NC State rallies, then hangs on to defeat Pitt

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Toney Baker scored from 2 yards out with 6:28 left and North Carolina State's defense made a late stand to preserve a 38-31 victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday.

In a wild game in which the teams combined for 830 total yards, Russell Wilson threw four touchdown passes for the third straight week and finished 21 of 35 for 322 yards for the Wolfpack (3-1).

Wilson also rushed 10 times for 91 yards and led three straight second-half touchdown drives for NC State. The last was kept alive by two pass-interference calls on third downs against Pitt. Baker raced untouched through the left side two plays later to give NC State its first -- and only -- lead.

Bill Stull was 12 of 23 for 206 yards with two touchdown passes while Dion Lewis had two early scoring runs for the Panthers (3-1).

They had one last chance to force overtime after a shotgun snap sailed over Wilson's head and was recovered by Pitt's Max Gruder at the NC State 8 with 2:45 remaining.

But safety Brandan Bishop knocked a sure touchdown catch out of Dorin Dickerson's hands one play before Stull's fourth-down pass sailed out of the end zone with 1:15 left.

Pitt's best start since 2000 was spoiled by an NC State team that held Lewis, the Big East's leading rusher, to just 16 yards in the second half. Lewis finished with 95 yards and scored on runs of 6 and 7 yards in the first half.

For a while, it seemed the Panthers would claim their eighth road victory in nine tries dating to their upset of then-No. 2 West Virginia in 2007 -- especially after Stull hit Jonathan Baldwin with a 79-yard touchdown pass to make it 31-17.

That's when Wilson took over. He started the comeback with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Williams, then tied it at 31-all with a pretty 7-yard flip to George Bryan.

Earlier, he had scoring passes of 23 yards to Taylor Gentry and 38 yards to Baker, extended his NCAA-record streak of pass attempts without an interception to 364 and proved that the Wolfpack's offense can pile up the points against college football's big boys, too.

NC State entered with the highest-scoring offense in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but that average of nearly 38 points seemed misleading because all but three of its 113 total points came in consecutive routs of Football Championship Subdivision teams Murray State and Gardner-Webb. South Carolina, the only other FBS team the Wolfpack played, kept them out of the end zone in the opener.

Instead, NC State became the second team this season to rack up 500 total yards against Pitt. The Panthers' defense was considered one of their strengths and was one reason they were the preseason pick to win the Big East.


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