Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wolfpack cut USC lead to 7-3

RALEIGH - It could be worse.

N.C. State fumbled on its first snap on offense, had a punt blocked and picked up only three first downs but trails South Carolina, 7-3 with 7:50 left in the fourth quarter.

On State's first possession of the game, Toney Baker fumbled on his first carry since 2007 opener, which gave South Carolina the ball at its own 14-yard line.

Four plays later, the Gamecocks turned the miscue into a 7-0 lead. Brian Maddox rushed 1-yard for the touchdown at 9:10 in the first quarter.

After State was stopped on the next series, Devin Taylor blocked a Jeff Ruiz punt to give South Carolina the ball at the 38-yard line.

South Carolina has had its own litany of errors. The Gamecocks muffed a snap, missed a 27-yard field and had a touchdown called back because of a penalty.

After Taylor's blocked field goal, South Carolina quarterback Steven Garcia hit Tori Gurley for a touchdown but it was called back for pass interference. The Gamecocks ended up punting on the series.

State later dodged a bullet when Stephen Flint bobbled a snap on a 31-yard field goal attempt, leaving South Carolina with the lone touchdown.

When USC did execute a successful snap, Spencer Lanning missed a 27-yard field goal in the third quarter.

After a Michael Lemon interception, State put together its first drive of the game — which was aided by an overturned fumble — which ended with a 43-yard field goal by Josh Czajkowski with 55.8 seconds left in the third.

-- J.P. Giglio