North Carolina State's defense rose to the occasion Saturday when the Wolfpack built a three-touchdown lead, then held off Central Florida for a 28-21 victory.
Central Florida came on stronger in the second half and outgained N.C. State 308 yards to 239 for the game. The Knights held highly regarded Wolfpack quarterback Russell Wilson to just 10 completions and 105 yards in 30 attempts. He ran 13 times for 35 yards.
N.C. State (2-0) led 21-7 at halftime, scoring on a 7-yard run by Dean Haynes, a 26-yard pass from Russell Wilson to Darrell Davis and a 21-yard run by Mustafa Greene. The Wolfpack outgained the Knights 174 yards to 108 in the first half, but UCF found some rhythm after that.
Quincy McDuffie got UCF (1-1) on the board with a 93-yard kickoff return in the second quarter.
N.C. State's C.J. Wilson intercepted a Rob Calabrese pass and returned it 43 yards to make it 28-7 in the third quarter. Central Florida cut it to 28-14 when freshman quarterback Jeff Godfrey, who relieved Calabrese in the fourth quarter, scored from the 6-yard line to cap a 55-yard drive.
Godfrey scored from the 1 to get UCF within a touchdown at 4:29 in the fourth quarter. The 75-yard drive included three Godfrey completions for 64 yards. He finished with 107 yards on 7-of-10 passing and ran 10 times for 53 yards and two touchdowns.
N.C. State, trying to rebound from a 5-7 record in 2009, gained some revenge for a 25-23 season-opening loss to the Knights in 2007.