Florida State takes on North Carolina state this Thursday night on ESPN. NC State sits at 5-2 on the season. Let's have a look at how the pack has played in its games to date. I'll have my thoughts on where I feel NC State is later in the week, but it is interesting to watch the 'Pack's progression. I have re-published the reactions I had to each game at the time it was played. Hopefully this will give you a better feel for how the team has progressed.
All game charts are non-garbage time only.
I will not address the UCF game because NC State was missing some key players who were out with injury. NC State won an ugly game that featured a 14-yard punt.
BackingThePack has a nice recap. Sloppy game but NC State has some talent and isn't wildly injured like it was last season. Out-gaining Cinci by 61% is quite impressive.
- NC State has been an incredibly tough team to judge because of ridiculous injury luck over the past two seasons. That said, they are playing pretty well right now and out-gained GTech by almost 20% per play in Atlanta. Russel Wilson had passes of 20+ yards to nine different receivers. Coming into the year I pegged NC STate as a 6-6 team (3-5 ACC), writing:
NC State: It's likely State fans will look back on this era and wonder what could have been. What if the Wolfpack didn't suffer more injuries than any program in the country? Injuries have really hurt this program in recent years. The offense should again be potent with Wilson and a lot of talent at receiver. If the offensive line can just be average the pack might be able to run the ball to take pressure off him. The defense, however, has major questions and was downright awful last season. The depth along the defensive line is good, but it lacks proven players. The linebackers aren't a terrible group, but how much Nate Irving will contribute is unknown. The secondary is a mess and will likely be the Achilles heel of this team.
NC State had so many unknowns coming into the year because of the new faces, JUCO transfers, and injuries.
- What we know: NC State has lit up two bad defenses in GTech and Cincinnati and looked awful at a decent defense in UCF. Still, this is unquestionably a good offense and it has some very nice skill guys. The offensive line is holding up and they even have a running game! The defensive line is deep and working well as a unit without any superstars. Linebacker Nate Irving has come back and looks almost like he did when he would have been an early-round choice after 2008 (Irving had the car crash in 2009).
- Still waiting: The secondary has faced two awful and one below average passing teams in Georgia Tech, UCF, and Cincinnati. This is a major issue for the 'Pack and the schedule has helped NCST so far in this regard. Can Ponder pick these guys apart again?
- NC State takes on Virginia Tech this weekend. A Hokie win would help VT's hopes for the Coastal Division, which is good for FSU because FSU matches up better with VT than it does Miami (thinking potential ACCCG here).
"NC State > GT +17.4. EqPts: NC St 35.5, GT 20.1. T/O Pts: NC St +2.0. We loved Russell Wilson in the preseason...and love him more now. DOMINANCE"
Welcome back, 2009 NC State defense! Virginia Tech out-gained a very good Wolfpack offense by 16%, racking up 300 yards rushing in non-garbage time. Field position edge also to VT. State got exposed on defense and now must try to shore that up. Luckily for them, BC's putrid offense is up next.
Virginia Tech 41, NC State 30 - Backing The Pack
A big second half propels Virginia Tech to victory. Good read here.
Virginia Tech 41, NC State 30: Postgame Stream of Consciousness - Gobbler Country
Virginia Tech spotted NC State 17 points before coming back to stay undefeated in ACC play. Good thoughts here.
Out-gaining BC by 63% per play is a dominant effort. BC's offense is pretty much a joke at this point and it is really, really poorly coached. On the flip side, BC is still playing very good defense. 5.2 per play on the road to a very good NC State offense is a very nice game.
"NC State > Boston College +11.2. EqPts: NC St 23.3, BC 13.8. T/O Pts: NC St +1.7. Could've been much closer...BC's stumbling over selves. "
NC State wasn't unlucky in losing this game. The 'Pack deserved to lose. Each team had 4 turnovers, but ECU out-gained NC State by 12%. ECU has a nice little offense, but NC State's defense is not very good.
Backing The Pack - For N.C. State Wolfpack Fans
Sweet Jesus I'm starting to feel like throwing cuddly, precious bunnies out of a window again. Saturday was death by a thousand tiny cuts, the cuts in this case being all of those quick throws to the perimeter by East Carolina. My comment: NC State is struggling with quick throws to the perimeter? Ponder likes.