We were high on State’s ability to win this game, to the point we thought a cover was possible. In the end, a win is all that matters, as the Wolfpack move to 4-1 on the year. Without a doubt, LA Tech came to play…Here are our biggest takeaways.
1) Devin Carter is stepping up BIG
We knew he had the skillset to be a difference maker, but early on, the hands looked rough. One part seemingly trying to do too much, another part not quite adjusting to slight misthrows.
But boy, has he steadied the ship.
While he didn’t find the endzone, Carter made big plays when needed Saturday night (3 catches for 65 yards). Coming off a Clemson game with two touchdowns, he’s progressed every single week. His size and speed were unmatched for most of these first five games. Best part? Emezie has also shown up big again this year and Thayer Thomas has become the short gain monster. Allowing Carter to have single coverage is going to be paying dividends the remainder of the year.
2) “Okay” to be flat now, but can’t later…
Doeren now moves to 5-0 after beating a top-25 team the week prior, although there was lots of sluggishness early. The crowd was the saddest we’ve heard in a bit. The O-line was doing nothing against a defense that has one of the worst yards against average in all the land. The play calling was stagnant and the execution wasn’t helping.
Biggest worry is that State now heads up to Chestnut Hill to face the Eagles. More often than not, teams struggle to pull away from Boston College. This bye week is coming at a great time, but if this team comes out with the same energy in two weeks, it’ll be a long game.
From here on out, there is no reason this State team shouldn’t be favored and ready to play. All that matters is a win, but would rather not sweat it out every minute of the game.
3) More Moore, Please
It felt like coming into the season, there was a lot of love for Thomas and Wilson. Understandable on the latter, with everything he put together last year. Not saying that anybody was sleeping on Isaiah Moore, but the attention wasn’t fully on him like it should have been.
The man is a monster.
In the last two weeks; 18 tackles (10 of which solo), a sack and multiple times creating havoc across the field. The LB veteran is doing everything in his power to continually make the plays. Name a statistical category and he’s most likely going to set personal records this year. So fun to see his energy every week.
4) Take pride in this win
There were many in WPN that thought this would be a close game. LA Tech really should have been undefeated heading into Carter-Finley Saturday. While their defense is still a struggle (we helped them out a bit in the first half, especially), their offense is legit.
I know this is “woulda, shoulda, coulda” territory, but take away THE WORST PI CALL I’VE SEEN IN FOREVER, State defense holds them to 20 points. Their QB Kendall played well coming off injury and their receiving core is solid from top to bottom. Overall, it is was a great test for this defense that did what they could.
Change a few calls and bad miscues and this game edges into covering for the Wolfpack. Yet, for the team this is a huge win. Beat Clemson and then find a way to win ugly the very next week. It’s character building and a learning opportunity for down the road. With Miss State upsetting Texas A&M, State’s resume is continuing to improve.
5) State goes as the running game goes
Truly believe that if Person and Knight get their yards, this team will win just about every time. To know we have a trusted RB duo is incredible. Between the two Saturday, 185 total yards. The number of missed tackles or simply trucking grown men into the ground, was incredible.
Would I have liked to have seen them included a bit more in the passing game? Sure. But getting a HEALTHY 6+ yards per carry was awesome to see. Would I have liked to have seen Leary more comfortable, knowing that his running game is working? Absolutely. But, as mentioned before, this team needed this kind of game and to WIN, rather than fall short.
6) Moving ahead
Looking forward to seeing what two weeks of rest and practice can do for this team. Three of the next four games are on the road, which will be when the real test comes into play. While in-state rivals make of the last three games, the next three are the ones that will make or break this season.
Can State go up to Massachusetts and get a win against upstart BC? Will we sink to Miami’s level in Miami? Can State come back home and take care of business against Louisville? Big questions that need even bigger answers. Let’s shorten this schedule and see where we stand.