ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- North Carolina State capitalized on five turnovers, including a 43-yard interception return by C.J. Wilson, to beat Central Florida 28-21 on Saturday night.
N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson completed 10 of 30 passes for 105 yards and touchdown, and running back Mustafa Greene added 55 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown as the Wolfpack improved to 2-0 for the first time in Tom O'Brien's tenure as coach.
UCF (1-1) got a sterling performance from true freshman quarterback Jeff Godfrey, who came off the bench in the middle of the third quarter to ring up 160 yards total offense and score twice. His 1-yard sprint around the end cut the Knights' deficit to 28-21 with 4:29 left in the game.
UCF got the ball back with 2:47 left. Godfrey completed a 21-yard pass to Quincy McDuffie at the N.C. State 11, but the Knights receiver fumbled when he was hit by safety Brandan Bishop. Wolfpack linebacker Terrell Manning fell on the ball, and N.C. State ran out the clock.
Two of the turnovers, an interception return and fumble recovery, came in the first half and helped N.C. State jump out to a 21-0 lead.
Sophomore Earl Wolff picked off a pass from UCF starting quarterback Rob Calabrese and returned it 31 yards to give the Wolfpack possession at the UCF 42. Eight plays later, redshirt freshman Dean Haynes burst up the middle from 4 yards out to make it 7-0.
Russell Wilson hit four straight passes for 47 yards on the next N.C. State possession, including a 26-yard scoring pass to Darrell Davis. Wilson drew the UCF defense into the middle of the field with a pump fake, then lobbed a perfect strike to a wide open Davis in the right corner of the end zone.
UCF's special teams handed N.C. State another scoring opportunity when blocking back Latavius Murray allowed a punt to bounce off his shin and Wolfpack safety Corey Tedder fell on it at the Knights 20-yard line. On third-and-11, Greene took a draw play 21 yards up the middle for the touchdown that made it 21-0 with 3:26 left in the half.
McDuffie returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for the Knights' lone score of the first half. McDuffie, a Florida high school state champion sprinter, made a sharp cut in the middle of traffic and easily outran the Wolfpack defenders to cut the deficit to 21-7.
Midway through the third quarter, Calabrese badly overthrew Brian Watters and the ball floated right into Wilson's hands. The Wolfpack cornerback avoided Watters, then ran down the sideline behind a wall of blockers to score easily and make it 28-7.