N.C. State Wolfpack: Mountaineers Turn Wolfpack Into Country Roadkill

COLUMBIA, MISSOURI - SEPTEMBER 07: Quarterback Austin Kendall #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers passes against the Missouri Tigers in the fourth quarter at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on September 07, 2019 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, MISSOURI - SEPTEMBER 07: Quarterback Austin Kendall #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers passes against the Missouri Tigers in the fourth quarter at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on September 07, 2019 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

The Wolfpack dropped its first game of the 2019 season as West Virginia uses its second-half surge to seal the victory in Morgantown.

MORGANTOWN, W.V. — After a solid first half against West Virginia (2-1), N.C. State (2-1) failed to re-enter the end zone for the remainder of the game as the Mountaineers coasted to victory with 23 points in the second half to win at Milan Puskar Stadium, 44-27.

Quick Notes

  • West Virginia tallied 445 yards of total offense with 272 coming through the air and 173 earned in the ground game. All three numbers are season-highs for the Mountaineers.
  • Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Thayer Thomas caught a touchdown and threw a touchdown. This marks the first time a Wolfpack player scored via reception and pass since Rashard Smith accomplished the feat against Boston College in 2013.
  • Sophomore placekicker Christopher Dunn saw his consecutive made field goal streak snap at 19 in a row after missing a 51-yard attempt in the first quarter. He later made two field goals in the game.
  • West Virginia scored a touchdown on its first offensive possession. That marked the first touchdown the Wolfpack defense allowed this season. Prior to that, the only FBS schools that held its opponents without a touchdown were NC State and Wisconsin.

Scoring Summary

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After Dunn’s missed field goal, the Mountaineers drove 66 yards down the field to score on a 20-yard pass from Austin Kendall to Sam James.

The Wolfpack’s next drive saw State drive 75 yards down the field on 10 plays with Thomas capping the drive off by catching redshirt sophomore quarterback Matthew McKay’s touchdown pass from eight yards out.

West Virginia answered the Wolfpack’s score with a four-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 23-yard touchdown run by Kennedy McKoy.

The teams traded punts before the Wolfpack struck again when freshman running back Jordan Houston scored from one yard away from the goal line to finish a 12-play, 80-yard drive.

Toward the end of the first half, both teams scored one final touchdown before the break. McKay threw a backwards pass to Thomas who then fired to the end zone where redshirt junior tight end Cary Angeline was waiting to haul in the 18-yard score. George Campbell and West Virginia answered with under a minute to go as Kendall fired a 13-yard strike to Campbell to tie the game.

Evan Staley opened the second-half scoring with a 23-yard field goal. McKoy later pushed the Mountaineers’ lead to 10 points with a five-yard touchdown scamper.

Dunn scored the only second-half points for the Wolfpack with a pair of field goals in the third quarter. His first came from 41 yards out, and his second was from 37 yards.

The Mountaineers put the game away with two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Kendall fired a nine-yard strike to Ali Jennings with 12:24 remaining in regulation. The final nail in the coffin came from the legs of Leddie Brown who crossed the goal line from three yards away.


  • Some within the Wolfpack Nation have been quick to blame McKay for his underwhelming performance. McKay completed just 23 of his 48 pass attempts for 207 yards. He also netted nine rushing yards on 10 carries. However, as this was the young quarterback’s first road start in a hostile Morgantown environment, perhaps McKay should be given the benefit of the doubt. However, this shouldn’t mean that every shortcoming should be automatically forgiven. The Wolfpack has redshirt sophomore quarterback Bailey Hockman behind him, chomping at the bit for his chance to shine. This game could mark the start of McKay’s motivation to take off like a rocket, or it could be the first snowball that leads to an avalanche.
  • That being said, McKay needs to spread the ball around more when he has the opportunity to throw. McKay targeted junior wide receiver Emeka Emezie 23 times that resulted in 12 receptions for 103 yards. No other Wolfpack receiver was targeted more than seven times. That sort of predictability can cause defenses to pick up on when you tend to throw to Emezie (hint: it’s often). That showed in Saturday afternoon’s game as the West Virginia defense managed to bat down thrown passes and force contact-related incompletions at several points throughout the game. Spreading the ball around can help utilize the Pack’s other weapons, and if the heat is taken off Emezie, when he does catch the ball can result in long-yardage completions.
  • The Wolfpack entered the game without graduate student defensive end James Smith-Williams, redshirt freshman defensive end Joseph Boletepeli, and senior cornerback Nick McCloud. The impact from their absence seems to have been felt in this game as the Mountaineers scored more points and gained more yards on offense, including via passing and rushing individually, than it had in its prior games this year. West Virginia managed to exploit the lack of depth on the defensive ends with several outside runs that consistently churned out several yards per carry. Smith-Williams’ and McCloud’s absence also hurts the Wolfpack in the experience department; the Pack is a relatively young squad, and lacking senior leaders can impact any team’s composure.