I am doing the ACC non-Pitt opponents in alphabetical order. That means NC State.
Dave Doeren enters his tenth year as HC of the NC State Wolfpack. Overall. He is 64 – 49 (34-40 Conf, 27-6 Ooc, and a 3-3 Bowl record). He has hit his stride in the last 5 years 39 – 23 (25-17 C, 13-4 O, 1-2 B). He has had two losing seasons and the 2021 bowl game was cancelled.
All that leads us to last year results and the upcoming 2022 schedule.
NC State has mastered the art of out of conference scheduling.
Here are the Rivals 5.7 and above 2022 commits. Also included is the current Transfer Portal (TP) addition.
As you know, I like to use color coding to highlight certain items – light blue for eligibility, reddish pink for TP entries and a bright green for medical, grades or disciplinary reasons. NC State has a commit who would be a bright green for still being a verbal.
NC State has lost 8 scholarship players to the TP this year – Five from the offense, two from the defense and a kicker.
On to the stars identified as NCAA team leaders in selected stats or members of the All ACC teams.
The offense revolves around QB play. I have added sacked and yards lost to the QB chart.
Behind Leary and Finley, the only scholarship QB on roster is 2022 signee M.J. Morris a Rivals 5.8 4 Star. To shore up their QB depth, the Wolfpack picked up past FCS Charleston Southern long time starter Jack Chambers as a graduate walk-on. Chambers is not currently listed on the 24/7 transfer port NC State page.
As I was drafting this article, it dawned on me that there could be a huge shakeup in Atlantic division starting QB’s in 2023. Cunningham (Louisville class of 2017) and 2018 class Leary, Jurkovec (BC) and Hartman (Wake).
NC State running backs and receivers 2021 activity. Also returning production for the first four teams reviewed.
We got a new leader in lowest returning production. Actually, I was surprised when I realized that NC State’s stat. I had to recheck my figures to see if I made a math/link error. I did not.
In my opinion, I do not think NC State expected Zonovan Knight to go pro.
NC State’s OLine stats:
Sacks as a percentage of total plays were 3.1%. That could change the Pass/Run ratio from 54%/46% to 57% to 43%.
While NC State lost one starter (the 6’th overall NFL draft pick), they are still very solid. At one point, Zavala, a starter (injured in the 5’th game last season) was denied a medical extra year. But in another appeal won his case. In 2017, Zavala started as a true freshmen at Fairmont State (WV). He played 3 games before being injured and sitting out the balance of the year. He transferred to NC State in 2021.
The Wolfpack returns 5 players with solid starting credentials. With that inexperienced returning RB roster, they will need that OLine to do their job. Only around 7% of plays resulted in negative plays.
That wraps up the NC State Offense. On to the defensive review.
NC State had a whopping 51 players make a defensive stat. But fourteen of them were offense players. An additional two were special teams players. That leaves 35 defensive players making a stat.
The chart below strips out the non-defensive players and thirteen players who did not make at least double digit tackles. I did leave a player who only made 5 tackles. He is high-lighted in yellow and more on him later.
I did add a total line for the 22 players on the chart. You can compare those numbers to the summary totals for all defensive stats.
NC State is returning basically all of their defense. The only slight weakness is in their LB group. And that is where the player high-lighted in yellow comes in to play.
Payton Wilson was injured in the first game (South Florida(USF)) of the 2021 season. In 2020, he was a first team All ACC selection. Here is his stats from 2020.
That is a significant gain offsetting the one LB the Wolfpack lost.
I am impressed with NC State. They have a solid football team returning except for the running back position. Somehow, NC State needs to find a running game that improves on their 2021 99’th rated rushing offense. If that happens, the October 1’st game against Clemson may decide the Atlantic division championship. That wraps it up. Next is Wake Forest, the team who won the Atlantic last year and has a shot at winning the division again.