NCAAF Game Recap - Ball State at North Carolina State
Sat Sep 21, 2019 7:00 PM EDT

Char
10
Clem
52
F
SMiss
7
Ala
49
F
ND
17
UGA
23
F
LSU
66
Vand
38
F
MiaOH
5
OHSt
76
F
Aub
28
TxAM
20
F
Tenn
3
Fla
34
F
Utah
23
USC
30
F
Mich
14
Wisc
35
F
OkSt
30
Tex
36
F
UCF
34
Pitt
35
F
Oreg
21
Stan
6
F
UCLA
67
WaSt
63
F
AF
19
Boise
30
F
OD
17
UVA
28
F
Wash
45
BYU
19
F
Cal
28
Miss
20
F
Colo
34
AzSt
31
F
SMU
41
TCU
38
F
Hou
31
Tul
38
F
FLInt
31
LaTec
43
F
MSU
31
NW
10
F
ULMon
20
IASt
72
F
Elon
7
Wake
49
F
WestMI
33
Syr
52
F
BC
30
Rut
16
F
UConn
3
Ind
38
F
Mor
21
Army
52
F
CoCar
62
UMass
28
F
ULLaf
45
Ohio
25
F
CenCt
29
E Mi
34
F
Troy
35
Akr
7
F
BGSU
20
Kent
62
F
SoAl
3
UAB
35
F
Wyo
21
Tuls
24
F
App
34
UNC
31
F
Lou
24
FlaSt
35
F
Temp
22
Buff
38
F
SCar
14
Mizzu
34
F
KY
13
MisSt
28
F
C Mi
12
MiaFL
17
F
NMSt
52
NM
55
F
WVU
29
Kans
24
F
W&M
7
ECU
19
F
Hamp
27
Lib
62
F
Wagn
7
FlAtl
42
F
GASt
34
TxSt
37
F(2OT)
SIU
28
ArkSt
41
F
Bayl
21
Rice
13
F
Ball
23
NCSt
34
F
UTSA
3
NorTx
45
F
SJSU
31
Ark
24
F
Nev
37
UTEP
21
F
Neb
42
Ill
38
F
SacSt
20
Fres
34
F
Toled
41
ColSt
35
F
UtSt
23
SDSU
17
F
C Ark
16
Hawaii
35
F

Sep 21, 2019, 7:00 PM EDT

Final

1

2

3

4

T

Ball State (1-3)

7

0

6

10

23

North Carolina State (3-1)

6

14

7

7

34

Thomas' TD return helps NC State beats Ball State 34-23
Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:04 AM

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Thayer Thomas and North Carolina State's special teams came up with big enough plays to offset the Wolfpack's sputtering second-half offense Saturday night.

Thomas had a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter while Max Fisher blocked a fourth-quarter punt to set up another score, helping the Wolfpack beat Ball State 34-23.

Malik Dunlap recovered Fisher's block, putting the Wolfpack at the Cardinals' 7-yard line. Matthew McKay scored on a keeper three plays later at the 8:41 mark to help the Wolfpack stay in control.

"I feel like the special teams the second half really won us the game," Thomas said.

He wouldn't find much argument from coach Dave Doeren or his teammates, either. Not with how little N.C. State's offense managed in the final 30 minutes.

N.C. State completed only two passes and had 104 total yards after halftime. The good news, at least, was the Wolfpack (3-1) had pushed ahead for good in the second quarter to lead 20-7 at the break, then got Thomas' run to the end zone to go up 20.

There wasn't a lot to highlight beyond that, other than Fisher's block.

"They definitely changed the momentum of the game," McKay said of the special teams. "We just had to capitalize and go score" after the blocked punt.

McKay also ran for a second-quarter TD for N.C. State (3-1), which turned away the Cardinals' last best push on Chris Ingram's end-zone interception with 3:43 left.

Justin Hall and Caleb Huntley ran for scores for Ball State (1-3), which entered with one of the nation's top passing attacks behind Drew Plitt. Plitt threw for 333 yards but failed to connect for a score for the first time this year.

"We had a couple of opportunities there that we needed to finish the deal, and we didn't get that done," Ball State coach Mike Neu said, "The effort is fantastic by our guys, the heart - all that stuff is good. Each guy knows that we just have a few plays that obviously we need to make in order to have a chance to change that outcome."

THE TAKEAWAY

Ball State: Plitt came into this game ranked fifth in the Bowl Subdivision ranks in passing yards per game (346.7) while ranking tied for third with 11 passing touchdowns. He had some good moments in this one yet couldn't come up with some needed throws as Ball State settled for multiple field goals, while his late interception came after the Cardinals had recovered an onside kick with a chance to inch even closer late.

N.C. State: It was a big improvement for the special teams, which surrendered a blocked punt that set up a touchdown in last week's loss at West Virginia. Thomas had the biggest play when he took a punt, weaved through midfield and broke into the open for the TD return - N.C. State's first since Nyheim Hines did it at Pittsburgh in 2017, a span of 22 games. Then there was Fisher's block to give the Wolfpack a short field. N.C. State needed all of it, too, considering the offense managed just five first downs after halftime.

