Raleigh, N.C. – Transitioning to its ground game in the second quarter, North Carolina State rushed for four touchdowns including two in the second stanza to break-open a 3-0 affair before riding a strong defensive effort to hand Western Carolina a 41-0 setback on a hot and muggy Saturday afternoon at Carter-Finley Stadium.
Behind redshirt sophomore QB Will Jones, who was making his first collegiate start, Western Carolina (0-2) outgained the Wolfpack 61-to-57 in an otherwise evenly played opening 15 minutes in the first quarter. NC State got on the board late in the first frame a 32-yard Christopher Dunn field goal to lead 3-0 after one.
However, the Pack tallied rushing scores of six yards by Ricky Person, scoring on a fourth-consecutive rush, and a two-yard plunge by Zovonan Knight to grab a 17-0 edge before capping first half scoring with a TD pass from Matthew McKay to Cary Angeline inside the closing seconds for the 24-0 halftime advantage.
After halftime, NC State tacked on 10 third-quarter points and a touchdown early in the fourth in scoring its 32-straight victory over NCAA FCS opponents.
WCU (0-2) was held to just 45 yards of total offense and just one first down after the first quarter by the Wolfpack defense which has not surrendered a touchdown in its first two games against in-state competition in 2019. WCU had 61 total yards – 46 passing and 15 rushing – over the game’s opening 15 minutes but were stymied over the final three frames.
Jones finished 15-of-27 for 98 yards, but was sacked three times. Back-up QB Bubba Williamson, who orchestrated WCU’s final possession, was sacked for a 14-yard loss, losing a fumble in the process. Three Catamount receivers finished with three receptions apiece with redshirt freshman Mahari Stribling and true freshman Kasmir Absolu both recording career highs with 28 and 26 receiving yards, respectively.
Defensively, redshirt senior safety JerMichael White recorded a game-high 14 tackles – one shy of matching his career high set in 2017 at North Carolina – while Trevor Childers and Devarius Cortner were credited with nine tackles apiece.
Western Carolina returns home next Saturday, Sept. 14, to host North Greenville at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field. Kickoff of Saturday’s “Gold Out” game where all fans are encouraged to wear gold to the game as the Catamounts return to gold pants under purple jerseys is scheduled for 3:30 pm in Cullowhee.