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Southern Miss Falls To N.C. State

Larry Thomas tries to fight through the N.C. State defense.

Larry Thomas tries to fight through the N.C. State defense.

Oct. 29, 2005

Box Score

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Freshman Andre Brown ran for 248 yards and two touchdowns, and Marcus Stone threw the go-ahead touchdown pass Saturday to lead North Carolina State past Southern Mississippi 21-17.

Stone connected with Brian Clark with 5:08 left for the Wolfpack (3-4), helping N.C. State rally from a 14-point third-quarter deficit to win its first home game against a Division I-A opponent in more than a year.

Brown carried the ball 32 times and finished with the second-highest rushing total in school history, just 3 yards shy of tying the record set by Ted Brown in 1977.

Larry Thomas ran for 60 yards and a score for the Golden Eagles (4-3), playing the second of four straight road games.

N.C. State's last home win against an I-A opponent came in a 27-21 overtime victory against Wake Forest last October. The Wolfpack's only home win this year was a rout of I-AA Eastern Kentucky.

Coming into the game, much of the attention was on Stone's promotion to starting quarterback after spending the past 1 1/2 seasons backing up Jay Davis. Stone became just the fourth starter for the program in the past nine years, with Davis starting the first 17 games of the post-Philip Rivers era.

But Davis, a fifth-year senior, had battled inconsistency throughout his career, and the Wolfpack's offensive production had dropped significantly in the last four games. Coach Chuck Amato decided to promote Stone after his two-TD day in last week's loss to Wake Forest in hopes of finding an offensive spark.

It turned out that the spark came from the freshman who wasn't listed on the two-deep depth chart at running back and had played only 28 offensive snaps this season.

Brown broke loose for a 41-yard run early in the second quarter, finishing the first half with 96 yards on just 10 carries. Brown capped an 80-yard drive by spinning into the end zone from 8 yards out to make it 14-7 late in the third period.

Two possessions later, Brown bounced off two tacklers near the line of scrimmage and sprinted to the right sideline for a 61-yard touchdown that made it 17-14 with 13:14 left. The carry made Brown the first Wolfpack running back to crack the 200-yard mark in seven years.

All this from a player who had run for 42 yards on 13 carries this season.

Brown's big day allowed the Wolfpack to stay in it despite a horrible start from Stone and his teammates. Stone went 1-for-9 with two interceptions to start the game, and freshman running back Toney Baker fumbled away Stone's 17-yard completion - the second of four first-half turnovers.

But Stone finally settled down, going 4-for-6 on the Wolfpack's first touchdown drive and finding Brian Clark alone in the end zone for 3-yard score and a 21-17 lead. He finished 10-for-26 for 128 yards.

The Wolfpack defense, however, was stout from the start. Mario Williams had three sacks, just part of N.C. State's constant harassment of Dustin Almond as the quarterback tried to find receivers downfield.

Southern Miss came in averaging nearly 35 points per game, but had to work for every one of its 262 total yards. The Golden Eagles then committed their only turnover when Jasper Faulk muffed a punt with Southern Miss trailing 21-17 with 2:32 left.

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