BLACKSBURG, Va. -- All week long, the Virginia Tech seniors reminded Ryan Williams how important their final game at Lane Stadium was to them.
The redshirt freshman running back clearly got the message, rushing for 120 yards and four touchdowns Saturday to help send those 21 teammates home happy as the Hokies (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP) beat North Carolina State 38-10.
Williams, who carried 32 times, had already scored three times when he came up with the play of the day in the third quarter.
On a second-and-6 from the NC State 19, he went around the left side and was grabbed from behind by safety Earl Wolff at about the 12. Wolff seemed to maintain a grip on Williams' jersey the rest of the way, but the tailback dragged him all the way into the end zone.
"It was ridiculous," Williams said. "I wanted him off of me as soon as I felt him on me. But it was cool. I guess it shows what I do in the weight room a little bit."
The Hokies (8-3, 5-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) also got a career-best day from wide receiver Jarrett Boykin, who caught six passes for 164 yards and a touchdown, and from linebacker Cody Grimm, who tied an NCAA record by forcing three fumbles in his final home game.
Grimm also had eight tackles and two sacks, and said the forced fumbles were lucky.
"The last two, my hands just got on the ball," he said. "Realistically, if I didn't have those three [forced] fumbles, it wasn't any better day than usual."
The first two fumbles came on the Wolfpack's first and third plays, and set the tone.
"I can't tell you how bad it is," Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien said of the turnovers, which the Hokies turned into 10 points before the midpoint of the first quarter. "Just really bad football."
NC State (4-7, 1-6) lost its second straight and for the sixth time in seven games. The Wolfpack allowed at least 30 points for the eighth game in a row, and struggled on offense, turning the ball over four times and allowing six sacks for minus 60 yards. Five were on starter Russell Wilson.
The victory was Virginia Tech's third in a row, keeping them on pace for a sixth consecutive 10-win season provided they also win at Virginia next Saturday and then in a bowl game.
Getting the emotional last home game out of the way was key, safety Kam Chancellor said.
"I was really jacked up. At some point, I was trying to control it because I know if you get overanxious, you mess up," safety Kam Chancellor said. He got the interception he was hoping for in his last home game, too, but never got the big hit he also wanted.
"There wasn't much action," he said.
Most of that came with the Hokies' offense on the field.
After Williams' dazzling last TD run, they drove 97 yards in just six plays, with Tyrod Taylor hitting Boykin for 26 yards early in the drive, and then again for 38 yards and the touchdown.
Before the day was over, the Wolfpack replaced Wilson with Mike Glennon, the younger brother of former Hokies quarterback Sean Glennon. On his first snap, Glennon dropped back and was promptly drilled by reserve linebacker Mark Muncey for an 8-yard sack.
The Hokies started fast, even winning the coin flip for the first time in 11 games. They elected to kick, and on the first play, Grimm sacked Wilson, forced him to fumble and recovered it at the Wolfpack 34. Seven plays later, Matt Waldron kicked a 26-yard field goal.
Grimm forced another fumble on NC State's third play, a pass completion to Darrell Davis, and Stephan Virgil recovered, setting the Hokies up at the Wolfpack 25. This time it set up Williams' 4-yard TD run to make it 10-0 after just 7:05.
Grimm matched a record, according to Virginia Tech, when he forced Toney Baker to fumble on NC State's fourth play, but the Wolfpack got the ball back this time. Wilson, a native of Richmond, then led them on an 81-yard drive, capped by his 20-yard TD throw to a wide open Owen Spencer.
It was all downhill for the visitors after that.
Williams had a pair of 1-yard scoring runs before halftime, and the Wolfpack threatened only one other time.
Wilson hit Spencer for 48 yards to the Hokies 16, but Chris Drager sacked him for a 15-yard loss on third down-and-7 from the 13, and NC State had to settle for a 45-yard field goal by Josh Czajkowski that pulled the Wolfpack within 17-10.