In a reversal of last week's first play from scrimmage, senior defensive tackle Leroy Burgess recovered a fumble on the game's first play and it took only three plays for the Pack to move 32 yards for their first touchdown of the season. From there, the rout was on as the Pack scored on every opportunity in the first half and converted on each of their first nine possessions, en route to a 65-7 romping of Murray State at Carter-Finley Stadium.
"Our defense set the tone early and our offense was very sharp," head coach Tom O'Brien said. "They each really fed off of each other."
NC State racked up 484 yards of offense after failing to score a touchdown last week, led by quarterback Russell Wilson's 228 passing yards and four touchdown passes. Wilson found a different receiver on each score and was an efficient 15-of-21 on the night while moving into sole possession of the NCAA's second-longest streak of passes without an interception, which now stands at 293 consecutive passes.
Toney Baker and James Washington led the Pack's ground attack, which collected 191 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Baker and Washington both collected a pair of scores on the ground and added another through the air, while Brandon Barnes, in his first extensive action for the Red and White, also picked up a rushing touchdown. Baker led the team with 12 carries for 74 yards while Barnes added 61 yards on 19 attempts.
Baker's first touchdown, a one-year run in the second quarter, was his first time crossing the goalline in an actual game since Nov. 25, 2006; a span of 1,022 days. Meanwhile, Washington was the first true freshman back to score three touchdowns since Baker did so against Eastern Kentucky in 2005.
The defense put up its second impressive performance of the season, allowing only one net yard of rushing and only 35 yards through the air. The defensive line stole many of the game's highlights, as Burgess collected a sack and two recovered fumbles while Willie Young also notched two sacks and a forced fumble. While the Pack's offense went from anemic to unstoppable, Murray State's offense went the opposite direction after posting 66 points in their season-opening win over Kentucky Wesleyan.
"We came in aware that [Murray State] scored 66 points last week, and one of our goals was to come in and simply keep them off the scoreboard," O'Brien said.
In addition to receiving scores by Baker and Washington, Wilson found Jarvis Williams on a 27-yard score for the game's first points and also hit Owen Spencer with a 19-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. The Pack continued to look impressive on special teams, as Josh Czajkowski hit a 36-yard field goal in the second quarter, making him 2-of-2 on the year, and T.J. Graham made an impressive 57-yard punt return before being knocked out on the one-year line.
The offensive line and receivers showed marked improvements over last week, as well. After allowing six sacks last week, Wilson was brought down behind the line only once and had a considerable increase in time to make decisions. After not being able to bring in the big ball last week, the receivers also impressed and looked greatly improved catching the ball.
Mike Glennon also saw his first extensive amount of action for the Pack although he did not have many chances to throw the ball, going 6-of-7 for 65 yards.