The NC State Wolfpack (7-3, 4-2) hosted Senior Day on Saturday afternoon with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-8, 1-6) in town, and put up a dominating effort en route to a 38-3 victory. Redshirt senior linebacker Nate Irving led the way during his final game in front of the Carter-Finley faithful by setting a school record with eight tackles for loss, leading a dominant Pack defense. Redshirt junior quarterback Russell Wilson added two rushing touchdowns while eclipsing 300 yards through the air for the seventh time this year.
"It was a good day for our seniors and our team today," coach Tom O'Brien said. "I thought Nate, Russell, Jarvis Williams and Owen Spencer especially had a good day. I thought our fans were great today.
"We're happy for today. Seven wins now. That's a huge step for our program. We still have a lot to play for going forward. We have to buckle up and get ready to play next week."
The game started off with Wake Forest receiving the ball and gaining just one first down before punting the ball to the Pack. Wilson responded by leading the Pack to a field goal on their first drive, kicking things off with a 16-yard completion to Spencer. The drive ended with freshman Chris Hawthorne's first field goal attempt of his college career. He connected from 25 yards out to give the Pack a 3-0 lead.
The Deacons answered with a 41-yard kickoff return from Michael Campanaro, which led to a 57-yard scoring drive. Initially it looked like the Deacons would punt the ball to the Pack, but a roughing the kicker call gave them new life and a first down.
Jimmy Newman put the visitors on the board with a 19-yard field goal, but the Pack defense became air tight after that, thanks to outstanding play from Irving, who totaled 13 stops, and safety Earl Wolff, who finished with 11 tackles, a sack, 1.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.
Wilson and the offense were not able to pick up a first down on their ensuing possession, but Wake Forest also faced a stout defense and went three-and-out before punting the ball back. A 50-yard completion from Wilson to Williams spurned on an eventual four-yard touchdown strike between the duo.
The NC State defense held strong on a long, 13-play drive that Wake Forest was not able to convert into points. The Deacons drove inside the Pack's 10 but were stopped on three straight rushing attempts and tried for the touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the two as the half was winding down, but could not find pay dirt.
The Pack took over at their own three, and took a 10-3 lead into the break. After halftime, though, the Pack's offense was hitting on all cylinders, The squad would score touchdowns on four of their next six drives.
The half opened with a scoring drive capped by a 38-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Spencer, who would finish with 138 yards through the air. Spencer eclipsed 2,000 career receiving yards on the day, only the fifth player in school history to do so.
The defense did not allow the Deacons to pick up a first down and gave the ball back to the offense in decent field position. The Pack eventually stalled on the drive, but Andy Leffler's punt was mishandled and Wolff recovered for the home team.
Three plays later, Wilson took the ball in himself from two yards away for his first rushing touchdown of the day. The defense held strong again for the next two drives, forcing consecutive three-and-outs before Wilson found pay dirt again, this time from only one yard out.
The defense came out and quickly forced another punt, allowing only six yards on four plays, before the Pack gained possession again. Wilson capped his day with a 19-yard completion to Spencer, giving him 300 yards passing, on first down before giving way to backup Mike Glennon.
Glennon led the team downfield for a touchdown, with James Washington doing the honors from one yard out, his first touchdown in 2010. The Pack forced another punt and took over with just under four minutes remaining. Glennon, who finished four-of-four passing, and senior Daniel Imhoff split the Pack's final drive under center, running the clock out and giving the Pack their seventh win of the regular season, something that had not been accomplished since 2003.