Wake Forest had lost seven straight ACC games and 11 in a row to conference teams outside of Duke before Saturday.
A visit from N.C. State changed all that. The Demon Deacons continued their recent home dominance of the Wolfpack with a 34-27 win at BB&T Field.
There was a late rally and scare by the Wolfpack but Wake held on for its fifth straight win against the Wolfpack in Winston-Salem and seventh in eight games. Sophomore quarterback Tanner Price threw for 297 yards and receiver Danny Dembry scored two touchdowns for the Demon Deacons, who rebounded from an overtime loss to Syracuse in the season-opener.
In his second college start, State quarterback Mike Glennon flashed the arm strength and talent that has impressed his coaching staff, with 315 yards and three touchdowns, but it wasn't enough to offset a slipshod defensive effort by the Wolfpack, which has lost 11 straight Atlantic Division road games under coach Tom O'Brien.
Price carved up State's secondary with six passes to Chris Givens (for 111 yards), five to Michael Campanaro (93 yards and a touchdown) and six to Danny Dembry (96 yards). Campanaro found Dembry for a touchdown on a reverse pass in the first half.
Wake led 17-3 and 27-6 before State stopped punishing itself and found a gear on offense.
To start the second half, State had its first drive derailed by a chop block and a dropped pass, the second drive ended with an interception in Wake territory (which set up a 15-yard touchdown run Josh Harris) and then the Pack had a 100-yard kickoff return by T.J. Graham negated by a block in the back.
Glennon found tight end George Bryan for the Pack's first touchdown, a 19-yard connection at 1:47 in the third quarter. Wake came right back with a three-play drive, highlighted by a 41-yard reception by Givens, and capped by a 10-yard reverse by Dembry, for a 34-13 lead.
Glennon answered on the next snap with a 65-yard touchdown pass to receiver Tobais Palmer, a throw which covered about 50 yards in the air, to make it 34-20 with 11 seconds left in the third quarter.
But after a Brandan Bishop interception with 5:56 left, Wake's defense gave up a 63-yard touchdown pass from Glennon to Graham.
State's defense came up with a stop and gave the ball back to Glennon on State's 34 with 3:26 left. The Pack got a first down, on a pass interference call, and moved down to Wake's 38-yard line but Bryan dropped a third-down pass and Glennon couldn't connect with Graham on fourth down.
The Deacs could not have started the game any better. Price hit his first eight passes, including a 31-yard touchdown to Campanaro on the first drive. Campanaro ran through an Earl Wolff tackle, then around three would-be tacklers at the 5-yard line, for the 7-0 advantage.
Jimmy Newman hit a 32-yard field goal on the Deacs' second drive to make it 10-0. After the first of Niklas Sade's two field goals, Wake coach Jim Grobe dug into the playbook for reverse pass. Campanaro pulled up off a reverse and hit a wide-open -- by a good 15 yards -- Dembry for a 40-yard touchdown.
State responded with Sade's second field goal, this one from 37 yards, and Price moved the Wake offense into State territory but had to settle for a 37-yard field by Newman for the 20-6 halftime advantage.
Price, who missed most of the fourth quarter of Wake's season-opening loss at Syracuse, looked poise and comfortable, showing no signs of a the knee injury he suffered late against the Orange. He completed 17 of 25 passes in the first half for 223 yards -- more than he had in 11 games last season.
While Price exploited State's blitzes and worked the soft middle of State's zone, Glennon was trying get State's passing game going. He completed 7 of 12 passes in the first half, for 52 yards, but didn't have enough time -- or as much room in the secondary -- to match Price's hot start.