RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Freshman Andre Brown ran for 248 yards and
two touchdowns, and Marcus Stone threw the go-ahead touchdown pass
Saturday to lead North Carolina State past Southern Mississippi
Stone connected with Brian Clark with 5:08 left for the Wolfpack
(3-4), helping N.C. State rally from a 14-point third-quarter
deficit to win its first home game against a Division I-A opponent
in more than a year.
Brown carried the ball 32 times and finished with the
second-highest rushing total in school history, just 3 yards shy of
tying the record set by Ted Brown in 1977.
Larry Thomas ran for 60 yards and a score for the Golden Eagles
(4-3), playing the second of four straight road games.
N.C. State's last home win against an I-A opponent came in a
27-21 overtime victory against Wake Forest last October. The
Wolfpack's only home win this year was a rout of I-AA Eastern
Coming into the game, much of the attention was on Stone's
promotion to starting quarterback after spending the past 1½
seasons backing up Jay Davis. Stone became just the fourth starter
for the program in the past nine years, with Davis starting the
first 17 games of the post-Philip Rivers era.
But Davis, a fifth-year senior, had battled inconsistency
throughout his career, and the Wolfpack's offensive production had
dropped significantly in the last four games. Coach Chuck Amato
decided to promote Stone after his two-TD day in last week's loss
to Wake Forest in hopes of finding an offensive spark.
It turned out that the spark came from the freshman who wasn't
listed on the two-deep depth chart at running back and had played
only 28 offensive snaps this season.
Brown broke loose for a 41-yard run early in the second quarter,
finishing the first half with 96 yards on just 10 carries. Brown
capped an 80-yard drive by spinning into the end zone from 8 yards
out to make it 14-7 late in the third period.
Two possessions later, Brown bounced off two tacklers near the
line of scrimmage and sprinted to the right sideline for a 61-yard
touchdown that made it 17-14 with 13:14 left. The carry made Brown
the first Wolfpack running back to crack the 200-yard mark in seven
All this from a player who had run for 42 yards on 13 carries
Brown's big day allowed the Wolfpack to stay in it despite a
horrible start from Stone and his teammates. Stone went 1-for-9
with two interceptions to start the game, and freshman running back
Toney Baker fumbled away Stone's 17-yard completion -- the second of
four first-half turnovers.
But Stone finally settled down, going 4-for-6 on the Wolfpack's
first touchdown drive and finding Brian Clark alone in the end zone
for 3-yard score and a 21-17 lead. He finished 10-for-26 for 128
The Wolfpack defense, however, was stout from the start. Mario
Williams had four sacks, just part of N.C. State's constant
harassment of Dustin Almond as the quarterback tried to find
Southern Miss came in averaging nearly 35 points per game, but
had to work for every one of its 262 total yards. The Golden Eagles
then committed their only turnover when Jasper Faulk muffed a punt
with Southern Miss trailing 21-17 with 2:32 left.