Ricky Person Jr. scored three touchdowns in the first half and was one of two North Carolina State players to run over 100 yards in the Wolfpack’s 45-0 season opener against southern Florida.
It was the Wolfpack’s first opening shutout victory of the season in 17 years.
Person landed a 33-yard touchdown by Devin Leary on a perfectly executed wheel run in the Wolfpack’s first practice, then scored a pair of 11-yard carries in the second quarter for a 24-0 lead at midpoint. -time.
It marked the second year in a row that Person opened the season with a multi-TD game, and he finished with 105 of his 148 total rushing yards.
Fellow Zonovan Knight ran for 163 yards and a 46-yard touchdown, as part of a 293-yard running day in a dominant NC State performance to kick off coach Dave Doeren’s ninth season in Raleigh.
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The Wolfpack also had a solid comeback from Devin Leary, who played for the first time since falling with a broken leg last October. Leary completed 17 of 26 passes for 232 yards and two scores, his main mistake being an undershot for an interception that could have been a touchdown.
NC State had no other problem, from offense to defense which made it difficult for USF and managed three assists.
Second-year coach Jeff Scott pulled starter Cade Fortin – a transfer from rival Wolfpack to North Carolina – for Timmy McClain ahead of halftime in search of a spark. It didn’t work, with McClain throwing a pair of interceptions deep into Wolfpack’s territory before Fortin returned early in the third quarter.
In the end, the USF had managed most of its 271 yards after the outcome had been decided long ago, with Fortin completing 7 of 20 passes for 41 yards and an interception in the fourth quarter.
Take it away
USF: Put simply, it was a terrible start to Scott’s second season with the Bulls. The USF struggled for stoppages and chain play all night, with the only drama being whether the Bulls would end up scratching the scoreboard.
NC State: The Wolfpack looked ready from the start with a squad made up of 18 attacking and returning defensive starters. Person and Knight both recorded big chunk wins, while Leary made multiple net throws in his first action in 10 months. The offense finished with 525 total yards as the defense earned its first opening shutout of the season since defeating Richmond 42-0 in 2004.
USF: Things won’t get any easier. Florida No. 13 of the Southeastern Conference visits USF on September 11.
NC State: The Wolfpack will face an SEC opponent on the road, visiting Mississippi state on September 11.