NC State improved to 7-3 on the year, and 4-2 in ACC play, after defeating Wake Forest 26-6 on the road this afternoon.
If I’m honest, after the Louisville loss, and especially after the Duke loss, I wasn’t sure NC State would win another game in 2023. Surprisingly, the Wolfpack found a way to defeat Clemson and Miami at home, with the home team entering as underdogs in each matchup. MJ Morris was the Quarterback in both of those victories, but the Sophomore announced this week that he had made the decision to redshirt the remainder of the season. Insert Brennan Armstrong, who had been previously benched after the Louisville game, and no one quite knew what to expect in Winston-Salem today.
Armstrong has handled everything this season with the utmost class, and today he handled business on the field, leading the Wolfpack to a victory in a place that they had won 2 of the last 11.
NC State dominated the line of scrimmage rushing for 268 yards, which is a season high. Armstrong led the way, rushing for 96 yards and a touchdown, averaging 6.4 yards per carry. Swiss Army Knife Kevin Concepcion rushed for 86 yards on 5 carries, averaging an audacious 17.2 yards per carry. In recent memory, Wolfpack Running Backs haven’t received many rushing attempts, but that wasn’t the case today. True Freshman Kendrick Raphael rushed 15 times for 54 yards and Delbert Mimms III rushed 13 times for 35 yards and a touchdown.
The Wolfpack defense held Wake Forest to 163 yards of total offense, which is the least amount of yards produced by an opponent this season.
Let’s not breeze by the fact that Armstrong was also efficient in the passing game, completing 12 of 17 for 111 yards and a touchdown, with a Passing Efficiency Rating of 144.8 (2nd highest of the season, besides his performance against VMI).
To say that NC State dominated the time of possession battle is an understatement. The Wolfpack possessed the ball for 40:16, and Wake Forest only had the ball in their hands for 19:44.
NC State also won the turnover battle 2 to 1. True Freshman Kendrick Raphael did fumble the ball, but Sean Brown intercepted a pass, and Shyheim Battle recovers a fumble caused by Robert Kennedy III. Also, Linebacker Jaylon Scott had a pick-2 on a Wake Forest 2-point conversion attempt.
Also, this little nugget won’t do it justice, but Cornerback Aydan White was dominant, recording 3 pass breakups.
The Wolfpack will face a Virginia Tech team on the road next week that shares the same conference record of 4-2.
This season has been a weird one, but this Wolfpack fan is proud.
Kansas State Rolls Out Hype Video of Their Freshman Quarterback
When Kansas State lost their Offensive Coordinator Collin Klein to Texas A&M, the fear of Wildcat fans was that Freshman Quarterback Avery Johnson would follow. After 4-year starter Will Howard announced he would be entering the Transfer Portal, holding onto Johnson, who was a 4-star consensus prospect in high school, was a desperate need for K-State.
Kansas State rolled out a hype video of Johnson, revealing that he was changing his number from 5 to 2, which has been his number his entire life prior to college, establishing the fact that Johnson wasn’t going anywhere.
— K-State Football (@KStateFB) December 7, 2023
Johnson played in 7 games this season, completing 25 of 35 passes for 301 yards and 3 touchdowns, with no interceptions. He also rushed the ball for 225 yards and 6 touchdowns, averaging 5.0 yards per carry.
Out of high school, ESPN ranked Johnson as the #77 overall player nationally, the #3 dual threat Quarterback, and the #1 player in the state of North Carolina. Rivals ranked him as the #1 dual threat Quarterback.
NC State LB Payton Wilson Wins the Bednarik Award!
NC State’s Payton Wilson won the Butkus Award earlier this week, naming him the best Linebacker in college football. Tonight he won the Bednarik Award, which has been given out annually to the best defensive player in college football since 1995.
Wilson beat out Alabama Linebacker Dallas Turner and UCLA’s Defensive End Laiatu Latu.
Prior to this week, no NC State Linebacker had ever won the Butkus Award. Prior to tonight, no NC State defensive player had ever won the Bednarik Award.
Below is a list of the former Bednarik Award winners.
In one week, Wilson has done what no other Linebacker of defensive player at NC State has ever done.
Go ahead and retire the #11 already!
Wake Forest Transfer WR Welsey Grimes Commits to NC State!
NC State just picked up their first transfer of the 2024 class, and it’s a big one. Former Wake Forest Wide Receiver Wesley Grimes (6’2″/187) just committed to run with the Wolfpack.
As a Sophomore this season, Grimes caught 20 passes for 339 yards and 4 touchdowns in 12 games. As a True Freshman last year, he played in his 6 games, collecting 4 receptions for 33 yards and a touchdown.
In all reality, Grimes is coming home. He was a 4-Star prospect out of Millbrook High School here in Raleigh. ON3, 247Sports and Rivals all ranked Grimes as a Top-250 prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, with Rivals ranking him as the #36 overall player nationally, the #4 Wide Receiver, and the #2 player in the state of North Carolina.
From a recruiting rankings standpoint, Grimes instantly becomes the highest ranked player on NC State’s roster. Since he played as a True Freshman, Grimes has 3 seasons to play 2 years of eligibility.
Back in 2021, Grimes chose the Demon Deacons over NC State, Tennessee, Duke and Louisville. On December 8th, 2023, Grimes decided to come back home and run with the Pack.
Kansas State will be Without Their Offensive Coordinator & Starting Quarterback Against NC State
Kansas State will be without their Offensive Coordinator and starting Quarterback when they face NC State in the Pop-Tarts Bowl on December 28th.
New Texas A&M head coach Mike Elko, who just left the same position at Duke, paid big bucks to hire Wildcats Offensive Coordinator Collin Klein as his OC, who had been serving in the position at Kansas State for the past 2 seasons. For the past 7 seasons, Klein has served as the Wildcats Quarterbacks Coach.
This season, Kansas State ranks 23rd in Total Offense (446.1) and 14th in Rushing Offense (199.7).
As Quarterbacks Coach, he helped develop four-year starter Will Howard, who announced he would be entering the Transfer Portal on November 27th. This season, Howard earned 2nd Team All-Big 12 honors. In 12 games, he threw for 2,643 yards and 24 touchdowns (10 interceptions). Howard also rushed for 351 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Howard will be replaced by Freshman Avery Johnson. There was speculation that Johnson might follow Klein to Texas A&M, but he will be starting for the Wildcats in Orlando against the Wolfpack.