RALEIGH — Everything that went wrong for N.C. State against Virginia last week, went right against Wake Forest on Saturday.
The Wolfpack found its running game and defense to refocus after a disastrous loss to Virginia for a 37-6 win over the Demon Deacons.
With 110 rushing yards for freshman Shadrach Thornton, N.C. State (6-4) clinched a bowl bid third straight year and fourth time in five years.
The Demon Deacons (5-5) fell to .500, and lost in Raleigh for the 13th time in 14 years.
N.C. State's defense, gashed by Virginia in a 33-6 home loss last Saturday, held the Demon Deacons to 185 yards of total offense and 16 rushing yards on 23 attempts.
Only a trick play, a touchdown pass by receiver Michael Campanaro kept the Deacs, who close the season with No. 4 Notre Dame and Vanderbilt, from getting shutout. Apropos of Wake's day, Chad Hedlund missed the extra point.
The "first quarter rule" held true to form for N.C. State, which led 17-0 after the first 15 minutes. The Wolfpack is 6-0 this season when it gives up 7 points or less in the first quarter, and 0-4 when it gives up more.
Quarterback Mike Glennon threw for a touchdown and Tony Creecy rushed for one in the first quarter. Kicker Niklas Sade added a 38-yard field goal.
The Pack, which improved to 3-0 against Atlantic Division, made a concerted effort to run the ball after it gained a season-low 19 last week against Virginia.
Thornton carried 27 times for 110 yards, his second 100-yard game of the season and first for the Wolfpack since the Miami game on Sept. 29.
The Deacs' offense couldn't get anything going. In the first half, they ran 36 plays. Campanaro's touchdown pass to Terence Davis covered 39 yards, and cut State's lead to 17-6. But Wake could only muster 84 yards on their other 35 first-half plays.
Wake quarterback Tanner Price finished 18-of-33 for 113 yards with one interception and was sacked five times.
Tobais Palmer returned the second-half kickoff 100 yards to extend N.C. State's halftime lead to 24-6.
Glennon (25-41, 258 yards) found tight end Asa Watson for his second touchdown pass, a 26-yarder in the third quarter.
Sade added field goals of 49 and 35 yards in the second half to pad State's lead.
The Pack's defense rose the challenge of stopping Campanaro. The ACC's leader in receptions per game, caught five passes for 14 yards.