NC State is looking forward to a huge opportunity on Saturday when they host the #1 ranked FSU Seminoles. The Pack is coming in at 4-0 and after escaping a near disaster against Georgia Southern they have been pretty dominant. State has scored over 40 points in each of their past 3 games and have only allowed 17 points combined over the last 2.
While these are all great numbers and show an ever-improving football team, they task at hand is in a different stratosphere. Florida State is a team stocked full of future NFL talent and will be State’s first time this season lining up against these type of players. The Seminoles will be returning starting QB Jameis Winston who was suspended last game for disciplinary reasons and the Pack needs to be ready. Let’s take a look at the keys to this matchup.
– Hit them in the mouth early, Keep the fans in the game
The beginning of this football game will be huge. State needs to come out of the gate and punch the Noles in the mouth if they want a chance to win this game. They’re not going to be able to tire, or grind one out against this team. They are too talented and have too many elite weapons for that. But that’s not going to be easy. State has started pretty slow in all 3 of their games thus far. If they are able to come out and make some big plays then they can keep their fans in the game. This is important because Florida State doesn’t necessarily have a great track record at Carter-Finley Stadium. It was only 2 years ago that the Wolfpack took them down in a game that squashed their national title hopes. If the fans can get under their skin early on, then maybe the memories of two years ago will creep into the back of the Seminoles players’ minds.
“[Carter-Finley Stadium] is definitely wild. It’s always packed and the stands are right by the sidelines, so they’re right in your ear every second of the game,” Williams said. “It’s a great atmosphere. You have to be focused and locked in to succeed.” said FSU junior CB PJ Williams.
– Put pressure on their defense.
While this team is currently ranked #1, they aren’t exactly the juggernaut they were last season. This year’s FSU team still has great playmakers, however defense and consistency have already plauged them a bit at times. They narrowly escaped a Clemson team that did everything they could to throw that game away and they also were in a tight one against Ok State in their opener. The Noles gave up 31 points in that one and only won by 6. So this team is not invincible by any means, but they are talented and they are going to come to play. State will definitely need to take shots downfield and play to win this game. It’s going to take 2 or 3 big plays to come out on top here, so pulling out all the stops and opening up the playbook will be necessary.
-Brissett must come up big
We’ve already seen what this kid can do, but now we’ll have to see how he handles this type of pressure. He’s putting up pretty gaudy numbers thus far and has yet to throw a interception, but FSU is nothing like Presbyterian or South Florida. They are going to try to rattle Brissett with pressure, so Jacoby’s ability to get outside the pocket and makes plays with his arm or his feet will be paramount if State wants to shock the world on Saturday.
-Establish the pass?
Doeren has been trying to establish the run early in games this season, and while the ground game has been strong overall it has also been a reason we feel that State has started off slowly in the first 3 games. That doesn’t matter much when you’re playing smaller teams that are offensively challenged, but against FSU the Pack must be pedal to the metal from the opening kick. Opening it up for Brissett early and allowing him to make plays from the get-go could knock the Noles on their heels and allow State to get some much needed early momentum. Now, we’re not saying Thornton and Dayes shouldn’t be getting their touches. In fact, these two guys having big games is a necessity on Saturday, but if they can spread FSU out early on, they’ll be able to find more running room as the game wears on. Keep in mind, FSU gave up over 400 yards to Clemson, most of which came in the air.
-Expose their injuries
FSU had already been underachieving on defense this season, but to make matters worse they’ve lost defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr to a concussion and DT Nile Lawrence-Stample to a season ending pectoral muscle tear (both against Clemson). While they’ll likely bring a few 5 stars in to take their place, they obviously won’t be at full strength which could allow Brissett more time in the pocket and allow the backs a little more running room. State needs to take advantage of this.
Easier said than done, but do note that FSU hasn’t had a RB reach the 70yd mark in any game this season. They’re doing all their damage through the air, so it makes it a little easier to really key on the pass here. Winston is going to look to get going early and quiet his critics who have lined up in droves the past 2 weeks to question his maturity and leadership abilities. State will be hoping to take advantage of his eagerness and get a few early turnovers before he settles in.
and just for good measure…
7 NC State Players Make 2022 AP All-ACC Football Teams
The AP has released their 2022 All-ACC Teams, and 7 NC State Football players were honored, with 4 on the 1st Team, and 3 on the 2nd Team.
