CFN Take: NC State, Dayes Rip Apart Wake
Posted Nov 15, 2014

2014 North Carolina State Wolfpack ... Head Coach: Dave Doeren

2014 NC State Wolfpack

2014 Schedule
Record: 6-5

Aug. 30 Ga Southern W 24-23
Sep. 6 Old Dominion W 46-34
Sep. 13 at South Florida W 49-17
Sep. 20 Presbyterian W 42-0
Sep. 27 Florida State L 56-41
Oct. 4 at Clemson L 41-0
Oct. 11 Boston College L 30-14
Oct. 18 at Louisville L 30-18
Nov. 1 at Syracuse W 24-17
Nov. 8 Georgia Tech L 56-23
Nov. 15 Wake Forest W 42-13
Nov. 29 at North Carolina
Nov. 15 at NC State 42, Wake Forest 13
And You Care Because … Matt Dayes ran for a one-yard score and caught a seven-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, and ran for a two-yard score in the third as NC State rolled easily over the punchless Demon Deacons. Bryan Underwood added a 75-yard touchdown run in the first play of the second half, and Shadrach Thornton added a one-yard touchdown run for a 42-6 lead – Wake Forest could only manage two Mike Weaver field goals. The Demon Deacons finally got into the end zone on a four–yard Isaiah Robinson run in the fourth.
What Else? Rushing yards: NC State 445 – Wake Forest 219
- NC State RB Shadrach Thornton ran 16 times for 110 yards and a score
- Wake Forest QB John Wolford completed 15-of-32 passes for 161 yards
- NC State RB Matt Dayes ran 11 times for 66 yards and a score and caught four passes for 47 yards and a touchdown
Game Rating: D

Nov. 8 Georgia Tech 56, at NC State 23
And You Care Because … The Georgia Tech offense ran wild controlling the game after getting down 13-7 after NC State came up with a 15-yard Jacoby Brissett touchdown run and a 17-yard Matt Dayes dash. Helped by three takeaways from the NC State defense – including a 38-yard pick six from D.J. White and a 43-yard Quayshawn Nealy fumble return for a touchdown in the second quarter – the Yellow Jackets pulled away. Tim Byerly ran for two short touchdown runs and threw a 16-yard scoring pass to Antonio Messick, and Synjyn Days ran for a 53-yard touchdown as part of a 49-10 Tech scoring run.
What Else? Rushing yards: Georgia Tech 479 – NC State 155
- Georgia Tech QBs Justin Thomas and Tim Byerly combined to completed 7-of-8 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown and ran 19 times for 147 yards and three scores
- NC State QB Jacoby Brissett completed 18-of-35 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions, and ran nine times for team-leading 77 yards and a touchdown
- Third down conversions: Georgia Tech 8-of-10 – NC State 6-of-12
Game Rating: C+

Nov. 1 NC State 24, at Syracuse 17
And You Care Because … NC State got up 9-0 on three Niklas Sade field goals from 43, 43 and 21 yards out, but Syracuse took control with AJ Long touchdown passes from 15 yards out to Ben Lewis and 25 yards away to Steve Ishmael for a 14-9 lead. With the Orange driving late in the third to come up with a key score, Long was picked off by Pharoah McKever for an 82-yard touchdown, followed up by a two-point conversion from Jacoby Brissett to Matt Dayes. NC State made it 14 unanswered points on an 18-yard Brissett pass to Shadrach Thornton to put it away.
What Else? Turnovers: Syracuse 3 – NC State 0
- NC State QB Jacoby Brissett completed 20-of-32 passes for 186 yards and a score, and ran eight times for 16 yards
- Syracuse QB AJ Long completed 22-of-42 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns with two picks
- Syracuse WR Jarrod West caught seven passes for 161 yards
Game Rating: B-

Oct. 18 at Louisville 30, NC State 18
And You Care Because … It was Michael Dyer’s day, thundering past the Wolfpack and putting the game away with a 46-yard dash in the final minute. The Cardinals got two Will Gardner touchdown passes in the first half, but the offense kept stalling leading to three John Wallace field goals. NC State hunt around with Jacoby Brissett hitting David Grinnage twice for touchdowns, including a 21-yarder in the final minutes to pull within five, and Niklas Sade made two field goals, but Dyer proved to be too much.
What Else? Louisville RB Michael Dyer ran 24 times for 173 yards and a score
- NC State QB Jacoby Brissett completed 18-of-32 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, and ran 11 times for 40 yards
- Louisville QB Will Gardner completed 21-of-36 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns
- Third down conversions: Louisville 9-of-16 – NC State 6-of-14
Game Rating: B-

