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NC State defeats Middle Tennessee State, 24-3

Posted Sunday, November 20, 2005

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Raleigh, NC - North Carolina State used a blocked punt and an interception for two easy touchdowns, defeating Middle Tennessee, 24-3, Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium.

The Blue Raiders took the opening possession of game and marched inside the Wolfpack 10-yard line, using almost eight minutes of the clock and a season-high 16 plays before Colby Smith booted a 26-yard field goal for a 3-0 Middle Tennessee lead. Eugene Gross had 15- and 17-yard scampers on the drive, while Marks was 4-of-6 on the drive.

The Middle Tennessee defense allowed a season-low 238 yards, but the Wolfpack scored on an interception return for a touchdown and drove 10 yards on one play for another score after a blocked punt. The other TD drive for N.C. State covered just 50 yards to open the second half.

The offense drove inside the NCSU 20-yard line on its second possession, with Smith making a 32-yard field goal, but the Wolfpack jumped offsides, giving the Blue Raiders a first down at the 10. Gross scored on a shuffle pass on the next play, but Middle Tennessee was called for offsides.

The Raiders were unable to score and Smith booted a 31-yard field through the uprights, only to have Middle Tennessee called for illegal formation. Smith's third try of the drive, this one from 36 yards, went wide right, ending the more than four-minute drive with no points.

The Wolfpack got on the board in the second quarter after a 10-play drive, ending with John Deraney's 27-yard field goal for a 3-3 contest.

The Wolfpack blocked a punt late in the second quarter, and Andre Brown ran it in from 10 yards on the next play, giving NCSU a 10-3 advantage at the half.

N.C. State took less than two minutes to score to open the second half, capped by a six-yard TD pass from Marcus Stone to T.J. Williams for a 17-3 lead.

Stephen Tulloch intercepted a Marks pass and outran Blue Raider Taron Henry to the endzone later in the third quarter, a 50-yard return, giving the Wolfpack a 24-3 win.

The game was played in front of an announced attendance of 37,217, more than 20,000 below capacity at Carter-Finley Stadium and the smallest home attendance of the past two seasons.

The Wolfpack (5-5), who missed out on a postseason appearance last year after four consecutive trips, has to beat Maryland next week at home to become bowl eligible. The Terrapins, meanwhile, will be search of the same.

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NC State defeats Middle Tennessee State, 24-3
T.J. Williams caught a six-yard TD pass from Marcus Stone for a 17-3 lead.
photo by Gene Galin

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