NC State Players on 1st Team
Senior Center Grant Gibson
Senior Place Kicker Chris Dunn
Junior Linebacker Drake Thomas
Sophomore Cornerback Aydan White
NC State Players on 2nd Team
Senior Offensive Guard Chandler Zavala
Senior Linebacker Isaiah Moore
Senior Safety Tanner Ingle
QB — Drake Maye, North Carolina, 6-4, 220, r-fr., Huntersville, North Carolina
RB — Israel Abanikanda, Pittsburgh, 5-11, 215, jr., New York, New York
RB — Will Shipley, Clemson, 5-11, 205, soph., Weddington, N.C.
WR — Josh Downs, North Carolina, 5-10, 175, jr., Suwanee, Georgia
WR — Zay Flowers, Boston College, 5-10, 172, sr., Fort Lauderdale, Florida
TE — Oronde Gadsden II, Syracuse, 6-5, 216, soph., Fort Lauderdale, Florida
OT — Jordan McFadden, Clemson, 6-2, 305, sr., Spartanburg, S.C.
OT — Graham Barton, Duke, 6-5, 311, jr., Brentwood, Texas
OG — Dillan Gibbons, Florida State, 6-5, 327, sr., Saint Petersburg, Florida
OG — Marcus Minor, Pittsburgh, 6-4, 325, sr., Lanham, Maryland
C — Grant Gibson, North Carolina State, 6-1, 310, grad., Charlotte, North Carolina
K — Chris Dunn, North Carolina State, 5-8, 170, grad., Lexington, North Carolina
All-purpose player — Will Shipley, Clemson
DE — Jared Verse, Florida State, 6-4, 251, soph., Berwick, Pennsylvania
DE — K.J. Henry, Clemson, 6-4, 255, grad., Winston-Salem, North Carolina
DT — Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh, 6-0, 280, jr., Miami
DT — Tyler Davis, Clemson, 6-2, 300, sr., Apopka, Florida
LB — Yasir Abdullah, Louisville, 6-1, 242, sr., Miramar, Fla.
LB — Drake Thomas, North Carolina State, 6-0, 230, jr., Wake Forest, North Carolina
LB — Cedric Gray, North Carolina, 6-2, 230, jr., Charlotte, North Carolina
CB — Aydan White, North Carolina State, 6-0, 185, soph., Asheville, North Carolina
CB — Anthony Johnson, Virginia, 6-2, 205, grad., Coconut Creek, Florida
S — Kam Kinchens, Miami, 5-11, 202, soph., Miami
S — Jammie Robinson, Florida State, 5-11, 203, jr., Cordele, Georgia
P — Lou Hedley, Miami, 6-4, 220, sr., Mandurah, Australia
QB — Jordan Travis, Florida State, 6-1, 212, jr., West Palm Beach, Florida
RB — Sean Tucker, Syracuse, 5-10, 210, soph., Owings Mills, Maryland
RB — Trey Benson, Florida State, 6-1, 215, soph., Greenville, Mississippi
WR — A.T. Perry, Wake Forest, 6-5, 205, jr., Lake Worth, Florida
WR — Tyler Hudson, Louisville, 6-2, 195, sr., Spring, Texas
TE — Will Mallory, Miami, 6-5, 245, sr., Jacksonville, Florida
OT — Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse, 6-5, 322, jr., Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada
OT — Robert Scott Jr., Florida State, 6-5, 334, soph., Conway, Arkansas
OG — Chandler Zavala, North Carolina State, 6-5, 325, grad., Boynton Beach, Florida
OG — Sean Maginn, Wake Forest, 6-3, 304, sr., Suwanee, Georgia
C — Bryan Hudson, Louisville, 6-4, 301, r-jr., Georgetown, Kentucky
K — B.T. Potter, Clemson, 5-10, 200, grad., Rock Hill, South Carolina
All-purpose player — Jalon Calhoun, Duke, 5-11, 189, sr., Greenville, South Carollina
DE — Myles Murphy, Clemson, 6-5, 275, jr., Marietta, Georgia
DE — Donovan Ezeiruaku, Boston College, 6-2, 236, so., Williamstown, New Jersey
DT — DeWayne Carter, Duke, 6-3, 298, r-jr., Pickerington, Ohio
DT — Kobie Turner, Wake Forest, 6-3, 290, sr., Clifton, Virginia
LB — SirVocea Dennis, Pittsburgh, 6-1, 230, sr., Syracuse, New York
LB — Mikel Jones, Syracuse, 6-1, 224, jr., Miami, Florida
LB — Nick Jackson, Virginia, 6-1, 234, sr., Atlanta
LB — Ayinde Eley, Georgia Tech, 6-3, 233, sr., Olney, Maryland
LB — Isaiah Moore, North Carolina State, 6-2, 232, grad., Chester, Virginia
LB — Charlie Thomas, Georgia Tech, 6-2, 207, sr., Thomasville, Georgia
CB — Fentrell Cypress II, Virginia, 6-0, 184, jr., Rock Hill, South Carolina
CB — Storm Duck, North Carolina, 6-0, 200, jr., Boiling Springs, South Carolina
S — Erick Hallett II, 5-11, 190, sr., Cypress, Texas
S — Tanner Ingle, North Carolina State, 5-10, 186, sr., Orlando, Florida
P — Daniel Sparks, Virginia, 6-6, 203, jr., Gadsden, Alabama
Coach of the Year — Mike Elko, Duke
Offensive Player of the Year — Drake Maye, North Carolina
Defensive Player of the Year — Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh
Newcomer of the Year — Jared Verse, Florida State (AP)
Devin Leary’s Legacy at NC State
Earlier today news broke that Wolfpack Redshirt Junior Quarterback Devin Leary was entering his name into Transfer Portal. As a result, I wanted to take some time to highlight the legacy that Leary leaves at NC State.
