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NC State chokes Against Wake Forest, Falling 23-27

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Unacceptable.

I can’t think of a more fitting word.

Maybe I can.

Embarrassing.

I was just struck with another one.

Revealing.

Unacceptable because NC State’s offense was the 6th most efficient offense in the nation going against the 122nd best defense. Wake Forest was giving up 496 yards per game, and the Wolfpack undershot it to the tune of 421 yards.

Unacceptable because the Wolfpack rushed for a whopping 47 yards against a defense that was giving up 221 yards on the ground per game.

Unacceptable because NC State settled for 3 field goals within the red zone. Look, I love that Chris Dunn can kick field goals, but going 3 of 3 on field goal attempts in the red zone means your offense FAILED. Blame it on dropped passes. Blame it on being tackled in the back field. Blame it on play calling. Blame it on bad throws. I don’t care. It’s unacceptable.

Embarrassing.

Embarrassing because NC State was a 19-point favorite. NC State had won 26 of the last 32 games when they were the favorite. That’s 81.3%. The Wolfpack has only lost 1 time since 2014 when they were the favorite to win by 10+ points. In 2016, NC State lost to Boston College 14-21 when they were 16-point favorites. Tonight marks the second. In fact, it marks the worst loss of the Dave Doeren era. Embarrassing.

Embarrassing because NC State lost to a Wake Forest team that was without their starting quarterback, and who lost their starting running back during the course of the game. Hats off to Jamie Newman, but the Wolfpack defense allowed a backup quarterback who had completed 7 of 15 passes this season pass for 297 yards, complete 66.7% of his passes, throw 3 touchdowns (0 interceptions) and lay down a passing efficiency rating of 172.3. Embarrassing.

Revealing.

Here’s the facts. NC State wasn’t the 14th best team in the nation, but the cards had fallen their way. Six of the teams in front of them had lost the previous week. A golden path was rolled out before them. They were going to be the favorite by a large margin in their final 4 regular season games. Tonight revealed this team wasn’t ready for the prize at the end of the carpet rolled out before them.

Tonight revealed a lack of preparation, and that’s on the coaches. Tonight revealed a lack of effort, and that’s on the players.

Tonight revealed a lack of fight.

Tonight revealed a lack of composure.

This team had a chance to go to a major bowl (with some help). They didn’t need to upset anyone. They needed to beat 4 teams they would be double-digit favorites against.

Doeren and his staff need to do some serious soul searching. If you couldn’t get your team up for this game…

I’m tired. I’m tired of this feeling of deja vu.

NC State shouldn’t have lost this game, but they sure as heck didn’t deserve to win it.

Unacceptable. Embarrassing. Revealing.

 

NC State Football

NC State Picks Up 1st Win at Louisville, Stomping the Cardinals 52-10

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NC State was a 16-point favorite against Louisville today, and unlike last week, they were more than able to cover such a large spread, stomping the Cardinals 52-10 on their own turf.

The Wolfpack picked up their 1st victory ever at Louisville, and improved to 7-3 on the year.

After going 3-and-out on the opening drive, and allowing Louisville to march down and kick a field goal, NC State managed to score 45 unanswered points thereafter.

For the 5th time in 2018, the Wolfpack put up 500+ yards of total offense, putting 518 on the Cardinals. Redshirt Graduate Senior Quarterback Ryan Finley passed for 316 yards, completing 72.2% of his passes, for a career high 4 touchdowns (0 interceptions). After today’s efforts, he moved into 2nd all-time in school history in career passing yards.

Three Wolfpack receivers had 7 receptions, and each one of them snagged a touchdown. Junior Kelvin Harmon had 7 receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown. Harmon became only the third receiver in school history to have two seasons of over 1,000 yards receiving. Redshirt Junior Jakobi Meyers had 7 receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown, and Sophomore Emeka Emezie had 7 receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown.

Senior Running Back Reggie Gallaspy gave NC State the boost in the rushing game they’ve been needing, carrying the ball 11 times for 73 yards and 2 touchdowns, and also had 2 receptions for 11 yards and a touchdown.

NC State has been wanting to score more touchdowns in the red zone, and today they got it across the goal line 6 out of their 7 trips into the red zone. Freshman Place Kicker Chris Dunn kicked a field goal on the other trip, making the Wolfpack a perfect 7 of 7 on the day.

Redshirt Graduate Senior Linebacker Germaine Pratt and Freshman Nickelback Tanner Ingle led the Pack in tackles, with 7. The Wolfpack had 7 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. While they may have given up 411 yards of total offense, much of it came when the Wolfpack offense was filled with reserves.

NC State finished the day +2 in turnover margin.

