RALEIGH, N.C. — With its offensive line back at full strength, North Carolina State flexed its muscle.
Jaylen Samuels rushed for three touchdowns to help the Wolfpack beat Furman 49-16 on Saturday.
Samuels scored on runs of 2, 1 and 1 yards, all in the first half. He added six catches for 75 yards for the Wolfpack (2-1), who rushed for a season-high 242 yards.
“We didn’t run the ball the first two games like we wanted to, like we’re capable of,” Samuels said. “We just let it loose today. We knew that if we executed and everyone did their assignments, they couldn’t stop us.”
Ryan Finley passed for 231 yards and a touchdown for N.C. State before sitting out the fourth quarter with the game in hand.
Nyheim Hines rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown and added a 50-yard kickoff return that set up a score for the Wolfpack.
N.C. State was bolstered by the return of right tackle Will Richardson, who started after serving a team-issued suspension for the first two games of the season.
“It was good to have our starting five offensive linemen back together,” N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said. “I like the way we attacked.”
Andy Schumpert had four catches for a career-high 107 yards and a touchdown for Furman (0-3).
Grayson Atkins converted field goals of 46, 34 and 46 yards for the Paladins.
Furman remained winless under first-year coach Clay Hendrix, who started on the offensive line for the Paladins in victories at N.C. State in 1984 and ’85.
The teams’ first meeting since then wasn’t as competitive.
The Wolfpack scored touchdowns on four of their five possessions en route to a 28-13 lead at halftime. They followed with three touchdowns, including a 47-yard interception return by Shawn Boone, in a six-minute span in the third quarter to blow open the game.
FURMAN: The Paladins struggled against N.C. State’s short passing game, allowing Finley to complete 22 of 27 throws. Many came on a variety of hitches and quick tosses toward the sideline. On the positive side, Furman heads into the meat of its schedule knowing that it won’t face an opponent as good as N.C. State for the rest of the season. “I knew we had to play a near-perfect game,” Hendrix said. “We were making some plays, but we just couldn’t make enough of them.”
N.C. STATE: The Wolfpack did what they were supposed to do, handling an overmatched opponent from the Football Championship Subdivision. Still, they need to clean up their mental mistakes. A silly roughing-the-passer penalty on Bradley Chubb kept alive Furman’s first drive, resulting in a field goal, and a busted coverage left Schumpert alone for a 71-yard touchdown catch. “We’ve got to be on our game because next week the bullets start flying for real,” Boone said.
The return of Richardson, a redshirt junior, gave the Wolfpack added experience up front. N.C. State had given one start apiece to redshirt freshmen Joe Sculthorpe and Justin Witt during his absence. Richardson’s presence allowed Terrone Prescod, who started last week against Marshall at right tackle, to move back to left guard.
“With Will in there, it’s a big difference,” Samuels said. “The holes open up wider, he knows what he’s doing, and he’s playing fast.”
N.C. State starting cornerback Mike Stevens missed his third consecutive game after suffering a knee injury during training camp. Doeren said that Stevens could have played and that he sat out because the coaches didn’t want to expose him to Furman’s cut blocking. “He’ll be out there next week,” Doeren said.
FURMAN: The Paladins hit the road for the third time in four weeks, playing at Colgate on Sept. 23.
N.C. STATE: The Wolfpack open Atlantic Coast Conference play with one of their biggest games of the year, a trip to No. 11 Florida State on Sept. 23.