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Ben Finley After He Led NC State to a Win Over #17 UNC: BULLETED

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Redshirt Freshman Quarterback Ben Finley defied the odds and led NC State to a 30-27 win over #17 UNC yesterday. He spoke with the media after the game, and you can watch it here, or check out a BULLETED breakdown below.

  • I think he [Ryan Finley] went 2-0 here in Carter-Finley West [Kenan Stadium].
    • But just having my 1st start and being able to go out there with the guys and get the W, this is the greatest feeling ever.
    • 5 weeks ago I was the 4th-string Quarterback messing around on the Scout Team.
      • I was still getting better, and having those guys still trust me when I came back up.
      • It just means the world to have the support from the entire team. They just played so well.
      • The defense. The offensive line gave me so much time. It was like I was just camping back there. It was awesome.
  • My roommate [Matt McCabe], who starts on our artillery, which is just the PAT and field goal unit, we were like ‘dude, the 1st week against ECU, there’s no way we would have thought we both would have been starting at UNC.’ It’s unreal.
  • I was just running around trying to hug everyone. I grabbed an NC State flag and planted it on the field, as I should have.
  • The nerves go away when you take the 1st hit.
    • It helped to get that lead at 7-0.
    • Leading up to the game if you’re not nervous then something is wrong with you.
    • I was a little nervous, but it’s just football.
  • It’s his [Devin Carter] 1st week back in a while.
    • To be honest, I haven’t thrown a pass to Devin Carter in probably over a year-and-a-half.
    • It’s like that with Thayer Thomas and Darryl Jones.
    • I had never thrown a pass to Darryl until last week in Louisville.
    • It’s just kind of weird. It’s like I’m playing on an All-Star team or something. I’ve just got ballers everywhere.
  • We knew if we got this win at UNC that it would be a big old band-aid on the season. Any time you can beat your rivals, especially at their home on Senior Night, it’s just huge.
  • You can never doubt yourself.
    • To be able to persevere, that’s the biggest thing in life. Things are going to happen to you.
    • Just keep fighting and climbing up the hill. You never reach the pinnacle of the mountain.
    • You’ve just got to keep climbing and getting better. That’s what our entire team does. We’re just constantly fighting.
  • It [being on the Scout Team] definitely helped with some of the throw windows and being comfortable in the pocket.
    • It definitely doesn’t help with the speed.
      • I definitely thought the game was going to be pretty slow when I got out there last week in Louisville and this week, and it wasn’t. With the scout team you let up.
      • You don’t get tackled. I haven’t taken a hit in three years. It was just kind of getting back into that.
      • But my O-line, I don’t even look like I’ve played a game. My jersey is pristine white. Any time you can go and just camp back there and deliver the ball, it’s a privilege.
  • I wanted to graduate from NC State [didn’t consider transferring from NC State]. That’s huge.
    • I graduate in December. That’s going to be really important for me to get my degree here.
    • I never tried to get into UNC, but according to Drake [Maye] I couldn’t have. It’s good that I get a nice degree from NC State in finance and go from there.
  • I had to find my parents. I love them so much, and they’ve just been such a big part of my life.
    • They’re the best parents that anyone could ask for. They show constant support.
    • Even when I was fourth string they were coming to every single game. The last three years they haven’t missed a game. I love them so much.
    • The least I can do is go over and celebrate with them. I’m definitely going to be continuing that celebration when I get home.
  • It was Terrell Timmons [was his go-to receiver on the Scout Team], and then I got him moved up. We were just tearing up the defense. He was bumped up.
    • Then it was Jalen Coit.
    • My tight ends were ballers. We were balling. Wake Forest was fun with that slow mesh.
  • I’m glad I could do that, but it’s a team win.
    • I made some crucial mistakes that I wish I could get back that I’ll learn from.
    • It was the entire team, starting with Chris Dunn.
      Jack [Chambers] went in there and put that 1st touchdown in.
    • Our defense was making stops. It was so fun watching our defense out there.
    • This is a big-time NC State win no UNC’s Senior Day. It’s not a Ben Finley win.
  • Oh yeah [wants to be the starter at NC State next year].
    • I’ve got 3 years of eligibility to play, which is crazy that I’m going to be in college just as long as my brother and he was in college for like 20 years.
    • I want to keep playing football. I love this game. I love this team. I love this school.

