This past weekend NC State did their best to upend the #1 team in the nation. In the end FSU was just too much for a young, inexperienced NC State defense, but we learned a lot about this NC State team. Here are some things we think were cleared up after Saturday’s game.
-Brissett is really for real
The guts in the comeback win in the season opener tipped us all off on the type of player Jacoby Brissett could be, but putting up gaudy numbers and dissecting defenses against weak opponents is nothing to hang your hat on. Throwing up 350 yards and 3 Tds (while completing 67% of your passes) against the #1 team in the nation is another story. As I rewatched the game last night I tried to watch the game as objectively as I could. If I had never seen or heard of Jacoby Brissett or Jameis Winston would I know which one was the Heisman candidate and which one was the virtual unknown? I don’t think so, in fact I think Brissett out performed Winston despite throwing for one less TD and 6 fewer yards. Brissett had some highlight reel plays, made some spectacular passes and was constantly holding the NC State offense together. The guy is big time and he’s just getting started. I think with Brissett behind center NC State will be putting up silly offensive numbers all season.
– Shad Thornton is State’s running back
Dayes will certainly share carries and is still a threat as a receiving option, but I think we saw that against bigger, stronger competition Shadrach was the most effective. I asked the question on Twitter a few weeks ago on what people thought Doeren would do when they started facing tougher competition. Many thought the 3 headed monster of Thornton, Dayes and Creecy would keep on being thrown out there, but I think it was pretty obvious that come season time coaches usually go back to a more natural 1 or 2 back gameplan. I think we saw who the leader is in the backfield. Shad carried the ball 18 times for 85 yards and caught 7 passes for 60 yards and really just passed the eye test. He broke tackles, got extra yardage and moved the chains all day long. I’m not sure on his numbers for yards after contact but I’m sure they were insane. The kid just keeps his legs churning and loves to initiate contact. The Brissett/Thornton combo is likely one of the better 1-2 punches in this conference right now.
-Route running a little sloppy
With Brissett’s quick release and State’s hurry up offense, the receivers who run the most precise routes are the ones reaping the benefits. Gone are the days of Wolfpack receivers racking up yardage on broken plays. Sure Brissett made plays outside the pocket and will continue to do so, but the majority of the receiving yards are coming off quick pocket passes from Brissett. This is why you see Bo Hines getting so many looks. Once again he led the team in receptions and it’s mainly due to his precision route running and soft hands. The guys that aren’t seeing many looks are the ones that have been a little sloppy and rounding corners on their routes. As the season wears on, look for the WRs to start focusing more on creating separation by focusing on their route running.
-Defense wasn’t ready
State’s defense just wasn’t ready for athletes like Florida State. Once Winston and company got a look at what the Pack was doing defensively, they started exposing them with ease. The line was getting no pressure, they were over-pursuing and they were just too slow to match up man to man with the FSU receivers. The Noles totaled over 530 yards on Saturday, a number that is just too high no matter who your opponent is.
– Doeren hates cheaters
I know Coach Doeren took a lot of heat for voicing his opinion that FSU was faking injuries to slow down the Pack’s hurry up offense, but good for him. A lot of people are under the impression that it’s classless to make excuses like this. Well, it’s classless to cheat and then act like you have no idea how someone could accuse you of cheating. Doeren is right on and FSU was faking injuries (or at least taking too long to get off the field after a minor injury), so I don’t mind him saying something about it. Truth is, FSU couldn’t stop NC State’s hurry up and they did what they had to do to stop it. Call that what you want, but don’t blame Doeren when he calls it like he sees it. If I’m a Wolfpack player then I’m glad my coach stood up for us in that regard. #1 team in the nation or Presbyterian, it doesn’t matter, cheating is cheating and people need to stop loading the guilt onto Dave Doeren and start looking at FSU’s ‘NFL level’ athletes who couldn’t keep up with an ACC no-huddle offense.
NC State LB Payton Wilson Wins the Bednarik Award!
NC State’s Payton Wilson won the Butkus Award earlier this week, naming him the best Linebacker in college football. Tonight he won the Bednarik Award, which has been given out annually to the best defensive player in college football since 1995.
Wilson beat out Alabama Linebacker Dallas Turner and UCLA’s Defensive End Laiatu Latu.
Prior to this week, no NC State Linebacker had ever won the Butkus Award. Prior to tonight, no NC State defensive player had ever won the Bednarik Award.
Below is a list of the former Bednarik Award winners.
In one week, Wilson has done what no other Linebacker of defensive player at NC State has ever done.
Go ahead and retire the #11 already!
Wake Forest Transfer WR Welsey Grimes Commits to NC State!
NC State just picked up their first transfer of the 2024 class, and it’s a big one. Former Wake Forest Wide Receiver Wesley Grimes (6’2″/187) just committed to run with the Wolfpack.
As a Sophomore this season, Grimes caught 20 passes for 339 yards and 4 touchdowns in 12 games. As a True Freshman last year, he played in his 6 games, collecting 4 receptions for 33 yards and a touchdown.
In all reality, Grimes is coming home. He was a 4-Star prospect out of Millbrook High School here in Raleigh. ON3, 247Sports and Rivals all ranked Grimes as a Top-250 prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, with Rivals ranking him as the #36 overall player nationally, the #4 Wide Receiver, and the #2 player in the state of North Carolina.
From a recruiting rankings standpoint, Grimes instantly becomes the highest ranked player on NC State’s roster. Since he played as a True Freshman, Grimes has 3 seasons to play 2 years of eligibility.
Back in 2021, Grimes chose the Demon Deacons over NC State, Tennessee, Duke and Louisville. On December 8th, 2023, Grimes decided to come back home and run with the Pack.
Kansas State will be Without Their Offensive Coordinator & Starting Quarterback Against NC State
Kansas State will be without their Offensive Coordinator and starting Quarterback when they face NC State in the Pop-Tarts Bowl on December 28th.
New Texas A&M head coach Mike Elko, who just left the same position at Duke, paid big bucks to hire Wildcats Offensive Coordinator Collin Klein as his OC, who had been serving in the position at Kansas State for the past 2 seasons. For the past 7 seasons, Klein has served as the Wildcats Quarterbacks Coach.
This season, Kansas State ranks 23rd in Total Offense (446.1) and 14th in Rushing Offense (199.7).
As Quarterbacks Coach, he helped develop four-year starter Will Howard, who announced he would be entering the Transfer Portal on November 27th. This season, Howard earned 2nd Team All-Big 12 honors. In 12 games, he threw for 2,643 yards and 24 touchdowns (10 interceptions). Howard also rushed for 351 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Howard will be replaced by Freshman Avery Johnson. There was speculation that Johnson might follow Klein to Texas A&M, but he will be starting for the Wildcats in Orlando against the Wolfpack.
NC State’s Kevin Concepcion Earns Freshman All-American Status from The Athletic
NC State Wide Receiver Kevin Concepcion has been named a Freshman All-American by The Athletic.
Here’s what they had to say about KC:
WR Kevin Concepcion, NC State: “KC” easily won ACC Rookie of the Year this season after catching 64 passes for 767 yards, rushing for 297 yards on 7.8 yards per carry and scoring 11 total touchdowns. The 5-foot-11, 187-pound slot receiver from Charlotte was a three-star signee who proved he should start right away as a true freshman. Over his last seven games, Concepcion has averaged 117 total yards per game. (The Athletic)