Oct. 11 Boston College 30, at NC State 14
And You Care Because … A thunderstorm delay couldn’t slow down a Boston College rushing attack that rolled up 310 yards and helped crank out 20 unanswered points in the second half. NC State got a two-yard Tony Creecy touchdown run and a 16-yard David Grinnage scoring pass in the first quarter, but that would be it. BC always had an answer, mostly coming from QB Tyler Murphy, who scored on runs of 47 and 26 yards out, and with Sherman Alston and Jon Hilliman each adding touchdown dashes.
What Else? Time of possession: Boston College 38:43 – NC State 21:17
- Boston College QB Tyler Murphy completed 12-of-19 passes for 101 yards, and ran 15 times for a team-leading 132 yards and two scores
- NC State QB Jacoby Brissett completed 14-of-30 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown with an interception
- NC State ran 28 times for 43 yards and a touchdown
Game Rating: C-

Oct. 4 at Clemson 41, NC State 0
And You Care Because … The Tigers dominated throughout with Deshaun Watson throwing two touchdown passes to Mike Williams from 56 and 31 yards out, and he ran for two short scores. The defense did the rest, keeping NC State to 156 yards and getting a 16-yard Vic Beasley fumble return for a touchdown in the fourth. Ammon Lakip hit field goals from 31 and 43 yards out for the Tigers.
What Else? Clemson QB Deshaun Watson completed 17-of-29 passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns, and ran 15 times for a team-high 62 yards and two touchdowns.
- NC State QB Jacoby Brissett completed 4-of-18 passes for 35 yards
- Clemson WR Mike Williams caught six passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns
- Yards per pass: Clemson 8.9 – NC State 1.8
Game Rating: D

Sept. 27 Florida State 56, at NC State 41
And You Care Because … NC State appeared to be in control with a 24-7 first quarter lead helped by two terrific touchdown passes from Jacoby Brissett – starting out with a 54-yard pass to Bo Hines on the second play of the game – but Karlos Williams, Jameis Winston and the Seminoles took over and fought their way back. Williams ran for three touchdowns including two in the fourth quarter, and Winston threw four touchdown passes including two to Jesus Wilson in the comeback. Down ten with just over 20 minutes to play, Winston found Wilson from 15 yards out to start out a 28-3 run to close out. NC State pulled within eight on a 25-yard Niklas Sade field goal, but the Noles went on a 75-yard drive that took over four minutes, finishing off with a 12-yard Williams run, to put the game away.
What Else? Florida State QB Jameis Winston completed 26-of-38 passes for 365 yards and four scores with two picks
- NC State QB Jacoby Brissett completed 32-of-48 passes for 359 yards and three scores, and he ran 13 times for 38 yards. The Wolfpack finished with 520 yards of total offense.
- Florida State RB Karlos Williams ran 21 times for 126 yards and three touchdowns, and caught three passes for 29 yards
- NC State’s Jerod Fernandez came up with both Winston interceptions. FSU turned the ball over four times.
Game Rating: A-

Sept. 20 at NC State 42, Presbyterian 0
And You Care Because … NC State overcame a sloppy first half to win with ease with Jacoby Brissett throwing three touchdown passes and running for another. Bryan Underwood caught a 65-yard touchdown pass in the third, and Matt Dayes followed it up with a 68-yard scoring dash in the shootout.
What Else? Time of possession: Presbyterian 37:46 – NC State 22:14
- NC State QB Jacoby Brissett completed 14-of-21 passes for 195 yards and three touchdowns, and he ran five times for 22 yards and a score
- NC State QB Matt Dayes ran six times for 86 yards and a score
- Yards per carry: NC State 8.5 – Presbyterian 2.7
Game Rating: D

Sept. 13 NC State 49, at South Florida 17
And You Care Because … NC State’s offense exploded, and the defense came up with three takeaways, in the easy blowout. The Wolfpack to up 49-7 with Bra’Lon Cherry scoring three touchdowns from 17, 17 and three yards out, and Matt Dayes taking off for a 34-yard touchdown. USF tied the score at seven on a 75-yard Ryeshene Bronson touchdown catch, but didn’t get back on the board until the final minutes, getting the only other touchdown on a 46-yard pick six from Lamar Robbins with 46 seconds to play.
What Else? NC State WR Bra’Lon Cherry caught three passes for 50 yards and a score, and ran twice for 20 yards and two touchdowns.
- Other than the 75-yard Ryeshene Bronson touchdown catch, USF managed just 84 yards of total offense.
- NC State QB Jacoby Brissett completed 20-of-29 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns.
- USF quarterbacks combined to complete 5-of-20 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown with two picks.
Game Rating: D+

