Wake Forest defeated NC State 27-23 to hand the Wolfpack its third loss in four games.
The Pack offense look uncharacteristic, dropping passes and limiting itself to three field goals and two touchdowns.
"I take responsibility anytime my team doesn't play the way that it can, and I do," said head coach Dave Doeren. "We had a lot of opportunities and there is a lot of things that happened throughout the course of the game that led to the result. There is a lot of critical downs in the red zone where we didn't get touchdowns for a variety of reasons. Settled for three field goals. We had some drops that were very uncharacteristic of guys on our team that cost us points or first down.
We didn't win the line of scrimmage, offensive line against their defensive line. They did a nice job with their scheme and we didn't adjust well enough," Doeren added,
Wake's Jamie Newman, making his first career start, threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Jack Freudenthal with 30 seconds left to give Wake Forest the upset victory.
"It's just about staying poised, honestly," Newman said. "Staying poised and being smart, not letting the moment get too big for you."
Newman was 22 of 33 for 297 yards with three touchdown passes in the second half to help the Demon Deacons (5-5, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) rally from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. The 19 1/2-point underdogs earned their first road victory over a Top 25 team in a decade.
Senior night for the pack pic.twitter.com/MqQVgsYZIG— Bridget Condon (@BridgetABC11) November 9, 2018
For the Wolfpack, it was a bitter pill after losing in similar fashion against the Demon Deacons last year in Winston-Salem.
"I thought we played in the first half on defense pretty well and then the second half - particularly in the fourth quarter - gave up some explosive plays," Doeren said. "The last play, we were on a blitz and had a bust. We had a safety there to tackle it and he ran into somebody. Disappointing. Very disappointing. I thought we prepared well, but you get in the red zone as many times as we did in the first half and only get 13 points and you can't put the game away when you had the chance there at the end, gotta make some plays there, and obviously have to do a better job giving our guys a chance to make those plays. I own that."
After a big win over Florida State last Saturday, N.C. State failed to keep its momentum rolling.
The loss put a damper on Senior Night and the added festivities surrounding the honoring of former star Bradley Chubb's jersey.
"I don't know exactly if it is that or was it Senior Night for some of those guys or was it something else?" Doeren said. "I definitely don't think offensively we were crisp in the first half. What was the exact reason for that? I'm not sure. Was it the talk of what they could end up being? Was it the talk of seniors and three offensive linemen being seniors and being emotional at the beginning of the game? I'm not sure."
Wolfpack quarterback Ryan Finley finished 35 of 52 for 374 yards with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Emeka Emezie and a 2-yard touchdown run for the Wolfpack (6-3, 3-3, No. 14 CFP). The pass to Emezie put them up 23-13 one play into the fourth quarter.
After losing three of four to fall out of contention in the Atlantic Division, they'll only reach their goal of the school's first 10-win season since 2002 if they win out and win their bowl game.
But this loss eliminates State's chances of playing in a New Year's bowl game and snaps its win streak at Carter-Finley.
Luckily for State, it has nine days to prepare for next Saturday at Louisville.