Central Michigan fades, falls 38-24 to NC State
Central Michigan coach Dan Enos and quarterback Ryan Radcliff had two different perspectives on exactly what led to a second-half collapse in the Chippewas' 38-24 loss at North Carolina State on Saturday.
Enos said it was pressure from the Wolfpack defense that led to four interceptions to help drop Central Michigan to 2-4 on the season. Central Michigan, which racked up 254 yards in the first half, managed just 43 yards in the third quarter (427 overall).
''They did a good job on defense in the second half,'' said Enos. ''I thought they covered well with tighter coverage. They got a little more pressure on the quarterback.''
Radcliff, who was 15 of 17 for 196 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, was just 1 of 10 passing with three interceptions in the third quarter and finished 19 of 32 for 245 yards, two touchdowns and a career-high four interceptions.
He said his problems had nothing to do with N.C. State's defense, which entered the game last in the Atlantic Coast Conference in points allowed and 11th in the league in total yards allowed. Overall, the Wolfpack's much-maligned defense forced five turnovers and stopped the Chippewas from scoring on eight consecutive possessions at one point.
''It was my decision-making,'' Radcliff said. ''I can't blame anyone else but myself. I had the ball in my hand and I'm responsible for it. I can't put that on anyone else but myself.''
Paris Cotton ran for 158 yards, including a 77-yard score in the fourth quarter, as the Chippewas dropped to 0-7 all time against current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
James Washington rushed for 109 yards and a score for the Wolfpack (3-3), who picked up their first win against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent this season. Quarterback Mike Glennon passed for 244 yards and four touchdowns.
N.C. State, which trailed 17-14 midway through the second quarter, scored 24 consecutive points to seize control.
The Wolfpack, hindered by injuries on defense all season, welcomed back a couple of key contributors in linebacker Terrell Manning and lineman Brian Slay. Manning had a sack, a forced fumble and a key interception in the second half after missing the last two games with a knee injury.
The Chippewas cut N.C. State's lead to 38-24 on a 77-yard touchdown run by Cotton midway through the fourth quarter, and they recovered the ensuing onside kick. But David Amerson came up with his second interception of the day, picking off Radcliff's pass in the end zone to help preserve the victory for N.C. State.
The game was a shootout at the start, with each team scoring a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter. Glennon, who threw three touchdown passes in the first half, capped the Wolfpack's first two drives with scoring strikes to George Bryan and Jay Smith.
Radcliff matched Glennon with two first-quarter touchdown passes of his own - 17 yards to Cody Wilson (who extended his reception streak to 25 consecutive games), and 23 yards to Courtney Williams. But the Chippewas couldn't keep up the pace once they started losing the ball.
Central Michigan gave up the ball inside N.C. State's 20 late in the second quarter when Titus Davis lost a fumble at the end of a 46-yard reception. Radcliff then threw interceptions on his team's first two possessions of the second half.
Manning picked off the first pass, and Glennon cashed in on the chance with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Tobais Palmer that put N.C. State ahead 28-17.
Washington scored on a 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter after another Radcliff interception to extend the Wolfpack's lead to 35-17.
''They did a good job,'' Enos said. ''They brought more pressure on us in the second half. They were able to create some plays. Our defense didn't play well in the first half and our offense did. Then we flip-flopped in the second half.''