Sept. 6 at NC State 46, Old Dominion 34
And You Care Because … Jacoby Brissett threw two touchdown passes and Shadrach Thornton ran for three touchdowns including a 23-yarder to put the game away late in the fourth as NC State had to fight to get by. It was a nip and tuck game with each team having an answer for the other until the Wolfpack took control with a Stephen Louis 16-yard touchdown catch late in the third and a ten-yard scoring dash from Matt Dayes early in the fourth, but ODU wouldn’t go away with Taylor Heinicke throwing his second touchdown pass of the day, finding Antonio Vaughan for a nine-yard score with just under six minutes to go. NC State answered going 37 yards in five plays with Thornton finally putting the nail in the coffin.
What Else? NC State QB Jacoby Brissett completed 21-of-29 passes for 253 yards and two scores, and ran seven times for 45 yards.
- ODU QB Taylor Heinicke completed 35-of-49 passes for 274 yards and two scores with a pick, and Ray Lawry ran 14 times for 71 yards and three scores.
- NC State RB Shadrach Thornton ran 14 times for 86 yards and three touchdowns, and Matt Dayes added 13 carries for 79 yards and a score.
- Old Dominion gained 504 yards, NC State 495.
Game Rating: A-

Aug. 30 at NC State 24, Georgia Southern 23
And You Care Because … Down 17-3 in the second half, NC State rallied back on three Jacoby Brissett touchdown passes with two to Bra’Lon Cherry from six and 11 yards out and a 35-yarder to Matt Dayes with 1:37 to play to finally get over the hump. Georgia Southern drove back and had one last chance, but the drive stalled on fourth down. Kevin Ellison threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Kentrellis Showers in the final second of the first half and Matt Breida ran for a 61-yard score for the Eagles.
What Else? Georgia Southern is a good team – don’t let this be a discouraging close call, NC State. Remember, this is the GSU program that beat Florida last season, and it gave the Wolfpack a fight to the gun.
- Jacoby Brissett rallied the Pack back when he had to, completing 28-of-40 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns and a pick, and he ran for 28 yards.
- GSU LB Edwin Jackson was fantastic, making 13 tackles and getting all over the field. However, defensively, there wasn’t any pass rush and there was little to no pressure on Brissett in the second half.
- The Georgia Southern offense didn’t change up that much. Kevin Ellison completed 9-of-16 passes for 184 yards and a score, and he ran 20 times for 116 yards.
Game Rating: A

2014 Preview 

Tom O’Brien was fired at the end of the 2012 season because NC State had grown tired of mediocrity. Mediocrity never looked so good in Raleigh.

The Pack is looking for a fresh start after going 3-9, dropping the final seven games and failing to win an ACC matchup for the first time since 1959. The debut of head coach Dave Doeren didn’t go as planned, as State proved incapable of delivering in the latter stages of tight games. A new year, though brings new hope and a wish to turn the page as quickly as possible.

As a program, State has traditionally struggled to get over the hump; the school’s last ACC championship occurred in 1979, and it’s won 10 games in a season just one time. Still, there’s cause for optimism in the Triangle. Not only does Doeren have a better grasp on his personnel in Year 2, but he’s excited about the bumper crop of high school talent that signed letters of intent in February. Oh, and the quarterback position has a lot more clarity than it did a year ago.

Jacoby Brissett isn’t a savior. He is a major upgrade. One of the Pack’s myriad—and biggest—issues in 2013 was a lack of consistency behind center. Doeren & Co. tried everything, yet State still threw more interceptions than touchdown passes. For the coach’s attack to work, the quarterbacks must do a better job of delivering the ball. And that’s where Brissett enters the discussion. The Florida transfer sat out last season, yet he still impressed the staff from the scout team. He is in many ways the prototype of what Doeren is after in a triggerman.

Brissett gives the locals a reason to smile. The rest of the roster will provoke frowns. The Wolfpack doesn’t stack up well versus the ACC’s tougher teams, which will create instant opportunities for the heralded rookies, like DE Kentavius Street, WR Bo Hines and CB Troy Vincent. The staff has let it be knows that every position will be up for grabs this offseason … except quarterback.

