Tribe football falls at NC State, 48-14, in season opener

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unnamed (4)The No. 9/10 William & Mary football team opened the 2016 season with a 48-14 setback at North Carolina State on Thursday evening.

The contest was tied at 7-7 after the first quarter, but NCST pulled ahead with touchdowns on three of its next four drives to build a 28-7 advantage at halftime.

Although W&M briefly narrowed the margin to 28-14 with a touchdown early in the second half, it was unable to get any closer the rest of the way.

The Wolfpack outgained W&M, 521-168, and held more than a 10-minute advantage in time of possession (35:13-24:47).

Things looked good for the Tribe early in the contest, as it answered NCST’s game-opening touchdown drive with a score of its own when senior quarterback Steve Cluley connected on a 16-yard touchdown strike to junior wide receiver DeVonte Dedmonwith 5:22 remaining in the first quarter. Cluley was outstanding on the 11-play, 75-yard scoring march, as he completed all four of his passes (49 yards) while Dedmon hauled in three catches for 41 yards.

However, W&M’s other four first-half drives netted just 3 total yards, while the Wolfpack punched in touchdowns on three of its next four possessions in the opening 30 minutes. The Tribe‘s lone defensive stop in the first half came on an interception by redshirt freshman safety Corey Parker midway through the second quarter.

Despite begin outgained, 306-78, in the opening half, W&M opened the second half in impressive fashion and posted a four-play, 65-yard scoring drive that culminated with a 10-yard touchdown run by Cluley. The quick drive lasted just 1:36 and narrowed the margin to 28-14.

However, Cluley’s touchdown scamper was the Tribe‘s lone score of the second half as NCST pulled away for the season-opening victory.

Dedmon led the Tribe offensively with five catches for 75 yards and a touchdown, while Cluley finished the contest 9-of-18 for 99 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Parker totaled a team-high 15 tackles (10 solo), while redshirt freshman linebacker Nate Atkins and senior linebacker Stephen Lubnow recorded 12 tackles apiece. Sophomore linebacker Josh Dulaney and true freshman linebacker Arman Jones both posted sacks.

NC State quarterback Ryan Finley completed 17-of-21 passes for 174 yards with two touchdowns, while running back Matthew Dayes piled up 138 yards on 23 carries with two scores.

The Tribe will return to action when it plays at Hampton next Saturday at 6 p.m.