RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Brennan Armstrong piled up 303 yards of total offense and N.C. State routed VMI 45-7 on Saturday afternoon.
Armstrong led N.C. State (2-1) by completing 27 of 32 passes (84%) for 264 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 39 yards on six carries. His completion percentage was a career-high mark for the sixth-year quarterback when attempting at least 11 passes in a game.
After forcing the Keydets (1-2) to a three-and-out to start, N.C. State got on the scoreboard with a 12-play, 58-yard drive that ended with the first of two rushing touchdowns from Delbert Mimms. About a minute later, the Wolfpack scored again when fifth-year defensive back Robert Kennedy picked off an errant VMI pass and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.
Those scores led to a 31-point Wolfpack scoring run before VMI responded in the third quarter, with Collin Shannon finding Egypt Nelson for a 22-yard touchdown pass. Nelson proved to be a thorn in the Wolfpack’s defense with 107 yards receiving on three receptions.
N.C. State countered as sophomore Julian Gray ran back the ensuing kickoff 82 yards for the first touchdown of his collegiate career.
VMI: Since beating Virginia Tech in 1981, VMI is 0-40 against FBS opponents. It was apparent throughout the game that the Keydets were facing a team that was bigger, faster and stronger. VMI had just 15 rushing yards on 21 carries and was 1 of 10 on third downs. The Keydets aim to fare better against opponents on their level in the Southern Conference.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack used this game to correct mistakes that surfaced in the loss to Notre Dame last week. This time, the offense didn’t turn the ball over and the wide receivers played well – Gray even hauled in a 64-yard catch, the longest of his career. What remained a concern was the Wolfpack defense’s inability to stop big plays, as it allowed VMI’s Nelson to catch two passes of more than 40 yards.
VMI: Returning to FCS play, the Keydets host Wofford on Saturday.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack begin Atlantic Coast Conference play Friday at Virginia.