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Finley is coming back! Wolfpack QB returning for senior campaign

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NC State quarterback Ryan Finley, who just completed one of the best seasons in NC State history, is coming back for his senior season, according to NC State University.

Finley’s 3,514 passing yards are the 4th most by a Wolfpack QB in a single season. His 311 completions are the 3rd most by a NC State quarterback in a single season. His completion percentage of 65.1% is the third-best percentage in a single season and his interception avoidance of 1.25 is the 2nd best single-season mark in NC State history.

So why is he coming back? Here is what he told GoPack.com

“I’m looking forward to building on the success we had this season,” said Finley. “My goal when I came to NC State was to win an ACC Championship and with so many starters returning on offense next season, I feel that we could achieve that.

“I love Raleigh and the special brotherhood that we have on this team. I will be proud to finish what we’ve started, earn a master’s degree from NC State and play another season in front of the greatest fans in the nation.”

This is huge news for the Wolfpack who immediately are contenders again with this news. The trio of Finley, Nyheim Hines and Kelvin Harmon could be the most dangerous in the ACC and will anchor an offense that isn’t losing much at all.

The decision also is big for Finley’s draft status. This season he was looking to be one of the top 8 QBs in the draft, but that could have put him somewhere in the 2nd round. Not only did every big name junior QB declare for the draft, but next season Finley will have the talent and experience around him to have an even better campaign and catapult himself into a sure-fire first rounder. A smart decision all around.

We’ll have much more on the Finley decision in the coming days.

NC State Football

NC State Places 6 on PFF’s Midseason All-ACC Team

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ProFootballFocus released their 2018 Midseason All-ACC Football Team yesterday, and 6 NC State players were honored, which was the most of any team in the conference.

QUARTERBACK

Ryan Finley, NC State

2018 Season Grade92.5

The ACC’s top-graded passer is also the top-graded player overall as Finley has pushed NC State to a 5-0 start. He hasn’t let pressure affect him much, fielding the ACC’s top passer rating under duress at 99.2.

WIDE RECEIVER

Kelvin Harmon, NC State

2018 Season Grade82.6

One half of the NC State receiving duo represented here, Harmon has brought down 33 receptions this season as 26 of them have either moved the chains for a first down or been a touchdown.

WIDE RECEIVER

Jakobi Meyers, NC State

2018 Season Grade80.2

Meyers joins his teammate here on the back of four missed tackles after the catch and another 17 first downs on his 30 receptions.

OFFENSIVE GUARD

Terronne Prescod, NC State

Week 7 overall grade: 89.5

Prescod may be the ACC’s best offensive lineman this season and also may be the most well-rounded. He holds the conference-best 90.6 run-blocking grade and the second-best pass-blocking grade (90.5) among any position.

CENTER

Garrett Bradbury, NC State

Week 7 overall grade: 86.0

The NC State offensive line is making their claim for best in the nation and Bradbury is certainly part of that. The highest-graded center by a mile in the ACC, Bradbury also was named to our Midseason All-American Team earlier this week.

LINEBACKER

Germaine Pratt, NC State

Week 7 overall grade: 86.6

The lifeblood of the NC State defense, Pratt has been strong in all facets of play at linebacker. He has recorded 11 pressures on 31 blitzes, 19 total defensive stops and has not allowed a touchdown in coverage.

(PFF)

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Dave Doeren Looking for his 1st Signature Win at NC State

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This Saturday head coach Dave Doeren is looking for his first signature win at NC State.

I want to be clear. I’m impressed by what Doeren has done at NC State, and I’m here for the program he is building, and the word “program” isn’t a term that could legitimately be associated with Wolfpack football for quite some time now.

With that being said, he has yet to beat a team that finished the season ranked in the Top-25. The News & Observer’s Joe Giglio did some research, and he is 0-14 against opponents that finished ranked in the final polls.

According to my calculations, it’s actually 0-15.

2017
#9 Notre Dame (finished 11th) – 14-35
#6 Clemson (finished 4th) – 31-38

2016
#3 Clemson (finished #1) – 17-24
#7 Louisville (finished #21) – 13-54
#19 Florida St. (finished #8) – 20-24

2015
#3 Clemson (finished #2) – 41-56
#19 Florida State (finished #14) – 17-34
#11 UNC (finished #15) – 34-45

2014
#1 Florida State (finished #5) – 41-56
NR Clemson (finished #15) – 0-41
NR Louisville (finished #24) – 18-30
NR Georgia Tech (finished #8) – 23-56

2013
#3 Clemson (finished #8) – 14-26
#3 Florida State (finished #1) – 17-49
NR Duke (finished #23) – 20-38

That’s not to say that NC State hasn’t had ‘big’ wins under Dave Doeren. The Wolfpack have won 6 games since 2013 as underdogs. The two victories over Florida State and Louisville last year, who were both ranked, are the two biggest wins of the Dave Doeren era in my opinion.

