To say that the NC State football team is in rebuilding mode would be a massive understatement.Â In a game that was supposed to be over by halftime, the Wolfpack barely survived the Division I-AA Richmond Spiders in a game that would likely have gone the other way had there been a mere twenty more seconds on the game clock.
Richmond took control of the game with three touchdowns on three straight possessions, led by former UVA player Michael Strauss, who was hardly slowed at times by a porous Wolfpack defense. State didn’t help their cause by turning the ball over four times or by committing ten penalties throughout the game, and at times they looked as though they were the lower division team playing out of their element.Â Going into the locker room at half, they found themselves trailing 21-13 and in a game that was very much in doubt for the home side.
In the locker room, new head coach Dave Doeren and his staff must have given the Wolfpack defense a strong pep talk because they came out with a vigor and intensity that was missing in the first thirty minutes of the game.Â Richmond would not score again, and only gained 83 more yards against the Wolfpack stopping unit, with 38 of those coming on their last drive as they desperately tried to move into field goal range.Â On the offensive side of the ball, the Pack started seeing better success and they quickly scored a touchdown to move within one point, 21-20.Â There is would stay, achingly at times, until less than a minute to go, when the Wolfpack capped off their last drive with a 48-yard field goal by kicker Niklas Sade.
Richmond was not done, however, and the offense that seemed to stay in the locker room after halftime suddenly found its rhythm.Â Starting at their own 25 with a mere 33 sends to go, Strauss flipped a sixteen yard pass to Rashad Ponder, followed it up with a seventeen yarder, and had the ball on the NC State 37 yard line — with two seconds left.Â Unfortunately for the Spiders, their field goal man is no Niklas Sade, and was still out of his effective range. They had one last gasp play to try to get the ball in the end zone batted down, and NC State escaped with a win it may not have deserved, 23-21.