The Miami Hurricanes came into their matchup without several players, including starting tight end Brevin Jordan and reserve LT John Campbell, Jr. Despite the roster shakeup and a blazing night of offense by the N.C. State Wolfpack, D’Eriq King’s stellar night helped the Canes snap their pervious bye week blues.
NC State came out out of the gates with tempo and precision. On the first drive of the game, quarterback Bailey Hockman hit Emeka Emezie with a beautiful 33-yard pass down the seem. On the following play, Hockman had a 31-yard TD reception on a trick play. The Wolfpack’s six-play and 94-yard touchdown drive in the first 2:16, put the Canes on notice.
The Canes responded after quarterback D’Eriq King ran for 44 yards on a 4th-and-1 keeper. King’s versatility wasn’t needed on two plays later when the talented playmaker hit tight end Will Mallory for a 3-yard TD catch.
The shootout was on after Hockman floated an 11-yard pass into the arms of WR Devin Carter in the corner of the end zone. NC State’s nine-play and 75-yard TD drive was answered by a 39-yard bomb from King to Dee Wiggins with 3:14 left in the first quarter. Moments later, Robert Burns successfully recovered an onside kick for the Canes.
However, Miami couldn't capitalize on the fortunate recovery and the first quarter ended with a score of 14-14.
After a NC State pass interference call sustained the first drive of the second quarter, senior wide receiver Mike Harley caught a 20-yard TD from King.
On the following drive, a personal foul penalty by Quincy Roche edged NC State into field goal range. However, Jaelan Phillips’ 3rd-down sack of Hockman stalled the Wolfpack. NC State settled for a 42-yard FG with 9:35 left in the second quarter.
NC State’s prowess for explosive plays-10th best in the NCAA-was on display during their next possession. After a 38-yard run by Ricky Person Jr., tight end Cary Angeline got into the end zone.
The Wolfpack took took 24-21 lead into the half behind Bailey Hockman’s 152 yards and 2 TD performance.
D’Eriq King finished the first half 17-24, for 173 yards, and 3 TDs.
Cam’Ron Harris’ best run of the night came on a 20-yard scamper on the Canes’ first drive of the half. The promising drive stalled with a sack on D’Eriq King. Jose Borregales notched the game at 24-24 after a 36-yard FG with 11:26 left in the third quarter.
It didn't take long for NC State to retake the lead after Zonovan Knight thundered for a 100-yard TD run to push the lead to 31-24. His run would continue the poor defensive trend for the Canes throughout the game.
Thankfully for Miami, the D’Eriq King show continued on the next drive. King hit Mark Pope down the right sideline with amazing over-the-shoulder pass for 39-yards. The very next play, King darted a 17-yard TD pass to Pope in the corner of the end zone.
Zonovan Knight provided quick response for NC State with a 100-yard kick return for a touchdown.
NC State took a 38-31 lead into the fourth quarter.
On the first play fo the fourth quarter, Christopher Dunn notched a 53-yard FG to extended the NC State lead to 41-31.
With 11:09 left in the fourth quarter, a Miami FG brought the game within a touchdown. Minutes later, and after controversial stoppages of play, another Borregales FG cut the NC State lead to 41-37.
Quincy Roche and Te’Cory Couch met at the QB to create a pivotal sack. The play gave the Canes the ball back with under five minutes left in the game. Jaelan Phillips had this to say about the play of the defense in the fourth quarter, “Our mentality is always to never give up, always be tenacious and play together as a team. This was an incredible challenge for us as a defense...I think we held it together really well. I’m extremely proud of our team.”
The Canes capitalized on the defensive stop when King hit Mike Harley for a dazzling 54-yard TD on a simple slant route. Harley ended the night with 153 yards, 8 catches, and 2 TDs.
Harley said after the game, “It felt really good, really great. The four years I’ve been here, we had some hard battles and we didn’t come up with the victory. But, this team is special and we fought to the end.”
DJ Ivey sealed the Canes victory when he picked off Hockman with 2:36 left in the game. After the pick, King sprung loose in the open field and slid down to preserve the 44-41 win. He also put a stamp on his sensational night. King finished with 535 total yards (430 yards passing and 105 rushing) and 5 TDs.
On his performance, King stated, “I was just super super confident. Honestly, I had no doubt that we were going to win that game...I was just feeling confident. I let it rip all night.”
The defense will look to fix things when they take on the Virginia Tech Hokies next week. NC State will be squaring off against the Florida State Seminoles in primetime on Saturday night.