WINSTON-SALEM (AP) — North Carolina State’s defense couldn’t figure out how to slow Wake Forest receiver Michael Campanaro.
Campanaro had 12 catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns in the Demon Deacons’ 28-13 win on Saturday, a reversal of his quiet performance in last year’s game.
Campanaro had five catches for 14 yards in last year’s 37-6 loss in Raleigh, but he kept finding openings in the secondary for his second 100-yard game of the season.
“It’s just we were unable to eliminate the big plays and slow him down,” Wolfpack cornerback Dontae Johnson said. “He’s a great player. You can’t stop a great player. You can only hope to contain him.”
Campanaro’s biggest catch was his 10-yard touchdown reception with six seconds left in the first half; he added a 27-yard TD in the fourth quarter by beating Johnson.
“Even when we had him double-teamed at times, we didn’t stop him,” first-year Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said.
Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score, helping the Demon Deacons (3-3, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) earn their sixth straight win against N.C. State in Winston-Salem.
N.C. State (3-2, 0-2) hasn’t won here in a dozen years in a mystifying streak. The only common thread is longtime Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe, who coaxed the best performance of the season from an underachieving veteran team at the perfect time.
As a result, N.C. State continued its run of futility here, losing for the eighth time in nine games dating to 1997. The Wolfpack’s last win here came in 2001, when 10-year NFL veteran Philip Rivers was a sophomore quarterback.
The biggest sequence for the Demon Deacons came just before halftime. After the Wolfpack marched downfield for a touchdown and a 10-7 lead with 39 seconds left, Price found Spencer Bishop alone for a 54-yard catch-and-run that put the ball at the 10. Three plays later, Price connected with Campanaro to put Wake Forest back in front 14-10 with 6 seconds left before the break.
Price followed that with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jared Crump on Wake Forest’s first possession after halftime to make it 21-10.
As for N.C. State, Doeren’s first road game turned into a dud. Pete Thomas threw for 257 yards and that 11-yard score to Quinton Payton just before halftime. But the Wolfpack never made it back to the end zone in what might have been Thomas’ last starting opportunity before the return of Brandon Mitchell.
Doeren said earlier this week that Mitchell, who suffered a broken left foot after just three series in the opener, has a chance to play next week at home against new ACC member Syracuse.