Doeren has been a success at every stop on the career path, from his days as a coordinator at Kansas and Wisconsin to being the head coach at Northern Illinois. He’s going to win in Raleigh as well. But fans of the program will need to be patient, as the young and inexperienced roster is gradually improved and groomed. The Pack will be better in 2014, in part because the team can’t get much worse. The extent of its improvement will depend on the play of the lines and the maturation process of the rookie class.

What to look for on offense: A return of the old Bryan Underwood. Nothing went right for Underwood in 2013. His battery mates weren’t ACC-caliber, and a broken collarbone ended his season with five games left. Healthy again and eager to get back on the field, Underwood is determined to become Jacoby Brissett’s top target. Brissett will want to rebuild the confidence of a clutch playmaker who caught 10 touchdown passes on just 44 receptions two years ago.

What to look for on defense: More pressure from the front four. The State line has far too much talent to produce only 20 sacks, last season’s meager output. The Pack was last in the ACC at getting to the quarterback, which is unacceptable. Most of last year’s starters are back, including DE Art Norman and agile tackles T.Y. McGill, Thomas Teal and Monty Nelson. There are no good excuses why the D-line can’t crank up the pressure and disrupt the quarterback’s rhythm in the fall.

This team will be much better if… it finds a backbone every so often in the red zone. The Wolfpack lost seven times in 2013 when games were competitive in the final quarter. A key reason for the late collapses? A failure to make stops at critical junctures of games. NC State ranked a miserable 120th nationally in red-zone defense, allowing 80% of trips inside the 20-yard line to result in touchdowns. Coordinator Dave Huxtable is doing whatever is necessary to ensure that the D has a little more bite in 2014.

The Schedule: As long as there isn't a slip on the road against a South Florida team still trying to find itself, the Wolfpack should be 4-0 - with one more win than it came up last year - before having to deal with Florida State and Clemson in back-to-back showdowns. The game against the Tigers start a run of three road games in four dates with trips to Louisville and Syracuse to follow a game against Boston College. Hosting Georgia Tech and Wake Forest are must-wins before finishing up at North Carolina.

Best Offensive Player: Junior QB Jacoby Brissett. The Pack is hoping to have found a poor-man’s Cam Newton, a big, dual-threat quarterback who began his college career in Gainesville. Doeren and the coaching staff have been floored by Brissett, from his leadership skills to his maturation as a passer. In fact, Doeren named his newcomer the starter long before any controversy could develop. NC State is counting on Brissett being more than just a numbers guy in 2014 and 2015. The school expects him to spearhead a renaissance in Raleigh.

Best Defensive Player: Senior DT Thomas Teal. State needs to apply more pressure than it did in 2013. Teal will fuel the charge from the interior. NC State notched a league-low 20 sacks last fall, which caused a ripple effect throughout the back seven. Teal will be the leader of a veteran D-line that’ll have no excuses if last season’s defensive futility is repeated. And when he’s tied up with a double-team, it’s going to help free up his linemates in the trenches.

Key player to a successful season: Senior LT Rob Crisp. Actually, it’s Brissett, but the quarterback won’t even approach his full potential if he isn’t properly protected. The Wolfpack gave up 35 sacks in 2013, which was more than every ACC team except Pitt. The 6-7, 300-pound Crisp has been granted an additional year of eligibility after missing most of 2013 with a concussion. State hopes he uses the extra season on campus to protect Brissett’s blindside, while elevating the overall play of a sketchy O-line.

The season will be a success if ... the Wolfpack is a part of the postseason, even if it enters through the backdoor. Is NC State bowl-worthy in 2014? Not yet. But is the schedule tailor-made for at least six wins? You bet. The Pack is set up to start 4-0 against Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, South Florida and Presbyterian, which would generate much-needed momentum in Raleigh. While there are no gimmes after Sept. 20, it would take just two more wins over two months to reach the six needed to be bowl-eligible.

Key game: Nov. 15 vs. Wake Forest. If September goes as planned, this visit from the in-state Demon Deacons could be the potential clincher for bowl-eligibility. State always wants to take down Wake Forest, regardless of the specific circumstances. But if the Pack is 5-5 in mid-November, with a trip to Chapel Hill on Nov. 29 still left, this fall’s edition of the rivalry will take on special meaning at Carter-Finley Stadium.

2013 Fun Stats:
- Yards per rush: NC State 3.8 – Opponents 5.0
- Sacks: NC State 20 – Opponents 36
- Red-zone touchdown%: NC State 44% – Opponents 80%

- 2014 NC State Preview - What You Need To Know & Top Players  

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