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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

Dave Doeren’s Press Conference After WVU: BULLETED

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Head Coach Dave Doeren met with the media in his postgame press conference after NC State’s 44-27 loss to West Virginia yesterday. You can watch the video here, or check out a bulleted breakdown below.

  • 1st half did some good things offensively.
  • 2nd half couldn’t stop edges of their run game.
  • Give them credit. Did a lot of different things than we’d seen.
  • Adjusted, but didn’t do a good job getting players to understand adjustments.
  • Coaches have to own the loss first and foremost. Players have to be able to take the coaching.
  • Not ourselves.
  • Blocked punt a major mistake on mental error. Catchup from that point, & weren’t throwing ball well enough for that.
  • 5 of 17 on third down.
  • When you give up 200 yards rushing it’s hard to win.
  • We won’t let this game define us.

Touchdown struggles in 2nd half…

  • Multitude of things.
    • Dropped passes
    • Batted balls when we had guys open.
    • We ran the ball well into the boundary in 1st. They adjusted.
    • They won battle of the trenches today.

Run Defense issues…

  • Couldn’t stop the edges.
  • Have to be able to adjust during the game.

Matt McKay…

  • Did some good things.
  • Don’t think he played rattled.
  • Calm on sidelines.
  • Could do a lot of things better obviously.
  • A lot of things that happen are out of his control.
    • Dropped passes.
    • Not running the route right.
  • Easy to blame me. I’ll take it. Easy to blame QB, but there’s a lot of people involved, and all have to own it.

 

 

 

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NC State Football

West Virginia 44 NC State 27: ACCDN HIGHLIGHT REEL

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NC State lost their first game of the season today to West Virginia on the road, falling to the Mountaineers 44-27 in Morgantown. The ACC Digital Network’s Highlight Reel is below.

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NC State Football

West Virginia 44 NC State 27: OUR TAKE

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There wasn’t much to like about NC State’s performance this afternoon in a 44-27 blowout on the road at West Virginia.

The Wolfpack entered the game as 7-point favorites, and ended up losing by 17.

Excuses could be made.

Graduate Redshirt Senior Defensive End James Smith-Williams and Senior Cornerback Nick McCloud were unable to play. Both are captains, and both are starters. Redshirt Freshman Joseph Boletepeli was also out of commission.

With that being said, excuses don’t need to be made here. They won’t cover up what was a completely lack luster performance on both sides of the ball for the Wolfpack.

An anemic Mountaineers offense came alive against NC State today, for 445 yards of Total Offense.

Redshirt Junior Quarterback Austin Kendall had his coming out party against a rowdy home crowd. It’s funny how players always love to have career efforts against NC State, but I digress. Kendall is no slouch. He was a 4-Star prospect coming out of high school, committing to Oklahoma, before transferring to West Virginia to be the man to fill the shoes of Will Grier. He looked the part today, completing 27 of 40 passes for 272 yards with 3 touchdowns (1 interception) for a passing efficiency rating of 144.4.

Wide Receiver Sam James put on a clinic, with 9 receptions (career high) for 155 yards (career high) and a touchdown.

The Mountaineers averaged 1.1 yards per carry the first two games, and managed to average 6.2 today.

NC State’s offense struggled, due in large part to the struggles of Redshirt Sophomore Matt McKay. He wasn’t sharp, and didn’t look ready for this stage. I’m not saying he can’t get there, but it was a rough outing. He was overthrowing, under-throwing, throwing behind, etc. McKay finished the day 23 of 48 for 207 yards with 1 touchdown (0 interceptions).

Junior Wide Receiver Emeka Emezie was his target of choice, targeting him an insane 23 times. Emezie finished with 12 receptions for 103 yards. It was good to see Redshirt Junior Tight End Cary Angeline being featured two weeks in a row, reeling in 4 receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown.

Freshman Zonovan Knight and Sophomore Ricky Person were both effective today. Knight had 72 yards rushing (6.0 yards per carry), and Person had 52 yards (4.7 yards per carry).

The total yardage left much to be desired, producing 369 yards of total offense, but they didn’t turn the ball over, and put up 27 points on the road in a hostile environment. The defense giving up 44 points is what should be sending the biggest alarm bells off.

The Wolfpack will try to get the train back on the tracks next week, hosting Ball State at 7pm in Carter-Finley Stadium.

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NC State Football

West Virginia 44 NC State 27: BOX SCORE

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NC State fell 44-27 on the road against West Virginia this afternoon, falling to 2-1 on the year. The box score is below.

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