MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Mike Glennon threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns Saturday, leading North Carolina State to a 31-7 non-conference football victory over the University of South Alabama at Carter-Finley Stadium.
It's the second time in as many years that N.C. State (2-1) has defeated the Jaguars (1-2).
The Jags will next be in action on Saturday, Sept. 22, when they face Mississippi State at 6 p.m. in Starkville, in the final game prior to the program's first Sun Belt Conference contest.
"We knew when N.C. State held Connecticut to seven points last weekend that they were a very good defensive football team," stated USA head coach Joey Jones. "When you look at their film from last year and this year, they are two totally different teams. They showed that today. They were very good up front, and got to the quarterback several times."
Glennon threw for three first-half touchdowns as the Pack built a 28-0 advantage in the opening 30 minutes, ending the night completing 24-of-34 attempts. He was 8-of-9 passing on NCSU's initial possession — accounting for all but five yards — while moving the team 80 yards in 12 plays; his 33-yard scoring completion to Rashard Smith made it 7-0 with 9:22 to go in the first quarter.
Tony Creecy, Tobias Palmer and Bryan Underwood caught two passes apiece on the drive.
His second touchdown pass was to Underwood with four minutes left in the opening period, covering 44 yards while doubling the Wolfpack advantage, with the third a a 13-yard pass to Quintin Payton that extended the NCSU edge to 28-0 two-and-a-half minutes before the intermission.
Payton and Creecy caught five passes apiece to lead all players, with the former collecting 61 yards. Underwood added three receptions for 58 yards as well.
A Jag turnover midway through the second quarter led to N.C. State's other score in the opening half. A.J. Ferguson forced a fumble that Rickey Dowdy recovered at the USA-32; six plays later, Creecy scored on an 11-yard touchdown, going around right end on fourth-and-three, to make it 21-0 Wolfpack with 6:52 left in the first half.
"He's a very good quarterback. If you let him sit in the pocket and throw it, he's great," Jones explained. "So we tried to get him to move a little, and I thought our guys did a good job of that most of the night. He's too efficient throwing the football. If you let him throw it, he's going to complete most of his passes."
Niklas Sade added a 22-yard field goal midway through the third period, capping a 15-play, 67-yard possession during which Glennon completed 7-of-8 attempts to five different receivers.
The Jags avoided the shutout when Ross Metheny connected with Jeremé Jones on an eight-yard scoring pass with 5:20 left in the game, with Jones tying a school record on the play with a reception in his 17th straight outing. The drive — which moved 72 yards in four plays, taking a minute-and-a-half off the clock — began with a 42-yard pass from Metheny to Corey Besteda, who then found Demetre Baker for 21 yards on the next play.
On USA's first possession, C.J. Bennett picked up first downs with completions to Wes Saxton and Besteda for six and 18 yards, respectively, but David Amerson intercepted a pass on third-and-15 from midfield. An Alex Page sack set up third-and-15 for the Pack, but a personal foul call tacked on the end of a completion to Creecy gave NCSU another first down. On the next snap, Glennon found Underwood to double the Wolfpack's advantage.
The Pack outgained USA, 384-314, with 230 of those yards coming in the opening half. NCSU was 7-of-19 on third-down conversions, also moving the chains twice on fourth down, while the Jaguars were 0-of-11 on third downs.
Brandan Bishop and Brandon Pittman paced the N.C. State defense — which recorded seven sacks on the night among it 12 for loss — with eight tackles apiece, with Pittman posting two stops behind the line. Juston Burris chipped in with six stops, and Dowdy and Dontae Johnson were credited with five tackles each.
Jake Johnson led the Jags defensively with a season-high 14 stops, which included a school game-record 11 of the solo variety. It's the third game in a row that the senior has paced the unit in tackles.
Enrique Williams added nine tackles and Terrell Brigham had seven. Clifton Crews and Tyrell Pearson made six stops each — a season-high total for the former and a career best for the latter — while Alex Page ended up with five including a career-best two sacks.
Creecy posted 68 yards on 15 carries for NCSU, with James Washington adding 31 yards on seven attempts. Creecy had 96 all-purpose yards.
Baker finished with a team-leading and game-high 100 all-purpose yards, gaining 45 on seven rushes while catching five passes for 55 more — the receiving figures were both career highs. Saxton had four receptions for 72 yards, Besteda caught three passes for 68 yards and T.J. Glover collected three catches as well. Metheny completed 14-of-20 attempts for 189 yards, while Bennett was
10-of-15 passing for 74.
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