RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Cary Angeline and Thayer Thomas had second-half touchdown catches to help North Carolina State beat Duke 31-20 on Saturday despite losing starting quarterback Devin Leary to injury.
Angeline's 4-yard scoring catch put the Wolfpack up for good late in the third quarter. Then Thomas added a highlight-reel grab early in the fourth, somehow snagging a 9-yard pass with his right hand and pinning the ball to his helmet while being knocked out of the end zone.
N.C. State (4-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) got another strong performance from its defense, which surrendered one offensive touchdown while coming up with a goal-line stand for the third straight week. The Wolfpack picked off Chase Brice three times, the last coming after the Blue Devils had driven to the N.C. State 40-yard line with 6:06 left in a one-possession game.
Brice threw for 190 yards and a touchdown for the Blue Devils (1-5, 1-5), who ran for just 129 yards a week after relying on a dominant ground game to beat Syracuse.
Leary threw for 194 yards and hit Angeline for the go-ahead score. But on the next drive, he took a hard hit on a keeper from Duke’s Lummie Young IV — who was ejected for targeting — and Leary’s leg bent awkwardly beneath him.
Leary had to be carted off with an aircast around his lower left leg with 55 seconds left in the third. He offered a thumbs-up, then later returned to the sideline on crutches and wearing a protective boot.
Bailey Hockman finished that drive, with his scoring throw slipping through the hands of Duke's Jalen Alexander before reaching Thomas' right hand (and helmet) for the 28-20 lead. Christopher Dunn added a key field goal with 3:17 left to help N.C. State stay in control.
It was the first meeting in seven years between in-state neighbors separated by about 25 miles, and the game featured the teams each tallying a blocked punt for a touchdown.
This was N.C. State’s first home game since Gov. Roy Cooper announced the state would ease public-gathering restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. Schools are allowed to fill 7% of their stadium capacity, so more than 4,000 people were allowed to scatter throughout the 57,600-seat Carter-Finley Stadium.
Duke: The Blue Devils ran for 363 yards and had 645 yards against the Orange, but managed little consistent production in this one. They also added to a hefty turnover total that was at least five more than any other team in the Bowl Subdivision ranks entering the weekend and squandered multiple chances to grab or keep momentum.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack hadn’t played at home since beating Wake Forest on Sept. 19, but had won two straight road games since Leary had retaken his starting job lost due to missed preseason workouts from contact tracing. Leary's status will be a concern moving forward.
Duke: The Blue Devils have an open date before hosting Charlotte in their lone nonconference game Oct. 31.
N.C. State: It’s another instate rivalry game for the Wolfpack, who visit No. 5 North Carolina next Saturday.
More AP college football: http://apnews.com/Collegefootball and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap