Ryan Finley threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns and N.C. State reeled off the game’s final 27 points to thwart Marshall’s upset bid Saturday night in Raleigh.
Second-half penalties damaged The Herd during the 37-20 loss.
A Keion Davis 94-yard kick-return was negated by a holding call, while pass-interference penalties sustained two Wolfpack scoring drives.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed in the outcome,” said Marshall coach Doc Holliday. “I thought our kids played extremely hard and played their hearts out. Unfortunately, we ran out of time there at the end. That’s an excellent football team so give all the credit to N.C. State. I thought it was great physical football game and our guys made some plays, but they just made a few more than we did.
Finley’s 29-of-36 passing complemented two scoring runs by Reggie Gallaspy as N.C. State (1-1) racked up 485 yards.
Marshall (1-1), which twice led by 10 points in the opening half, finished with 451 yards, led by Chase Litton’s 350 on 26-of-43 passing. Much of that went to Tyre Brady, who made 11 catches for 248 yards and a touchdown.
“You have to hand it to Marshall, especially Tyre Brady,” said N.C. State coach Dave Doeren. “I thought he was an outstanding player. We didn’t defend him well but I thought our adjustments were solid in the second half. It was a good football game and I’m proud of the way we finished it.”
The Herd nearly carried a lead into halftime, but a pass interference call on cornerback Rodney Allen extended N.C. State’s drive. That allowed Finley to throw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Harmon with just 16 seconds, putting the Pack ahead 23-20.
Davis, who N.C. State’s kicker avoided most of the night, appeared to have his third kickoff score of the young season, but a holding call on Willie Johnson brought the play back to Marshall’s 15.
The Herd still drove into scoring position but an unsportsmanlike penalty on center Levi Brown killed the momentum. A 46-yard field goal attempt by Kaare Vedvik went wide left due to a low snap.
Holding penalties on the offensive line and a fumble by running back Trey Rodriguez choked out Marshall’s fourth-quarter comeback hopes.
Malik Gant, a fill-in for the suspended C.J. Reavis, had a team-leading 17 tackles. Linebackers Frankie Hernandez and Chase Litton tied for second with ten tackles each.
Notes from the Herd
Rodriguez struggled again averaging just 1.8 yards per carry and fumbling the ball. … The Herd had 10 TFLs but recorded no quarterback hurries against Finley, a far cry from last week when Ty Tyler had six pressures himself. … Despite missing defensive tackles Nyquan Harris and Channing Hames, the Herd held N.C. State halfback Nyheim Hines to 2.2 yards per carry. … The Herd are back at home next week against Kent State.
— By Troy Alexander