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Thoughts on NC State’s 52-13 Loss to Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl

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NC State wasn’t expected to beat #19 Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl. They were 7.5 point underdogs.

A one-score loss was the projection…a five-score loss was the outcome.

The Aggies beat the Wolfpack 52-13 in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl on New Years Eve.

The 1st half was a good matchup. The Wolfpack actually led for half of the 2nd quarter, and entered halftime down 21-13…one score…which was the spread.

On the opening drive of the 2nd half, NC State drove down to the Aggie 25-yard line, with an opportunity to either tie the game, or at minimum, make it a 5-point game. Instead of reclaiming a little bit of momentum, Wolfpack quarterback Ryan Finley threw an interception that was returned 78 yards for a touchdown.

From that point on, ‘momentum’ wasn’t even a word on NC State’s radar. From that point on, an apt word for the Wolfpack’s performance was ‘surrender.’

Texas A&M shutout NC State 31-0 in the 2nd half, and finished the game scoring 45 unanswered points.

In sum, it was one of the worst offensive and defensive performances by NC State in a bowl game.

They were 0-13 on third down offensively, entering the game ranked 7th nationally in offensive third down conversion percentage (49.03%). It marked the only time all year that NC State failed to convert a single third-down.

The 15 first downs were close to a record low (fewest ever in a bowl is 13).

The 273 yards of total offense was the lowest total of the season.

Texas A&M’s 52 points are the most NC State has ever given up in a bowl.

The Aggies’ 541 yards of total offense was the second most that the Wolfpack defense allowed in 2018.

Texas A&M rushed for an audacious 401 yards against NC State, which is most given up by the Wolfpack in a bowl. Junior Running Back Trayveon Williams rushed for 236 yards (2nd most against NC State in a bowl) and 3 touchdowns (most rushing touchdowns against NC State in a bowl).

Wolfpack Quarterback Ryan Finley finished the night 19/32 for 139 yards and 1 touchdown (2 interceptions), which all added up to his second worst passing efficiency rating of the season (93.7), on the biggest stage of the season.

The MVP of the game was Freshman Place Kicker Chris Dunn, connecting on both of his field goal attempts (43 and 49 yards). The 49-yard field goal marked the longest of his collegiate career, surpassing a 44-yarder against UVA earlier this year.

Also, the Running Back tandem of Senior Reggie Gallaspy and Freshman Ricky Person were a small highlight. The two combined for 126 yards rushing, averaging 5.25 yards per carry (Gallaspy – 14 for 79/Person – 10 for 47).

In the end, Texas A&M outplayed NC State, and Jimbo Fisher out coached Dave Doeren, and Doeren admitted as much after the game.

To be honest, I didn’t have any expectations that the Wolfpack would win the Gator Bowl. They were without Junior Wide Receiver Kelvin Harmon and Redshirt Senior Linebacker Germaine Pratt, who had signed with agents to begin preparing for the 2019 NFL Draft. Both players were 1st Team All-ACC.

They were without their Offensive Coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz, who took the head coaching job at Appalachian State, and Offensive Line Coach Dwayne Ledford, who took the Offensive Coordinator job at Louisville.

The experiment of George McDonald and Des Kitchings serving as Co-Offensive Coordinators looked like a middle school Bunson Burner chemistry project gone wrong. To be fair, I don’t think the offensive production in the Gator Bowl will necessarily be indicative of what the offense will look like under McDonald and Kitchings in 2019. They had less than a month to prepare for this new role, and they were without all of their personnel, against a dangerous SEC opponent in Texas A&M.

While I expected a loss, I didn’t expect humiliation.

All in all, it was one of the worst performances by NC State in recent memory.

 

 

 

NC State Football

NC STATE ANNOUNCES 2020 ATHLETICS HALL OF FAME CLASS

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RALEIGH, NC — An Olympic gold medalist, a No. 1 NFL Draft pick and four of the top performers in the first 50 years of the Atlantic Coast Conference highlight the 2020 class of the NC State Athletic Hall of Fame, along with a barrier-breaking athlete who changed the course of competition for both his school and conference.

The six-member class is the sixth overall since the establishment of the Hall of Fame in 2012 and will be inducted at a gala in Reynolds Coliseum on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020.

“The 2020 Hall of Fame class is made up of remarkable athletes who not only made significant contributions to their sports, but also had a historical impact on our campus and in the community,” said Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan. “We look forward to celebrating and honoring their achievements at the induction gala next year.”

Irwin Holmes was a varsity tennis player during his college days under head coach John Kenfield Jr., but that’s not what made him special. As one of the school’s first four African American undergraduate students in the fall of 1956, the native of Durham, North Carolina, helped fully integrate the institution.

In 1957, he and Manuel Crockett became the first black athletes to participate in an ACC-sponsored event during a freshman indoor track meet against North Carolina. Holmes later joined the tennis team as a three-year varsity player. In 1960, he became the first African American captain of a varsity sport at an ACC school and the school’s first black graduate, when he received his degree in electrical engineering. He retired after a long career at RCA, IBM and other pioneering electronics companies. NC State dedicated Holmes Hall, previously known as the University College Commons, in his honor during Homecoming 2018.


Mario Williams, the first player in ACC history to be selected as the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, was a dominating force for Chuck Amato’s Wolfpack defense from 2003-05. He set school records for single-game, single-season and career sacks and tackles for loss and is still the school leader in three of those categories. A two-time All-ACC performer, Freshman All-American and then first-team All-American, the Richlands, North Carolina native, was a key reason the Wolfpack led the nation in total defense in 2004. 

After being drafted by the Houston Texans, Williams went on to become a three-time Pro Bowl selection and a two-time All-Pro while playing for the Texans, Bills and Dolphins. He set a Buffalo Bills franchise record with 4.5 sacks in a game. In his eight-year NFL career, he recorded 97.5 sacks.

One of the most decorated players in the history of NC State men’s soccer, Henry Gutierrez led the Wolfpack to the Final Four and the ACC Tournament title in 1990, while being named tournament MVP. The three-time All-American still ranks fifth in school history in points (114), seventh in goals (41) and fourth in assists (32). He was named to the ACC’s 50thanniversary team.

The Hoboken, New Jersey native, who grew up in Miami, was twice named ACC Player of the Year – one of only five players in conference history to win the honor multiple times.

He earned one cap as a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team, but played 87 games with the MLS Miami Fusion. He currently lives in the Triangle and is a coach for the North Carolina FC Academy.

Considered the nation’s top defender during her collegiate career, Thori Staples Bryan led the Wolfpack to three NCAA Tournament appearances and a school-record 19 wins. The only four-time All-ACC performer in program history, she was named Soccer America’s Freshman of the Year and ACC Rookie of the Year in 1992, and the North Carolina Female Athlete of the Year in 1994. 

A member of the ACC 50thAnniversary Team, Staples played for the U.S. National Team from 1992-99, for the 1995 FIFA World Cup team, and was an alternate for the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team.  She played for WUSA’s San Jose CyberRays from 2001-04 and helped her team win the league title in 2001. Following her successful playing career, she now operates the Thori Bryan Soccer Academy in Wake Forest, North Carolina. 

John Sadri’s collegiate career may be best remembered for a single match, but his career performance is one of the best in the history of the NC State men’s tennis program. A two-time ITA All-American (1977, ’78), Sadri won two ACC singles titles and two ACC doubles titles – all at No. 1 in the lineup. He still owns the top singles and doubles winning percentages in school history (.860 and .849 respectively) and led the Wolfpack to the 1978 ACC team title. 

But it was a match he lost that remains legendary in college tennis. At the 1978 NCAA Championships in Athens, Georgia, Sadri competed against a freshman from Stanford named John McEnroe in what is still considered one of the top amateur matches ever played. Only one point separated the two players after five sets (144-143). 

