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Quick hits from NC State’s 16-10 win over Syracuse

Here are quick hits and notes from NC State football's 16-10 win over Syracuse in front of 55,860 fans on a beautiful Thursday evening at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh:

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Fourth-Quarter Woes

This game looked wrapped up when NC State led 16-0 with 4:18 left in the third quarter. Andre Szmyt’s 32-yard field goal for Syracuse cut the lead to 16-3 with 54 seconds remaining before the start of the final quarter, but nobody sensed a big, looming threat to the outcome on the horizon.

That changed when Syracuse out-gained NC State 163-18 in total yards over the final 15 minutes.

NC State’s offense has had a habit of going cold in the second halves of games this season. It went nearly the entire third quarter without a first down at Florida State. West Virginia pulled away by outscoring NCSU 13-0 in the fourth. Ball State had a lopsided total yards advantage in the fourth quarter against NCSU, 170-33.

Some Newbies

True freshman Ikem Ekwonu and redshirt sophomore Bryson Speas both made their first career starts on the offensive line, with Ekwonu at left tackle and Speas his counterpart on the right. Speas got the nod over fifth-year senior Emanuel McGirt Jr., who played as a reserve for the first time this year.

Also making his first career start was redshirt sophomore quarterback Bailey Hockman, the first NC State lefty to start a game behind center since Cam Young against Virginia in 1986.

Several true freshmen got their first live action of the year: cornerback Shyheim Battle, defensive end Terrell Dawkins, and defensive tackles C.J. Clark and Joshua Harris. All but Dawkins were rated four-star prospects by Rivals.com.

Stout Defense

NC State piled up eight sacks in the game, giving it 16 over its past two contests. That is the most in back-to-back games in school history, topping the previous high of 14 in 1982 against Virginia and UNC.

Syracuse had just 178 total yards on 48 offensive snaps, an average of just 3.7 yards per play, through three quarters. The aforementioned strong fourth quarter prevented the Orange from setting a new season-low in total yards, but the 341 it finished with is still the second fewest it has gained in a contest this year.

The Wolfpack held the Orange to just 41 rushing yards, which is also the second fewest in a game for SU this season. Only one team, West Virginia, has rushed for more than 100 yards in a game against NC State through six contests.

Spotted At The Game

There were quite a few famous football alums in attendance: Torry Holt, Mike Glennon, A.J. Cole and Nyheim Hines were among those spotted.

Hines was pictured on social media hanging out on the sideline with country music star Scotty McCreery.

Holt was honored during the contest for being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He received his wish of catching one more pass in Carter-Finley Stadium, with Glennon hitting Holt on a perfect fade in the corner of the end zone.

NFL scouts representing the Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns were credentialed, as were reps from the Camping World Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

True Freshmen Vs. Redshirt Freshmen Watch

We’ll keep a rundown in quick hits of how many games the Wolfpack true freshmen have played. They can play in up to four games before burning their redshirt. An asterisk means they participated against Syracuse.

Defensive end Savion Jackson and safety Jakeen Harris became the eighth and ninth freshmen to officially burn their redshirts. One of those who has already played in more than four games was receiver/safety Cecil Powell. He played the first five weeks of the year, but was in street clothes for this game.

• Offensive lineman Ikem Ekwonu — 6 games* (burned redshirt)

• Running back Jordan Houston — 6 games* (burned redshirt)

• Running back Zonovan Knight — 6 games* (burned redshirt)

• Receiver Keyon Lesane — 6 games* (burned redshirt)

• Long snapper Joe Shimko — 6 games* (burned redshirt)

• Linebacker Drake Thomas — 6 games* (burned redshirt)

• Safety Jakeen Harris — 5 games* (burned redshirt)

• Defensive end Savion Jackson — 5 games* (burned redshirt)

• Safety Cecil Powell — 5 games (burned redshirt)

• Offensive lineman Dylan McMahon — 3 games

• Safety Khalid Martin — 2 games

• Linebacker Jaylon Scott — 2 games

• Cornerback Shyheim Battle — 1 game

• Defensive tackle C.J. Clark — 1 game*

• Defensive end Terrell Dawkins — 1 game*

• Defensive tackle Joshua Harris — 1 game*

• Nickel Jalen Frazier — 1 game

What The NC State Football Win Means

NC State is 4-2 and 1-1 in the ACC. The Pack improves to 11-2 all time against the Orange. Head coach Dave Doeren picked up his 70th career win as a head coach (70-40 in his ninth season, including two years at Northern Illinois).

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