Big plays have been the achilles heel for the NC State defense this season. It seems that the defense has played well, but have had too many lapses in focus that have allowed a team to score at the end of a half or the beginning of a game. Explosion plays (10+ yards rushing, 20+ yards passing) have a way of skewing the overall perception of a team or unfairly labeling a particular unit.
The Wolfpack defense have been pretty stingy when one looks at total team defense in respect to yards allowed. In four games the Pack have only allowed 823 yards, which averages out to 205.8 per game. NC State ranks 3rd in total defense in the FBS when it comes to yards allowed per game. The only two schools ahead of them are Boston College and Michigan.
Of the 823 yards allowed 490 yards (60%) have come on explosion plays, which has given the perception that the Pack are weak on defense, but the Pack rank 3rd in yards per game proves that they are formidable.
Make no mistake about it, the defensive stats have been padded by the scheduling of lesser opponents, but NC State has highly skilled players on the defensive unit that have played well for the majority of the season. The problem has been when they have lost focus or interest momentarily as they have faced a lesser opponent. This will change as the Wolfpack begin ACC play this weekend.
I am sure the players are tired of hearing about the weak non-conference schedule and that the defensive unit will come out with a chip on their shoulder this weekend against Louisville. NC State has a lot to prove this weekend as they look to win their first ACC game and push their win streak to 8 games. Saturday will answer a lot of questions for the Pack.
Kansas State Rolls Out Hype Video of Their Freshman Quarterback
When Kansas State lost their Offensive Coordinator Collin Klein to Texas A&M, the fear of Wildcat fans was that Freshman Quarterback Avery Johnson would follow. After 4-year starter Will Howard announced he would be entering the Transfer Portal, holding onto Johnson, who was a 4-star consensus prospect in high school, was a desperate need for K-State.
Kansas State rolled out a hype video of Johnson, revealing that he was changing his number from 5 to 2, which has been his number his entire life prior to college, establishing the fact that Johnson wasn’t going anywhere.
— K-State Football (@KStateFB) December 7, 2023
Johnson played in 7 games this season, completing 25 of 35 passes for 301 yards and 3 touchdowns, with no interceptions. He also rushed the ball for 225 yards and 6 touchdowns, averaging 5.0 yards per carry.
Out of high school, ESPN ranked Johnson as the #77 overall player nationally, the #3 dual threat Quarterback, and the #1 player in the state of North Carolina. Rivals ranked him as the #1 dual threat Quarterback.
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.