The Wolfpack are now 7-3, and will head to Chapel Hill next Saturday, for a 12:20pm kickoff.

 

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Ryan Finley Moves Into 2nd Place In NC State History in Passing Yards

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Redshirt Graduate Senior Quarterback Ryan Finley passed Jamie Barnette today, moving into 2nd place all-time in career passing yards.

NC State Career Passing Yard Leaders
1) Philip Rivers – 13,484
2) Ryan Finley – 9,757
3) Jamie Barnette – 9,461
4) Russell Wilson – 8,545
5) Mike Glennon – 7,411

Finley currently ranks 8th all-time in career passing yards in ACC history.

If Finley plays in the bowl game, he is on pace to finish his career with 10,711 passing yards, which would rank 3rd in ACC history. Keep in mind, the two guys ahead of him played 4 seasons, instead of his three.

 

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Kelvin Harmon Becomes 3rd NC State Receiver With Two 1,000 Yards Seasons

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Junior Wide Receiver Kelvin joined an elite club today, becoming only the third receiver in NC State history to have two seasons of 1,000 receiving yards.

The other 2 receivers to pull off the feat:

Torry Holt – 1997 (1,099) & 1998 (1,604)
Jerricho Cotchery  – 2002 (1,192) & 2003 (1,369)
Kelvin Harmon – 2017 (1,017) & 2018 (Currently – 1,065 yards)

Harmon is on pace to finish the season with 1,361 receiving yards (if he plays in the bowl game), which would be the third most by a receiver in a single season in NC State history, and tied for the 7th most in ACC history.

Most Receiving Yards in a Single Season in NC State History

  1. Torry Holt 1,604 – 1008
  2. Jerricho Cotchery – 1,369
  3. Kelvin Harmon – on pace for 1,361

Most Receiving Yards in a Single Season in ACC History

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Previewing NC State’s Opponent: Louisville

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Louisville has not been NC State’s friend over the years, beating the Wolfpack 6 times in 8 opportunities (3-1 as ACC foes).

Louisville, Kentucky, has not been kind to NC State. The Wolfpack have never won a game on the road against the Cardinals (0-4).

Last year’s 39-25 victory on a Thursday night marked NC State’s 1st victory over Louisville as ACC opponents, snapping a 3-game losing streak. The Wolfpack will look to start a streak of their own today.

This Louisville team is a far cry from the teams led by Lamar Jackson.

The Cardinals have been in a life-without-Lamar hangover all year, entering today’s game on a 7-game losing streak, and a 2-8 overall record.

During the 7-game losing streak, Louisville’s opponents are averaging 48.7 points, 322.2 rushing yards, 501.2 total yards per game, and their turnover margin has been -8.

Louisville practically ranks in the 100’s in every statistical category on the year.

Despite the horrific stats, especially on defense, the Louisville offense has proven capable sporadically in 2018, producing over 400 yards of total offense in 4 of their ACC games:

Florida State – 421 yards
Georgia Tech – 483 yards
Wake Forest – 532 yards
Syracuse – 413 yards

The Cardinals deploy 2 quarterbacks on a weekly basis: Sophomore Jawon Pass and Freshman Malik Cunningham. Pass serves as Louisville’s primary passer (no pun intended), and Cunningham primarily comes in to run the ball. In fact, Cunningham leads the Cardinals in carries (60), rushing yards (308), and is averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Pass has only completed 54.3% of his attempts for 1,893 yards and 8 touchdowns (11 interceptions).

Senior Jaylen Smith, Lamar Jackson’s favorite target, is still around, but he’s missing his former quarterback tremendously. After earning 1st Team All-ACC honors in 2017, Smith only has 31 receptions (team lead) for 463 yards and (team lead) a touchdown.

Junior Trey Smith is the starter at Running Back, and has been successful when given the chance, averaging 5.3 yards per carry, but his touches have been limited with the Cardinals having to chase points nearly every game.

Pretty much the only respectable aspect of Louisville football right now is their pass defense, which ranks 22nd nationally. I would be remiss not to mention the fact that Sophomore Rodjay Burns is an extremely dangerous punt returner, averaging 16.4 yards per return. He ranks 2nd in the ACC and 10th nationally.

Life without Lamar Jackson has been bleak, but what will life without former head coach Bobby Petrino be like? Can interim head coach Lorenzo Ward wake up this Cardinals squad to protect their house, and finish the year strong?

On paper, NC State should make easy work of Louisville, but as we learned last week, there’s a reason you play the game. Wake Forest took that paper, balled it up, and chucked it in the trash.

If Louisville is going to treat this like their bowl game, then so should NC State. If they do, they will win.

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