line and handed off to Neal at the 11, and the cornerback dashed untouched down the right sideline for a touchdown to make it 10-3.
The Wolfpack stretched its lead to two touchdowns on its next possession, with Wilson hitting Hill from 2 yards out two snaps after the two connected on the 89-yard drive’s key play: Wilson eluded two would-be sackers on third-and-8 and found Hill, who caught it with cornerback Glenn Williams in his facemask, inside the 10.
Wilson then made it 24-10 late in the second quarter when he found Williams down the left sideline for his team-leading fourth touchdown of the season.
Josh Czajkowski capped N.C. State’s opening drive with a 22-yard field goal, and he added a 32-yarder late in the third to make it 27-10.
Lewis’ touchdown pass to Brett Huffman late in the second quarter briefly pulled Duke to 17-10. He added a 4-yard toss to Jay Hollingsworth in the final minutes.