RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Mike Glennon threw three touchdown passes Saturday to help North Carolina State beat South Alabama 31-7 in its home debut.
Rashard Smith and Bryan Underwood each hauled in TD catches on the first two possessions for the Wolfpack (2-1), who had no trouble beating the Jaguars for the second straight year at Carter-Finley Stadium. Tony Creecy also ran for a score as N.C. State led 28-0 by halftime and held South Alabama (1-2) scoreless until the final minutes.
The Jaguars' only points came on an 8-yard pass from Ross Metheny to Jereme Jones with 5:20 left.
Glennon completed 24 of 34 passes for 257 yards in a turnover-free performance. He had thrown four interceptions in the season-opening loss to Tennessee in Atlanta, then struggled to get the Wolfpack offense moving in last weekend's 10-7 win at Connecticut. The 6-foot-6 graduate student entered the game with two touchdown passes this year.
Coach Tom O'Brien said there were several factors in those early struggles. The offensive line needed to protect better after giving up six sacks to the Huskies last week, the receivers had to run sharper routes and Glennon had to make better decisions.
N.C. State had few such troubles against the Jaguars. The Wolfpack opened the game with a 12-play, 80-yard drive that ended when Glennon found Smith with a perfect pass down the right side for a 33-yard touchdown. On the second drive, Glennon connected with Underwood deep over the middle for a 44-yard score that made it 14-0 at the 4:06 mark of the first quarter.
The Jaguars, who are in their second year of transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision ranks, didn't manage anything close to that proficiency. Wolfpack cornerback David Amerson ripped the ball away from receiver T.J. Glover for his 15th career interception to end the Jaguars' first drive and the Jaguars pushed inside the N.C. State 35-yard line only three times all night.
It was a frustrating follow-up for the Jaguars' offense, which failed to score a touchdown for the first time in the fourth-year program's history in last week's 9-3 home win against Nicholls State. Metheny threw for 189 yards and the short touchdown to lead South Alabama, which finished with 314 yards - though 112 came in the meaningless final quarter.
N.C. State played without halfback Mustafa Greene. Greene was scheduled to start but the school announced about an hour before kickoff that the redshirt sophomore was suspended for the game, though it didn't specify a reason. Afterward, O'Brien didn't specify a reason Greene had been suspended and wouldn't comment on his status going forward except to say Greene was still on the team.
The Wolfpack didn't miss Greene much. Creecy got the start and ran for 68 yards, including an 11-yard sprint around the right side on a fourth-down play for a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Quintin Payton added a 13-yard touchdown catch from Glennon that gave the Wolfpack a 28-0 halftime lead.
- Mike Glennon