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Yesterday NC State dismissed Senior Running Back Shadrach Thornton.  What does the absence of Thornton mean for the NC State running game?

A rose-colored glasses view of the loss of Thornton can lead you to believe that his absence isn’t that big of a deal.  Junior Matt Dayes has been outstanding thus far in 2015, and Freshman Reggie Gallaspy was a 4-star recruit that has been solid in the sample size that we have seen him in.  Sophomore Dawka Nichols has also shown that he can be explosive and run hard.

Here’s reality.  The loss of Shadrach Thornton is a major blow to the Wolfpack running attack.  With Thornton and Dayes as a tandem, NC State entered every game with a chance for either of them to run for 100-yards, or for both of them to do so.  They both had different running styles, and this kept opposing defenses on their toes.  Matt Dayes is an elite talent, but the threat of Shad made him that much more effective against his opponents.  NC State lost an All-ACC performer in Thornton, and that is a major loss.  Period.

Here’s the other reality.  NC State is in really good hands.  At many schools, the loss of a player with Thornton’s talent would derail the team offensively.  That won’t happen to the Wolfpack.  Junior Matt Dayes currently ranks 1st in the FBS in rushing touchdowns (9) and 17th in rushing yards (454).  Even if Thornton wouldn’t have been dismissed, at the end of the year I think you would have seen Dayes earning All-ACC honors instead.  He is finally showing everyone what he is capable of when he gets the opportunities, and I don’t think we’ve seen it all yet.

Reggie Gallaspy currently still sits on the depth chart as the third option at running back, but I think it might only be a matter of time before that changes on paper.  The flip has already happened on the field.  Gallaspy has 27 carries compared to Dawka Nichols’ 11.  The Freshman reminds me a lot of Thornton.  He runs aggressively through the gaps and doesn’t mind taking bodies with him.  He possesses the physicality of Thornton, and might actually be faster.  It takes time for a young player to gain the confidence for his ‘actual’ speed to become his ‘game’ speed, and I don’t even think we have seen that take place yet for him.  Gallaspy always runs with his pads ahead of his hips, creating the opportunity for 4-yard gains in a no gain situation.  Is Gallaspy able to step in and replace Thornton?  No.  Thornton is a Senior and Gallaspy is a Freshman.  Does Gallaspy have the skill set to be as good as Thornton?  I think so in time.

What should we expect from now on?

Before Thornton’s return, Matt Dayes rushed the ball 24 times against both Troy and Eastern Kentucky.  Expect Dayes’ carries to bump back up to this number, or jump even higher.  In both of those games NC State had such a cushion that they were able to get their second and third string backs the ball.  From here on out, that might not be the case.  NC State will have to rely even more on Dayes than before.  I also expect to see Reggie Gallaspy’s work load increase.  Don’t expect them to split carries 50/50 like Dayes and Thornton, but expect an increase nonetheless.

Will they burn Freshman Johnny Frasier’s redshirt?

Johnny Frasier is one of the most highly touted recruits to commit to NC State in decades.  Scout ranked him as the #53 overall player in the 2015 recruiting class.  I seriously doubt that the NC State coaches will burn Johnny Frasier’s redshirt.  He has already missed the first four games of the season and he has also been battling an ankle injury recently.  Gallaspy and Nichols are fully capable of carrying back-up responsibilities for the Wolfpack.  If one of them gets hurt, then this becomes a different conversation.

Matthew is Co-Owner of Pack Insider. He writes for all sports, with a focus on football and recruiting, and is in charge of business strategy. He is an NC State alum who majored in business. Matthew is also the lead pastor of The Point Church in Cary, NC.

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13 years ago

Jealousy is definitely a problem but not isolated to State. I think every program has to deal with some jealousy when they land a class like we did this season. The ones that can’t handle it will transfer. If as a group our team is focused solely on winning then they should have no time for anything other than improving their games. My hope is that the upperclassmen will accept that the Frosh are going to be the media darlings and they show their maturity by supporting these young men. Which thus far seems to be the case. I see… Read more »

13 years ago

I hope the other players don’t get jealous that the frosh are getting so much shine.

13 years ago

It seems like the scoring pressure will be off for Tracy this new season. Which is good and bad depending on how he adjusts. It would at first appear that for his future pro prospects it would benefit Tracy to up his scoring from last season but with the infusion of new scoring talents points will be harder to come by. My opinion is that Tracy lift his draft status by improving on other aspects of his game. If he can average 13 ppg and add to that 12rpg and play lock down defense then that would do more for… Read more »

8 years ago

I just hope the coaches don’t overplay the run and get Dayes injured. We need to open up the playbook a little bit as the opponents get tougher. I want to see more pass plays to Ramos, and maybe get Jacoby out of the pocket and making a few plays with his feet which he is fully capable of.