Matthew is Co-Owner of Pack Insider. He writes for all sports, with a focus on football and recruiting, and is in charge of business strategy. He is an NC State alum who majored in business. Matthew is also the lead pastor of The Point Church in Cary, NC.

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NC State Football

NC State’s Kevin Concepcion Ranks 57th in CBS Sports’ Preseason Top-100 College Football Players

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CBS Sports released their Preseason Top 100 College Football players heading into the 2024 season, and NC State Sophomore Wide Receiver Kevin Concepcion was ranked #57.

57. NC State WR Kevin Concepcion

The rising sophomore is an all-around talent who can beat you in a bunch of ways, but mainly as a receiver. Concepcion rushed for over 300 yards at 7.8 per carry and caught 71 balls and 10 touchdowns for the season. The true freshman lit up the ACC and did most of his damage on the intermediate part of the field but has the speed to make the explosive catches as well. In his second year of college football, I’m positioning Concepcion as a top-10 receiver in the country. (CBS)

ACC Players in the Top-100

24. Clemson LB Barrett Carter

30. Miami QB Cameron Ward

33. Miami DL Rueben Bain Jr.

35. FSU Edge Patrick Payton

57. NC State WR Kevin Concepcion

59. UNC Edge Kaimon Rucker

62. Miami WR Xavier Restrepo

63. Stanford WR Elic Ayomanor

63. UNC RB Omarion Hampton

70. Louisville Edge Tyler Baron

78. Clemson DL TJ Parker

82. Louisville Edge Ashton Gillotte

88. SMU Edge Elijah Roberts

98. Miami OT Francis Mauigoa

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WATCH: Kendrick Raphael was the #2 NC State RB in the Spring Game

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It’s clear that Jordan Waters is NC State’s starting Running Back heading into the 2024 season, but who will be #2 on the Depth Chart? In the Spring Game, Sophomore Kendrick Raphael functioned in that role. I don’t think that’s a guarantee that he will be the #2 Running Back when the Fall rolls around. Redshirt Sophomore Hollywood Smothers might have something to say about that, but nonetheless, Raphael went out their 2nd, and made the most of his opportunities.

With that being said, it’s worth noting Raphael rushed the ball 3 times for times for 39 yards and a touchdown, and also caught one pass.

Check out his tape from the Spring Game.





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Transfer Portal Rundown: Who Transferred Out and Who Transferred In?

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NC State Football

NC State Wide Receiver Julian Gray is Entering the Transfer Portal

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NC State Wide Receiver Julian Gray announced today that he will be entering the Transfer Portal.

This past season, Gray had career highs in receptions (16) and receiving yards (170). He ranked 4th on the team in receptions, and 7th on the team in receiving yards.

Gray has served as NC State’s primary Kickoff Returner the past two seasons, averaging 24.9 yards per return. This past year, he averaged 26.0 yards per carry, which ranked 3rd in the ACC, and 11th nationally. It stands as the 5th best single-season average in school history.

Back in 2021, ON3 ranked Gray as a 4-star prospect, the #197 overall player nationally, and the #13 player in the state of North Carolina.

For the past two seasons, Gray has carried a lot of preseason hype that hasn’t ultimately materialized in the season. I’m not saying that’s Gray’s fault, or his role in the offensive scheme. It is what it is, but with the influx of talented Wide Receivers that the Wolfpack brought in through the Portal and the High School ranks, it seems like Gray if he was looking for an increased role in 2024, it probably wasn’t going to be in Raleigh.

Gray has 2 more years of eligibility remaining.

 

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