2014
Syracuse – 3 point favorite – 24-17
UNC – 6.5 point favorite – 35-7
UCF – 2 point favorite 34-27

2016
UNC – 9.5 point favorite – 28-21

2017
#12 FSU – 11.5 point favorite – 27-21
#17 Louisville  – 3 point favorite – 39-25

A good sign of the consistency of play under Doeren, is the fact that the Wolfpack has won 83.3% (25 of 30) of the games in which they have been favored since the beginning of the 2014 season.

Last season NC State finished the season ranked 23rd in the AP Poll, and even if they lose to Clemson on Saturday, I project that the will finish ranked for the second straight season. The Wolfpack will likely be favored in every game after Clemson, and they have shown the ability to take care of business under Doeren as the favorite.

If NC State finishes the 2018 season ranked in the Top-25, it would be the first time the Wolfpack has done so since 1991-92.

Things are moving in the right direction. Period.

With that being said, if NC State wants to get over the hump, and finish seasons ranked 1-15, instead of 16-25, they have to find a way to pick up some signature wins over opponents that have staying power in the rankings…like Clemson.

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NC State Ranks 15th in PFF’s Week 8 Power Rankings

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ProFootballFocus has released their ELO Power Rankings heading into Week 8, and NC State moved back 2 spots after the bye week. Basically, other teams that played this past weekend added stats to their resume to up their ranking, and NC State didn’t have that opportunity.

Preseason: 19th
Week 1: 21st
Week 2: 23rd
Week 3: 24th
Week 4: 19th
Week 5: 16th
Week 6: 13th
Week 7: 15th

PFF Week 8 Power Rankings

1) Alabama (-)
2) Notre Dame (+2)
3) Ohio State (+2)
4) Clemson (-1)
5) Oklahoma (+3)
6) Georgia (-4)
7) LSU (+7)
8) Michigan (+10)
9) UCF (+1)
10) Penn State (-3)
11. Wisconsin (-5)
12. Iowa (+5)
13. Washington (-3)
14. Auburn (-2)
15. NC State (-2)
16. Texas (-1)
17. Mississippi State (+5)
18. Miami (Fl.) (-7)
19. Fresno State (+1)
20. Oregon (+11)
21. USF (-5)
22. Florida (-1)
23. Utah (+9)
24. App. State (+6)
25. Washington State (-)

Here’s PFF’s explanation of how they calculate their Power Rankings. As usual, it’s pretty fascinating.

Like all ELO systems (including our version for the NFL), PFF ELO is an iterative system that updates each team’s rating after each game based on two things: how well they played against their opponent and how well they were expected to play against their opponent. The PFF ELO rating system measures the former using our unique offensive, defensive and special teams grades, while the latter is determined by the PFF ELO ratings leading up to the game and where the game is played.

For example, a heavy favorite playing at home is expected to outplay the visitor, so a victory would result in only a small rise in their PFF ELO rating and a similarly-small decrease in the defeated team’s, but if an upset were to happen, the visiting team would see their PFF ELO rating rise substantially, and the home team’s see a similarly-sized drop.

Sometimes in football, the best team does not win, and PFF ELO accounts for these oddities by using our grades. Hence there will be teams rated higher or lower in this system than their win-loss record would suggest. Since PFF began charting college football in 2014, the difference in PFF ELO values alone has been able to explain over three-fourths of the variance in the closing Vegas line. (PFF)

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NC State’s Terronne Prescod on Sports Illustrated’s Midseason All-American Team

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Sports Illustrated released their Midseason All-American Teams today, and NC State Redshirt Senior Left Guard Terronne Prescod was named to the 1st Team.

Prescod was also recently named to ProFootballFocus’ MidSeason All-American 1st Team along with Redshirt Graduate Senior Center Garrett Bradbury.

Here’s what they had to say about Big T:

G: Terrone Prescod, NC State, R-Sr.

NC State is 5–0 and No. 16 in the country through seven weeks, and a big part of that success is Prescod, who along with center Garrett Bradbury powers one of the best interior line groups in the country. Prescod’s 89.5 PFF grade is the best mark of any offensive lineman this season. (SI)

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