"They obviously let us down big time on that last week," Doeren said, "and sparked us this time."

NO KNIGHT

N.C. State played the second half without leading rusher Zonovan "Bam" Knight. Doeren said the freshman who came in with 233 yards (77.7 per game) had a hamstring issue.

BRIEF SWAP

N.C. State gave a first-half series to No. 2 quarterback Bailey Hockman, ending when his pass for Tabari Hines was bobbled and then intercepted. McKay returned and led a pair of touchdown drives, completing 7 of 8 passes for 88 yards on those drives.

Doeren said the Wolfpack had planned to do it all week to get Hockman something more than mop-up duty at the end of a game.

"Regardless of what happened on his drive, Matt was going to go back in," Doeren said, adding: "I think it sparked Matt a little bit."

UP NEXT

Ball State: The Cardinals have an open date next week and return to action at Northern Illinois on Oct. 5.

N.C. State: Florida State hosts the Wolfpack in N.C. State's Atlantic Coast Conference opener next Saturday.

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball , http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25 and https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ap-top-25-college-football-podcast

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Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

Passing

Ball Att Cmp % TD-Pa Yds-Pa LgPa Int Rat
D. Plitt 57 35 61.4 0 333 35 1 70.3
NCSt Att Cmp % TD-Pa Yds-Pa LgPa Int Rat
T. Thomas 1 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 39.6
M. McKay 30 17 56.7 0 175 22 1 59.7

Rushing

Ball Att Yds-Ru Avg LgRu TD-Ru
C. Huntley 13 52 4.0 11 1
W. Fletcher 10 30 3.0 8 0
NCSt Att Yds-Ru Avg LgRu TD-Ru
J. Houston 6 55 9.2 25 0
R. Person Jr. 17 53 3.1 20 1

Receiving

Ball Rec Yds-Rc Avg LgRc TD-Rc
J. Hall 8 73 9.1 21 0
R. Miller 8 70 8.8 16 0
NCSt Rec Yds-Rc Avg LgRc TD-Rc
T. Thomas 4 51 12.8 22 0
E. Emezie 4 47 11.8 19 0

Fumbles

Ball F FL
A. Davis 1 0
D. Plitt 1 0

Returning

Ball KR Avg KRTD LgKR PR Avg TD LgPR
R. Miller 0 - 0 0 2 5.5 0 11
M. Dunner 1 22.0 0 22 0 - 0 0
NCSt KR Avg KRTD LgKR PR Avg TD LgPR
K. Lesane 5 20.0 0 22 0 - 0 0
T. Thomas 0 - 0 0 2 40.0 1 76

Punting

Ball Punt Yds Avg LgPu
N. Snyder 5 234 46.8 54
NCSt Punt Yds Avg LgPu
T. Gill 3 153 51.0 55

Takeaways

Ball Int Yds InTD
A. Davis 0 0 0
R. Wilborn 1 0 0
NCSt Int Yds InTD
C. Ingram 1 0 0

Team Stats Comparison

Ball NCSt
Points For 23 34
Total Yards 417 371
Rushing Yards 84 186
Passing Yards 333 185
Passing Completions / Attempts 35/57 19/34
Turnovers 1 2
Interceptions Thrown 1 2
Fumbles - Lost 2/0 0/0
First Downs 25 22
Penalties - Yards 7/55 9/62
Time Of Possession 0:00 0:00
Third Down Conversions/Attempts 9/21 10/18
Fourth Down Conversions/Attempts 0/2 0/1
Punts - Average Yards 6/39 3/51

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter Ball NCSt
NCSt 6:31 FG Christopher Dunn 39 yd FG 0 3
Ball 9:32 TD Justin Hall 11 yd run (Ryan Rimmler kick) 7 3
NCSt 14:54 FG Christopher Dunn 34 yd FG 7 6
2nd Quarter Ball NCSt
NCSt 8:42 TD Ricky Person 3 yd run (Christopher Dunn kick) 7 13
NCSt 13:22 TD Matthew McKay 5 yd run (Christopher Dunn kick) 7 20
3rd Quarter Ball NCSt
NCSt 1:57 TD Thayer Thomas 76 yd punt return (Christopher Dunn kick) 7 27
Ball 5:19 FG Ryan Rimmler 43 yd FG 10 27
Ball 14:19 FG Ryan Rimmler 43 yd FG 13 27
4th Quarter Ball NCSt
Ball 2:39 FG Ryan Rimmler 28 yd FG 16 27
NCSt 6:19 TD Matthew McKay 3 yd run (Christopher Dunn kick) 16 34
Ball 10:11 TD Caleb Huntley 2 yd run (Ryan Rimmler kick) 23 34

Game Information

Stadium: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, North Carolina
Attendance: 57,702
Game Time:
Weather: