Jakobi Meyers made 14 catches, including a couple on a key fourth-quarter drive, as North Carolina State defeated visiting James Madison 24-13 in a season opener Saturday afternoon at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C.
Meyers racked up 161 receiving yards. Quarterback Ryan Finley threw for 309 yards on 29-for-43 passing and two touchdowns.
Leading 17-13 after holding James Madison to its second short field goal of the game, N.C. State used almost six minutes on a drive that concluded with Reggie Gallaspy Jr.’s 6-yard touchdown run with 1:05 to play. Meyers made two third-down catches totaling 49 yards to keep the possession alive.
The Wolfpack scored 17 second-quarter points for a 17-7 halftime lead.
N.C. State went ahead 10-7 courtesy of Finley connecting with Thayer Thomas for a 16-yard scoring reception.
Finley tacked on a 14-yard touchdown strike to C.J. Riley with 18 seconds left in the half. That capped a 90-yard drive that took 12 plays.
The Dukes, a power in the Football Championship Subdivision, opened the scoring in the first quarter when Ben DiNucci, a Pittsburgh transfer in his first game with James Madison, connected on a 5-yard scoring pass to Riley Stapleton.
DiNucci completed his first 15 attempts, though those accounted for only 101 yards. He ended up completing 23 of 27 for 197 yards. He also tallied 79 rushing yards on 14 carries.
Ethan Ratke booted a 19-yard field goal in the third quarter and another 19-yarder with 6:69 remaining for the Dukes.
Finley completed 10 of 12 passes for 115 yards in the first quarter, when N.C. State didn’t score.
The Wolfpack’s first points came on Chris Dunn’s 25-yard field goal just 49 seconds into the second quarter.
James Madison announced before the game that cornerback Rashad Robinson would be out for the season with a foot injury. He was named as the Colonial Athletic Association’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
This was the first meeting between the schools.
DiNucci also came out on the wrong end against N.C. State last year while playing for Pittsburgh.
—Field Level Media