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Virginia Tech falls to N.C. State 22-21 in epic meltdown

The Hokies led 21-3 late in the third quarter.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The N.C. State Wolfpack defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies 22-21 on Thursday night in Raleigh after scoring 19 unanswered points to end the game and shock Tech.

It was an ugly first half that was scoreless until the end of the half when N.C. State kicked a field goal to head into intermission with a 3-0 lead. The first half was a reminder of how far the Hokies have fallen.

However, in the second half, the Hokies came out aggressive. Quarterback Grant Wells found freshman tight end Dae’Quan Wright on a pair of passes, one of which went for 36 yards and set up the Hokies in excellent field position. Wells capped the drive off with a four-yard touchdown run, and suddenly the Hokies were in the lead.

Virginia Tech’s defense continued to play well, bottling up freshman quarterback MJ Morris. On the next drive, Tech kept its foot on the gas pedal as Wells found wide receiver Kaleb Smith for an 85-yard touchdown pass. Carter-Finley Stadium went quiet, and the Virginia Tech sideline went wild.

After yet another defensive stand, Wells connected with Smith again for a big play, setting up the Hokies near the red zone. Shortly after, Wells rumbled it in from 20 yards out and the Hokies were up 21-3.

It was exciting, yet, if you ask every Virginia Tech fan, they knew it was far from over. Morris found wide receiver Thayer Thomas for a touchdown to cut the lead to 21-10.

Virginia Tech’s offense then stalled and star running back Malachi Thomas departed the game with what looked like an ankle injury. Thomas went into the locker room on the medical cart.

Morris stayed aggressive, landing another big play, this time to freshman wideout Terrell Timmsons to set up the ‘Pack with a first and goal. Morris capped off the drive with a touchdown pass to tight end Trent Pennix, and suddenly it was a one-possession game.

The Hokies offense continued to do nothing, handing the ball back to Morris and State. Again, Morris drove the field, finding Thomas for another touchdown, completing N.C. State’s comeback.

Tech had another shot on offense and could do nothing. What could’ve been a milestone win for head coach Brent Pry turned into another disastrous loss. Pry can look to penalties as a significant reason for Tech’s struggles. The Hokies committed 10 false start penalties and ad total penalties for 69 yards. The special teams were abysmal yet again, as Chance Black fumbled two kickoffs — both of which were after Wolfpack touchdowns, further crippling the Virginia Tech offense’s field position.

Wells completed 11 of 22 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown. Smith caught three passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. The Hokies ran for just 50 yards in the loss.

Virginia Tech returns to Blacksburg to host Georgia Tech next week.