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.