• 36°

Blocked field goal helps NC State hold off No. 21 Liberty 15-14

By AARON BEARD

AP Sports Writer

RALEIGH (AP) — North Carolina State blocked Alex Barbir’s 39-yard field goal attempt with 1:18 left to beat No. 21 Liberty 15-14 on Saturday night, handing the Flames their first loss this season.

Liberty (8-1) was trying to earn a third win against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent this year, all on the road. The Flames had their shot to extend the best start in program history, too, putting together a drive to give Barbir — who had kicked a 51-yard field goal to beat Virginia Tech earlier this season — a shot at the lead.

But Vi Jones deflected the kick to set off a celebration for the Wolfpack (6-3), who moved the chains once more to run out the clock and seal a win on a tough night for both offenses.

Zonovan Knight ran for two touchdowns to lead N.C. State, including the go-ahead 4-yard score with 6:53 left. That play was set up by a diving interception from true freshman reserve Aydan White.

Knight also had a first-half touchdown run and ran for 96 yards on the night, while Ricky Person Jr. added 83 yards — part of a 167-yard rushing effort that largely had to carry the Wolfpack’s offense with Bailey Hockman getting nothing going consistently in the passing game.

Malik Willis threw for 172 yards and two touchdowns for Liberty but had three interceptions, two coming in the fourth quarter. He also ran for 44 yards as the Flames managed just 279 total yards.

THE TAKEAWAY

Liberty: The Flames arrived seeking to follow up road wins against Syracuse and Virginia Tech, which had marked the football independent’s first victories against ACC teams after losing their first eight matchups. They had a big touchdown right before halftime after falling behind, then gave themselves a shot at the end only to see the Wolfpack come up with another fourth-quarter stop at a key moment.

N.C. State: That’s two wins in a row for the Wolfpack, who beat Florida State last weekend after a lopsided loss at rival North Carolina and a shootout loss to No. 12 Miami. N.C. State won despite having 14 penalties for 123 yards.

UP NEXT

Liberty: The Flames return home to host Massachusetts on Friday.
N.C. State: Syracuse hosts the Wolfpack in ACC play next Saturday.

___

More AP college football: http://apnews.com/Collegefootball and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

___

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

Comments

China Grove

China Grove Town Council names representatives to Metropolitan Planning Organization

Crime

Police: Salisbury woman charged after officers witness drug transaction

Coronavirus

County reports 69 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Crime

Salisbury woman charged in fatal hit-and-run accident

Local

Charity provides vests for K-9s

Local

Rowan’s Sen. Ford ‘honored’ to be chosen as joint caucus leader

Local

City council approves six road repaving projects, encourages input on development priorities

Business

State names Rowan among most economically distressed counties

High School

High school volleyball: South Rowan wins another CCC match

Education

Catawba College’s Service of Lessons and Carols moves virtual

Local

Spencer’s Park Plaza financing gets OK from state’s Local Government Commission

Education

Kannapolis City Schools to hold public hearing on construction equity policy

Local

Drivers identified in I-85 double vehicle crash, fire

Local

Driver cited in two-vehicle Mooresville Road collision

Crime

Tractor stolen from Ritchie Road

Coronavirus

North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd tests positive for COVID-19

Crime

Blotter: Vehicles broken into overnight at Marriott, Comfort Suites hotels

Coronavirus

County reports two new COVID-19 deaths, two weeks of 50-case daily increases

Local

Red wolves have been busy growing up at Dan Nicholas Park

Local

Salisbury City Council to consider contract for street paving

Education

Catawba College honors employees for length of service

High School

High school football: Clay hopes for big senior season

Local

Helen, Ralph Brown contribute to Christmas Happiness to help people in need

Cleveland

Cleveland Police charge woman with attempted murder after Sunday night shooting