Wolfpack overwhelms Citadel, 52-14

N.C. State's Rashard Smith (2) runs for a 73-yard touchdown on a punt return during the first half of a NCAA college football game against The Citadel Saturday, September 22, 2012, at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C.

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Citadel’s football team has made some history already this season, but the Bulldogs will have to wait for their first victory over an Atlantic Coast Conference foe.

North Carolina State’s superior speed overwhelmed The Citadel on Saturday night at Carter-Finley Stadium, carrying the Wolfpack to a 52-14 victory before a sellout crowd of 55,145.

N.C. State (3-1) had plays of 44, 43 and 73 yards in the first half alone, converting two Citadel turnovers into touchdowns and sprinting to a 42-7 lead by halftime.

The 3-1 Bulldogs, ranked No. 10 in the Football Championship Subdivision, will take home a check for $375,000 and return to the business of trying to win their first Southern Conference title since 1992.

Aside from that check, The Citadel got another bit of good news when all-SoCon defensive tackle Derek Douglas returned to action against N.C. State. Douglas suffered a knee injury (torn ACL) in spring practice, and missed the first three games this season.

The Citadel already has defeated two SoCon preseason favorites in Georgia Southern and Appalachian State, and hosts Chattanooga next Saturday at Johnson Hagood Stadium.

The Bulldogs entered Saturday’s game with an 0-27 mark against ACC teams, and learned again that speed (along with size, scholarships and resources) is one of the advantages FBS teams hold over their FCS brethren.

Pack receiver Tobias Palmer served early notice by racing 44 yards with a reverse to set up N.C. State’s first TD, and quarterback Mike Glennon’s 43-yard pass to Quintin Taylor set up the second score. Rashard Smith made the rout official with a 73-yard punt return for a 35-7 lead late in the half.

The Bulldogs were hanging in there at 7-7 late in the first quarter, after fullback Darien Robinson popped a 65-yard touchdown run, this third long TD run of the season.

But Citadel turnovers on two straight possessions helped N.C. State break the game wide open.

After Bulldogs slotback Van Dyke Jones mishandled a pitchout at his own 24, Glennon found Bryan Underwood on a crossing route. Underwood picked up a block, split two defenders and vaulted into the end zone for a TD and a 21-7 lead.

On the Bulldogs’ next series, N.C. State All-America cornerback David Amerson lived up to his hype. Greg Adams got a step on Amerson, and Aaron Miller’s deep ball was perfectly thrown. But Amerson, a 6-3, 194-pound junior, climbed up over the 5-9 Adams and picked off the pass, his 16th career interception tying the N.C. State record.

Glennon converted that turnover into a 2-yard TD run and a 28-7 lead. Glennon was pushed into the end zone by his teammates for a 1-yard score as the half ended to make it 42-7.

The Citadel used an N.C. State fumble to score in the third quarter, Rah Muhammad recovering a wayward lateral at the Pack 28. Freshman slotback Vinny Miller scored from 15 yards out to cut the margin to 42-14.