Sadri reached as high as No. 14 in the world professional tennis rankings in 1980 and went on to win two professional singles and two professional doubles titles. He was the runner-up in singles at the 1979 Australian Open and finished second twice in doubles at that event. He was also named to the ACC’s 50thAnniversary Team. A retired teaching professional, Sadri lives in his hometown of Charlotte.

David Fox is among the most prolific performers in the storied history of NC State Swimming.  He won championships at every level during his career, as a seven-time ACC champion, an NCAA champion and an Olympic gold medalist. The three-time All America selection (1990, ’91, ’93) was named ACC Swimmer of the Year in 1993 after winning the national title in the 50 freestyle and was twice named ACC meet MVP (1991, ’93).

Another member of the ACC’s 50thAnniversary team, Fox won gold at the 1996 Centennial Olympics in Atlanta as a member of the 4×100 freestyle relay team. He held the NC State record in the 100 freestyle for 19 years before it was broken in 2012. . A member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame (2016), Fox resides in Atlanta where he works as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs.

Tickets for the 2020 Hall of Fame event will go on sale at a later date. Stay tuned to GoPack.comfor more information.


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Sporting News 2019 Bowl Projection for NC State

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Sporting News released their early 2019 College Football Bowl Projections this morning, and they project that NC State will play Purdue in the Quick Lane Bowl.

The Quick Lane Bowl began in 2014, and is played at Ford Field, the home of the Detroit Lions. It annually features a matchup between a Big Ten team against an ACC or Mid-American Conference team.

Sporting News ACC Bowl Projections

  • Quick Lane Bowl – NC State vs. Purdue
  • Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl – Boston College vs. Arizona State
  • Walk-On’s Independence Bowl – Wake Forest vs. South Carolina
  • New Era Pinstripe Bowl – Virginia Tech vs. Michigan State
  • Military Bowl Presented by Northrup Grumman – UNC vs. Army
  • Camping World Bowl – Pittsburgh vs. Oklahoma State
  • Belk Bowl – Florida State vs. Ole Miss
  • Hyundai Sun Bowl – Miami vs. Washington State
  • Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl – Virginia vs. Kentucky
  • Capital One Orange Bowl – Syracuse vs. Florida
  • PlayStation Fiesta Bowl (semifinal) – Clemson vs. Texas (SN)

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Athlon Names 8 NC State Players to Preseason 2019 All-ACC Football Teams

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Athlon released their early 2019 Preseason All-ACC Football teams today, and 8 NC State players were included.

  • 2nd Team – Safety – Jarius Morehead
  • 2nd Team – Place Kicker – Chris Dunn
  • 3rd Team – Offensive Line – Joshua Fedd-Jackson
  • 3rd Team – Defensive Line – James Smith-Williams
  • 4th Team – Running Back – Ricky Person
  • 4th Team – Wide Receiver – Emeka Emezie
  • 4th Team – Offensive Line – Justin Witt
  • 4th Team – Defensive Line – Alim McNeil

Team Totals

Clemson – 14

Syracuse – 11

Miami – 9

Virginia – 9

Virginia Tech – 9

NC State – 8

Florida State – 8

Wake Forest – 7

Boston College – 6

Louisville – 6

UNC – 6

Pitt – 6

Duke – 5

Georgia Tech – 4

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NC State Football: Early Season Game Times Announced

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The ACC announced the early season football game times today. Here’s a run down of NC State’s.

  • Game 1: August 31st: East Carolina: Noon (ACC Network)
  • Game 2: September 7th: Western Carolina: 12:30pm (RSN)
  • Game 6: October 10th (Thursday): Syracuse: 8pm (ESPN)
  • Game 11: November 21st (Thursday): @ Georgia Tech: 8pm (ESPN)

Five of NC State’s last seven home games have kicked off at 1pm or before, and their 1st two games once again in 2018 follow suit.

Honestly, I was hoping the existence of the ACC Network would eliminate some of the ridiculousness, but if Week 1 is any indication, I guess not.

Also, the Wolfpack were hoping to get their matchup against Western Carolina on a Friday night game on ACC Extra, but nothing doing.

With that being said, two Thursday night games on ESPN is dope.

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