Running back Ricky Person Jr. rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another one as host North Carolina State pulled out a 45-42 season-opening victory against Wake Forest on Saturday night in Raleigh, N.C.
Person ran 3 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 5:51 remaining after Wake Forest had taken its only lead of the game.
NC State quarterback Bailey Hockman had one rushing touchdown and threw for one as well.
Running back Kenneth Walker III scored three touchdowns and Wake Forest twice wiped out 14-point deficits. His final touchdown, a 2-yard run, put the Demon Deacons ahead 42-38 with 9:12 left.
But Wake Forest gave up the ball on failed fourth downs on its last two possessions.
Person's 2-yard jump pass to wide receiver Devin Carter broke a tie early in the third quarter. Hockman followed that less than three minutes later with a 15-yard touchdown toss to tight end Cary Angeline.
Momentum shifted when Hockman was picked off by Ja'Sir Taylor, whose 45-yard run for a touchdown closed the gap to 35-28.
Wake Forest is 0-2 for the first time since 2007. The Demon Deacons opened with a home loss to top-ranked Clemson.
NC State improved to 9-2 in its last 11 home meetings with Wake Forest.
Hockman was a surprise starter because Devin Leary had been listed as the first-string quarterback. Both players started at times in 2019, though Hockman played in only one of the last five games last year.
The score was 21-21 at halftime, with Wake Forest posting the final 14 points before the break.
Christian Beal-Smith's 11-yard run and Walker's 2-yard burst off a direct snap got the Demon Deacons back into it. Beal-Smith's touchdown came on the first play following a fourth-and-10 conversion.
Wake Forest had touchdown drives in the first half of 14, nine and 12 plays.
NC State running back Zonovan Knight opened the scoring on the game's first possession, rambling 30 yards for a touchdown as the Wolfpack needed only five plays to reach the end zone.
Hockman's 7-yard run completed an 82-yard drive as the Wolfpack went up 14-0.
Wake Forest answered on Jaquarii Roberson's splendid catch on a 5-yard pass play from Hartman for its first points of the game.
NC State's season was delayed a week when the Sept. 12 opener at Virginia Tech was pushed to Sept. 26 because the Wolfpack shut down preseason practice for more than a week after a coronavirus outbreak.
--Field Level Media