Bailey Hockman threw a career-high four touchdown passes -- three to Thayer Thomas -- and visiting North Carolina State recorded a 36-29 victory over Syracuse on Saturday afternoon.
The Wolfpack (7-3, 6-3 ACC) won their third straight game and held off the Orange (1-9, 1-8) with a clutch defensive stop in the final minute.
Syracuse was 7 yards away from tying the game but NC State held on. On third down, Rex Culpepper dropped back to pass, could not find a receiver and was sacked by Payton Wilson for an 11-yard loss as the clock kept moving.
With one second remaining, Culpepper did not know it was fourth down and took a knee, essentially ending the game.
Hockman completed 23 of 31 passes for a career-high 313 yards in his first career 300-yard game. His primary target was Thomas, who had nine receptions for 102 yards.
Thomas had a 15-yard TD reception in the second quarter and TDs of 31 and 9 yards in the third.
Emeka Emezie caught the go-ahead 26-yard TD early in the fourth quarter.
Syracuse lost its seventh straight game and started Culpepper for the fourth time. Starting in place of JaCobian Morgan (undisclosed injury), Culpepper was 23-of-45 for 254 yards and two touchdowns.
Orange receiver Taj Harris tallied a career-high 13 receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown.
Syracuse turned a 14-13 deficit into a 22-14 halftime lead with a 60-yard touchdown catch by Nykeim Johnson and a safety, when Hockman was sacked in the end zone by Marlowe Wax.
Thomas hauled in his second TD with 12:35 remaining in the third to make it 22-20 but Syracuse took a 29-20 lead on Harris’ 13-yard TD with 5:49 remaining.
Thomas scored his third TD about three minutes later to get the Wolfpack within 29-27 and Emezie’s 26-yard TD gave NC State a 33-29 lead less than a minute into the fourth.
Christopher Dunn’s 31-yard field goal made it 36-29 with 5:20 remaining.
--Field Level Media