NC State Football

NC State Legend QB Roman Gabriel Passes Away at the Age of 83



NC State legend Quarterback Roman Gabriel has passed away at the age of 83.

Gabriel’s Accolades

  • 2 time ACC Player of the Year (1960 & 1961)
  • 2 time 1st Team All-American (1960 & 1961)
  • 2 time 1st Team All-ACC (1960 & 1961)
  • 1st ACC QB to throw for 1,000 yards in a season
  • Left NC State with 22 school records and 9 ACC records
  • #1 pick in the AFL and #2 pick in the NFL
  • 16-year NFL career with the Rams & Eagles
  • 4 time Pro Bowler
  • NFL MVP in 1969
  • Led the NFL in Passing Yards in 1973
  • Led the NFL in Touchdown Passes in 1969 & 1973
  • Inaugural member of the NC State Hall of Fame
  • Ranks 1st all-time in Rams history in Touchdown Passes & 3rd in Passing Yards
  • First player to have their jersey number retired at NC State, on January 20, 1962.

Praying for the Gabriel family!

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NC State Baseball

NC State has Dominated UNC in Athletics in 2023-24



After NC State clinched a series victory over UNC last night in Baseball, I thought it would be a good time to relish in how the Wolfpack has dominated the Tar Heels Athletic Program as a whole in 2023-24.

The Wolfpack Baseball team has won the first two games in the series against the Tar Heels, clinching a series victory over UNC for the first time since 2021. It marks the first time NC State has won a series against the Tar Heels in Raleigh since 2016.

NC State defeated UNC in Volleyball 3-1, winning in Chapel Hill for the first time in 25 years. The Tar Heels had won the last 5 matches against the Wolfpack.

The Wolfpack defeated the Tar Heels 39-20 in Football in Carter-Finley Stadium. It marked the 3rd consecutive win over UNC.

NC State lost both regular season games to UNC in Men’s Basketball, but when it mattered most, the Wolfpack defeated the Tar Heels in the ACC Championship Game 84-76, winning their first title since 1987.

The Wolfpack Women’s Basketball team lost to their rival in Chapel Hill, but defeated UNC 63-59 in Reynolds Coliseum. NC State has won 5 of the last 7 against UNC.

In Gymnastics, NC State defeated UNC 196.725-194.925 in Raleigh. This marked the 3rd straight victory for the Wolfpack over the Tar Heels.

NC State’s Men & Women’s Swimming & Diving teams both beat UNC. The Men won 258-93, and the Women won 196-157.

The Wolfpack Wrestling team defeated UNC 33-6 in Reynolds Coliseum. NC State has won 11 straight Duals against the Tar Heels.

The NC State Men’s Tennis team defeated UNC 4-0, winning against their rival in back-to-back years.

The Wolfpack Women’s Tennis team has defeated the Tar Heels 4-3 on two occasions thus far this season, and will face their rival again today.

The Cross Country teams didn’t have individual meets against UNC, but the Women obviously beat them, because they won the ACC Championship. The Men didn’t, finishing 8th in the Conference, with the Tar Heels finishing 1st.

The only other NC State athletic team that didn’t taste victory against UNC this year was the Women’s Soccer team, losing 0-4 in Raleigh.

Of course, each of these NC State athletic teams has much higher goals than just beating their rival, but there’s no denying how sweet it is to beat the Tar Heels.

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NC State Football

WATCH: Hollywood Smothers Leads NC State in Rushing at the Spring Game



Redshirt Freshman Hollywood Smothers seemingly was the 3rd string Running Back in NC State’s 2024 Spring Game a few weeks back, but at the end of the game, he had more rushing yards than any other back.

Smothers rushed the ball 8 times for 75 yards. He possesses explosive speed, as well as excellent vision.

Check out Pack Insider’s Tape of Smothers from the Spring Game.

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NC State Football

NC State Offers FCS Interior Offensive Lineman D’Angalo Titialii



NC State offered Interior Offensive Lineman D’Angalo Titialii (6’2″/320) today. After entering the Portal, the Wolfpack were the first to offer him.

Titialii spent his first three seasons at Portland State, which competes in the FCS. This year, he was the starting Center for the Vikings, and the year before he was their starting Left Guard. Over three seasons, Titialii started in 28 of the 32 games he played in.

Titialii is an intriguing prospect, considering he can play numerous positions on the Offensive Line.

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