Even though Leary played 4 seasons on the field at NC State, he only played in 30 career games for the Wolfpack, with that number being lowered due to injuries in 2020 and 2022, and competition in 2019, starting only the final 5 games. Taking that into consideration, the numbers that Leary put up at NC State are even more impressive.
Leary leaves NC State ranked 6th in career passing yards, 4th in touchdown passes, and 4th in completion percentage.
Leary also ranks 3rd in school history in career passing efficiency rating (139.0), trailing only Philip Rivers (144.2) and Ryan Finley (140.0).
He also ranks 2nd in school history in interception avoidance (1.69), trailing only Jacoby Brissett (1.44).
In 2021, Leary threw 35 touchdowns, setting the new school record for touchdowns thrown in a single season, passing Philip Rivers record of 34.
Plain and simple, Leary was one of the best to ever play the position at NC State, and that’s saying a lot!
NC State Wide Receiver Jasiah Provillon Enters Transfer Portal
Redshirt Junior NC State Wide Receiver Jasiah Provillon has entered the Transfer Portal.
— Siahhh Cheese (@jasiahpro84) December 5, 2022
Provillon was member of the Wolfpack’s 2018 recruiting class, a 3-star prospect out of Irvington, New Jersey. While he has seen action in all 12 games this season, Provillon has only played 84 snaps. In 18 career games over 5 seasons of play, Provillon has 2 receptions for 58 yards (in 2019).
We wish Jasiah the best in his final year of eligibility and appreciate his commitment to the Pack the past 5 years!
NC State Quarterback Devin Leary Enters Transfer Portal
According to Pete Thamel of ESPN, NC State Quarterback Devin Leary is entering the Transfer Portal.
Source: N.C. State quarterback Devin Leary intends to enter the NCAA transfer portal. Leary will have one year of eligibility remaining. He's thrown for 6,807 yards and 62 touchdowns, making him one of the most productive portal quarterbacks available. https://t.co/N36c52JU47
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 5, 2022
Leary has 1 year of eligibility remaining, and he will likely be the top Quarterback name in the Portal.
Big programs with a need at Quarterback will be picking up the phone quickly, and many of these schools likely have the ability to offer significant NIL money.
Heading into this season, Leary was not expected to be back for the Pack in 2023. After the numbers he put up in 2021, he was expected to forgo his final year of eligiblity, and enter the 2023 NFL Draft. With that being said, after not having the start to the season that was expected, and tearing his pec in the 6th game of the season against FSU, the future for Leary became blurry.
When True Freshman Quarterback MJ Morris entered the scene for the Wolfpack, playing at a high level, things got even more blurry.
Would he still go pro, even though he didn’t have a season that saw his stock rise? Would he return to NC State, where there might be a position battle in 2023? Would he transfer to another school of higher prestige giving him more of a spotlight for the 2024 NFL Draft?
This isn’t a shocking decision by Leary. It probably is what makes the most sense to Leary, and also what makes the most sense to NC State. It is clear that MJ Morris seems to be the future at Quarterback at NC State. I love NC State, but I’m not dumb. Leary can also see his draft stock rise by transferring to a bigger program.
Leary has been incredible at NC State, throwing for 6,807 yards and 62 touchdowns in 4 seasons. In total he has been at NC State 5 years, and he has been nothing short of an exemplary representative of the university. When he went down, he was an incredible teammate and leader, despite not being on the field.
We wish you the best Devin! You have a bright future ahead of you, and you will always be a part of the Wolfpack family.