GREENVILLE, N.C. — East Carolina made the plays in overtime, and NC State couldn't respond when it mattered most Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
The Pirates scored on a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Dominique Davis on third and goal in the Pirates opening overtime possession, but Michael Barbour missed the extra point to give ECU a 33-27 lead.
NC State had a chance to win, but redshirt junior quarterback Russell Wilson was intercepted in the end zone by Damon Magazu to clinch the win for the Pirates.
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The Wolfpack fell to 5-2 overall, while the Pirates improved to 4-2. NC State won't return to action until Oct. 28 when Florida State comes to Raleigh for a Thursday night game.
East Carolina came out like gang-busters in the first quarter to take a 21-0 lead, firing up the crowd of 50,410 in the process.
East Carolina took the opening kickoff and used its spread offense to go right down the field. Senior running back Jonathan Williams set up the score with a nice 21-yard screen pass to the NC State 7-yard line. Williams then went off tackle for five yards two plays later to give the Pirates a 7-0 lead with 11:32 left in the first quarter.
NC State wasted a golden opportunity to get points on the board following ECU's score. New punt returner Travis Simmons muffed a punt at the Pirates' 17-yard line, and NC State's Audie Cole recovered it.
The Wolfpack's drive stalled at the nine-yard line, and fifth-year senior Josh Czajkowski missed a 26-yard field goal. The missed field goal ended up haunting the Wolfpack later.
Davis dominated the second Pirates scoring drive. Davis mixed in some running and short passes on the Pirates' 13-play, 80-yard drive, ending in a 11-yard touchdown pass to Lance Lewis for a 14-0 lead with 3:49 left in the first quarter.
East Carolina went back to normal punt returner Dwayne Harris and were rewarded with a 38-yard punt return to the NC State 19-yard line. Davis found 6-foot-8 Justin Jones in the back of the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown and 21-0 lead with five seconds left in the quarter.
NC State finally got on the scoreboard on its next drive aided by a pass interference call on ECU on a third and seven pass by Wilson that was picked off. The 15-yard penalty gave State a first down at the ECU 49, and on the next play Wilson hit a wide open junior receiver T.J. Graham for a 49-yard touchdown with 13:09 left in the first half, cutting ECU's lead to 21-7.
East Carolina was forced to punt for the first time on its next possession. Davis had his first incomplete pass of the game after 14-straight completions when sophomore safety Brandan Bishop jarred the ball loose on a pass to Dayon Arrington. Bishop later had to leave the game with symptoms of a concussion.
NC State's offense responded with a big pass play of 49 yards from Wilson to senior receiver Owen Spencer to the ECU 13, setting up an eventual 2-yard sneak for a touchdown by Wilson that made the score 21-14 with 9:07 left in the half.
ECU used a big pass play of its own when Davis hooked up with Harris for a 41-yarder over the middle of the field on a third and 10 at the NC State 20. That set up Michael Barbour's 35-yard field goal with 6:25 left in the half, giving the Pirates a 24-14 lead.
Wilson had his second interception of the game overturned by a penalty. His pass to sophomore tailback James Washington was picked off by Dustin Lineback at the ECU one-yard line, but defensive end Antonio Allison was flagged for roughing the passer. Wilson and freshman Mustafa Greene ended up botching a handoff two plays later, and Lineback recovered the fumble at the ECU seven-yard line.
The Pirates gave the ball right back to the Wolfpack two plays later when fifth-year senior defensive end David Akinniyi forced a Jonathan Williams fumble, and it was recovered by redshirt junior defensive end Jeff Rieskamp at the ECU one-yard line. Redshirt freshman running back Dean Haynes scored on the next play with 1:44 left to make it 24-21 in East Carolina's favor. The teams went into the locker room at that score.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, partly in part because of NC State's impressive ability to create turnovers.
Harris fumbled on a reverse at the NCSU 38-yard line. Rieskamp caused it and Audie Cole recovered it.
The next big turnover came when running back Giavanni Ruffin fumbled going into the end zone after Cole forced it. NC State was able to get the ball after the touchback.
NC State finally tied the game when Czajkowski successfully kicked a 22-yard field goal with 11:47 left in the game. The kick capped a 17-play, 85-yard drive that ate up over six minutes of clock, but NC State was unable to punch the ball in for a go-ahead touchdown when Wilson could not connect with Spencer on a third and goal pass from the ECU five-yard line.
NC State took its first lead of the game when Czajkowski made a 37-yard field goal with 2:59 left in the game, pushing the Pack ahead 27-24. A costly illegal substitution penalty stalled a Pack drive and forced the field goal attempt. The flag came when State was facing a third and two at the ECU 14. Instead, Wilson's third and seven pass at the 19 was knocked down by defensive tackle Josh Smith at the line of scrimmage.
The Pirates tied it up quickly, however, with a 31-yard field goal from Barbour with 1:04 left, set up by a 31-yard pass from Davis to receiver Michael Bowman.
Wilson's desperate heave to fifth-year senior receiver Darrell Davis was picked off by Bradley Jacobs with seven seconds left at the ECU six-yard line, forcing overtime.
East Carolina ended up with four fumbles, but surprisingly zero interceptions. Wilson finished going 26 of 52 for 322 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. The Wolfpack also had one fumble.
Davis went 37 of 53 for 376 yards, two touchdowns passing and one rushing for the Pirates.
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