RALEIGH – N.C. State welcomed back a quarterback who transferred out and offered an encouraging glimpse of another who transferred in.
Jacoby Brissett threw two long touchdown passes to Bryan Underwood in his first public performance as the Wolfpack’s starter, a 34-0 victory by his Red team Saturday in N.C. State’s spring game.
Tony Creecy rushed for two touchdowns for a Red team with the starting offense and defense.
Brissett, a transfer from Florida, was 24-of-37 for 365 yards with TDs to Underwood covering 36 and 72 yards with an interception.
“Some years, you know who your starting quarterback is. Some years you don’t,” coach Dave Doeren said. “This year, we do, so I can focus my attention on certain (other) things. It’s his job to stay hungry, keep a chip on his shoulder and know that he’s got to do his job the right way.
“I don’t have to worry about who it is,” Doeren added, “but he still has to handle his end of the deal. He knows that, and he will.”
Brissett put on a show in front of a crowd that included Super Bowl winner Russell Wilson, a three-year starter who left in 2011 while pursuing a pro baseball career and ultimately landed at Wisconsin.
The Wolfpack unveiled a display with his name and No. 16 on the facade of Carter-Finley Stadium’s upper deck.
“I had to move on, but at the same time, this school will never leave me,” Wilson said. “I grew up here. I was a little puppy who continued to grow throughout the years.”
N.C. State isn’t expecting anything drastic yet from Brissett, who left Florida after falling behind Jeff Driskel on the depth chart in 2012. The first priority is simply winning an Atlantic Coast Conference game.In Doeren’s first year, the Wolfpack went 3-9 and lost all eight ACC of their games – their first winless league season since 1959.
“Any time you go through what we did, I call it walking hot coals,” Doeren said. “It’s hard on you, it scares you and I think we had a great offseason. ... A lot of guys got mentally tougher.”
And now they’re counting on Brissett, who has two years of eligibility left, to lead the turnaround.
“You’ve got a responsibility to the team through the whole summer,” Brissett said. “And you’ve just got to make sure that every day when you step into the stadium and outside, everybody knows why you’re the guy and make sure you carry yourself the right way.”
Brissett made up for his only real mistake – Germaine Pratt picked off his deep throw with 1:09 to go – by hitting a wide-open Underwood for a 36-yard scoring pass to make it 24-0 with 19 seconds remaining.
They hooked up again on the first play of the fourth quarter to put Red up by 31.
Underwood finished with three catches for 112 yards while freshman Bo Hines had 10 receptions for 132 yards.
Hines’ 60-yard catch-and-run to the 5 set up Creecy’s 1-yard scoring run on Red’s second possession. Creecy made it 14-0 on its next offensive series by running 14 yards up the middle for a touchdown.