TAMPA, Fla. – Both the NC State offense and defense came out and dominated first half action, as the Pack cruised past USF for a 49-17 road win at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Wolfpack raced to a 35-7 halftime lead, and finished with 589 yards of total offense including 315 on the ground (most since 1994).
WOLFPACK DRIVE OF THE GAME – 1ST HALF
7 plays, 88 yard TD drive to open the game.
Hard to play favorites when NC State had five first half TD drives, but the Pack’s opening series march down the field set the tone for the game. After holding USF to 17 yards on their opening drive, the Wolfpack took the ensuing punt and went 88 yards in seven plays over 2:50 to get on the scoreboard first for the first time this season.
Bra’Lon Cherry capped the drive with his first of three TDs on the day, as he took the read-option handoff for a 17 yards rushing score. On the opening series, the balanced offensive attach put up both 49 yards rushing and 49 yards passing.Tony Creecy had three rushes for 32 yards, while Jacoby Brissett was 2-of-3 for 49 yards, including a 42 catch and run by Bo Hines.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
• WR Bra’Lon Cherry: 3 catches for 50 yards and 1 TD – 2 rushes for 20 yards and 2 TDs
The first three times he touched the ball on offense, sophomore Bra’Lon Cherry found himself in the Pack’s end zone. On the opening drive, Cherry rushed for a 17-yard TD, the next drive was finished with a 17-yard TD reception, and the third drive was another Cherry rushing TD. In the season opener, he caught two TD passes in the win over Georgia Southern.
– NC State’s 1st half defense – Held USF to just 94 yards, only two coming after the first two drives.
– QB Jacoby Brissett (20-of-29 for 266 yards and 2 Tds)
– NC State’s offensive line – Pack rushing attack had 315 yards (most since 1994) and five scores on the ground.
• NC State has started the season 3-0 for the first time since the 2010 season (4-0).
• The Pack’s 35 points in the first half were the most for an NC State team on the road since scoring 38 at Navy in 2002. The 49 points scored were the most in a road game since scoring 51 at Texas Tech in 2002.
• USF posted 92 yards of offense on their first two drives, including a 75-yard score. But on the Bull’s final five drives of the first half the Pack defense held them to just two total yards.
• The Pack finished with five rushing scores on the day, the most in a road contest since having six at Texas Tech in 2002.
• QB Jacoby led nine Wolfpack drives before giving way to back-up Garrett Leatham in the middle of the third quarter – he later returned late in the third quarter. In those first nine drives of the game, the Pack scored seven TDs, punted once, and ran two plays before the end of the first half.
• The Pack’s 315 yards rushing were the most for an NC State team since 1994 against Maryland (327).
• For the second straight game, NC State rushed for over 200 yards – the first time in back-to-back games since early in 2012. Today, the Pack rushed for 315 yards after posting 242 on the ground last week against ODU.
NC State returns to home action next weekend, as the Wolfpack will host Presbyterian Saturday at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.
It Looks Like NC State Center Dylan McMahon Will Not be Returning in ‘24
NC State redshirt Junior Center Dylan McMahon was honored on Senior night, but walking on Senior Night doesn’t guarantee that the player won’t return for another season if they are eligible. It has been unknown at this point if McMahon would return for a final season in Raleigh, or enter the 2024 NFL Draft.
It looks like McMahon will be heading to the NFL, after accepting the invitation to play in the 2024 East-West Shrine Bowl.
McMahon is a 4-year starter at NC State, starting in 43 of the 48 games he has played in. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. ranks McMahon as the #9 Center in the 2024 NFL Draft.
McMahon was a 3-star prospect in NC State’s 2019 recruiting class out of Savannah, Georgia.
Breaking Down NC State’s Assistant Coach Salaries
USAToday runs a report every year on the salaries of Head Football Coaches, Assistant Coaches and Strength Coaches. Here’s a look at the salaries of NC State’s Assistant Coaching staff.
Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers – Tony Gibson – $1.3 million
Offensive Coordinator/Inside Wide Receivers/Tight Ends – Robert Anae – $899,000
Running Backs/Special Teams Coordinator – $548,473
Offensive Line – Garrett Tujague – $520,000
Defensive Line Charley Wiles – $490,023
Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers – $482,966
Safeties – Joe Deforest – $430,459
Quarterbacks – Kurt Roper – $430,459
Cornerbacks – Brian Mitchell – $417,205
Nickels – Freddie Aughtry-Lindsay – $330,644
NC State ranks 4th in the ACC in total pay of Assistant Coaches. Tony Gibson is the 2nd highest paid assistant Coach in the ACC (28th overall), and the highest paid Defensive Coordinator. Robert Anae is the 4th highest paid Offensive Coordinator in the ACC, and the 7th highest paid Assistant.
With 9 wins, in accordance with Head Coach Dave Doeren’s contract, the salary pool for Assistant Coaches increases by $300,000. If the Pack wins a 10th game, that number becomes $400,000. (WRAL)
NC State Wants Pop Tarts
NC State wants Pop Tarts. Who doesn’t?
According to Brad Crawford of 247Sports, NC State has requested the Pop Tarts Bowl, which will be played on December 28th in Orlando, Florida.
You might be like, I’ve never heard of the Pop-Tarts bowl. That’s because this is the first rendition of the Pop Tarts Bowl, but it used to go by other names you might be familiar with: Cheez-It, Camping World, Russell Athletic, Champs Sports, Tangerine, Micron PC, Carquest, and Blockbuster (the last three were when the bowl was in Miami).
Below is an updated list of 15 bowl projections, with 12 of the 15 picking NC State to go to the Pop-Tarts Bowl.
(The three above the line have changed their projections since my last bowl projections post on 11/28.)
The Athletic – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Kansas State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
CBS Sports – Pop-Tarts Bowl vs. Oklahoma State – January 1st – Tampa, FLA
College Football News – Pop Tarts Bowl vs. Kansas State – December 29th – Jacksonville, FLA
OddShark – Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl – NC State vs. Rutgers – December 28th – New York City, New York
Covers.com – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Oklahoma – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
USA Today – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Oklahoma State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
247Sports – Pop-Tarts Bowl vs. Kansas State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
Athlon – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Kansas State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
ESPN – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Oklahoma State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
ESPN – Gator Bowl – NC State vs. Tennessee – December 29th – Jacksonville, FLA
Sporting News – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Oklahoma – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
Fox Sports – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Oklahoma State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
Action Network – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Kansas State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
College Football Network – Sun Bowl – NC State vs. USC – December 29th, El Paso, TX
Betting Pros – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Kansas State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
NC State to Have an In-Home Visit with Coastal Carolina Transfer QB Grayson McCall
According to ON3, NC State is set to make an in-home visit with Coastal Carolina Transfer Quarterback Grayson McCall this weekend.
McCall was the Sun Belt Player of the year in 2000, 2021 and 2022. He didn’t play the final 5 games of the season due to injury this year, and prior to injury, the numbers weren’t on par with prior years. It was also his first year with Tim Beck as Coastal’s head coach.
After last season, McCall entered the Transfer Portal, and there was speculation that he would transfer to Auburn. In the end, McCall pulled his name out of the portal.
I was interested to see how the Wolfpack coaches would fill the QB void. Would you go get a 4 or 5 star Quarterback who has been stuck in a backup roll with numerous years of eligibility, or would they go get an elite graduate transfer with one year remaining?
McCall is one of the Top-7 Quarterbacks that have entered the Portal thus far.