Raleigh, N.C. — It was rarely pretty, and often ugly, but NC State beat Duke on Saturday for its third straight ACC win and first over the Blue Devils since 2008.
Sophomore linebacker Payton Wilson had 19 tackles and a pair of interceptions to lead the Wolfpack to a 31-20 home win.
NC State had lost its two most recent meetings with the Blue Devils, in 2013 in Durham and 2009 in Raleigh. The only loss on Saturday was the status of quarterback Devin Leary.
Leary appeared to hurt his left ankle with 55 seconds left in the third quarter. The NC State training staff put an aircast on Leary’s left leg and he was carted off the field.
By the middle of the fourth quarter, Leary was back on the sideline with an aircast on his left foot and on crutches.
“It doesn’t look like we will have him for a while,” NC State coach Dave Doeren said after the game in his press conference.
Bailey Hockman relieved Leary in the fourth quarter and threw a 9-yard touchdown to receiver Thayer Thomas for a 28-20 lead at 14:55. A 39-yard field goal by Chris Dunn iced the game for the Wolfpack with 3:17 left.
It was the defense that was able to save NC State, which had won road games at Pittsburgh and Virginia. Duke led 10-0 and 17-7 with a blocked punt for a touchdown in the first quarter, first-half penalties and turnovers helping the Devils out.
State’s defense made Chase Brice (24 of 40, 190 yards) look ordinary. It picked off the Clemson transfer three times, the first two by Wilson.
A blocked punt by linebacker Vi Jones before the end of the first half was a key play for the Wolfpack. Down 17-7, Jones was able to break through and block a punt by Porter Wilson. Max Fisher scooped it up and returned it 8 yards for a touchdown.
Leary engineered the go-ahead touchdown before he left the game with the injury. He connected with Bam Knight for a 20-yard pickup and then hit Emeka Emezie for a 36-yard gain.
The offense hurried to the line of scrimmage where Leary faked a handoff and was able to hit tight end Cary Angeline for the 21-20 lead.
Hockman started the first two games and led the Wolfpack to a win in the season-opener over Wake Forest while Leary was sidelined with COVD-19 contact-tracing protocols.
If Leary will be sidelined for an extended period of time, Hockman would be the starter with freshman Ben Finley as the backup.
NC State has won every game (3-0) Leary has started this season.