North Carolina State football took care of business Saturday night against visiting Eastern Kentucky defeating the Colones 35-0. The Wolfpack (2-0) didn’t start the game in the fashion coach Dave Doeren wanted. The first quarter was one the players and coaches would soon like to forget. The NC State offense had four penalties for 30 yards, gave up one sack, lost a fumble and had a field goal blocked. Going into the second frame, the Wolfpack and Eastern Kentucky were all knotted at 0-0.
NC State was able to get back on track in the second quarter, scoring on two consecutive drives to start the quarter to take a 14-0 lead over the Colonels (1-1). The Wolfpack would take the 14-0 lead into halftime. Coming out after the intermission, NC State would revert to the inconsistent play that plagued them in the first quarter. After two consecutive drives ended in three-and-outs, the Wolfpack were able to self-correct again and scored two touchdowns to take a commanding 28-0 lead they would not relinquish.
Jacoby Brissett had another good night passing – the senior went 17-for-22 for 216 yards and one touchdown. Brissett’s main target was Jumichael Ramos, who caught seven passes for 95 yards.
The NC State offenses was able to effectively move the ball the entire night in both offensive phases.
Cause for concern:
Playing mediocre teams, the Wolfpack can get away with giving up big plays (last week versus Troy) and slow starts. When conference play starts in three weeks, NC State needs to have these wrinkles ironed out. The Wolfpack have two weeks to get everything in order before they host Louisville.
The stout play of the Wolfpack defense was the key to the game. When the offense was shooting themselves in the foot, the defenses consistently stopped the Colonels on offense to keep the Wolfpack in the game. Of Eastern Kentucky’s 10 drives, the NC State defense forced eight three-and-outs, and had one turnover on downs. Led by Bradley Chubb who had three tackles, all tackles for loss, and a sack and Hakim Jones who had five tackles from his safety spot.
“I challenged our D-line this week that we needed to have more plays in their backfield,” said coach Doeren. “They (Eastern Kentucky) only had 35 yards rushing, so we were definitely getting more push out of our D-line. Coach (Dave) Huxtable made some good adjustments after last week. We lost our key guys from last year, so it’s good to see some of our guys to step up.”
On the Wolfpack’s fourth drive, they used a 10-play, 75-yard drive to take the lead 14-0. On the ensuing drive, Eastern Kentucky managed to drive the ball down to the NC State 9-yard line. That’s when the defense earned their stripes for the night. With fourth-and-goal at the 2-yard line, the Colonels were stuffed and the Wolfpack took over on a turnover on downs. The stop kept Eastern Kentucky from closing gap to 14-7.
Highlight of the night:
On a Bra’lon Cherry 38-yard punt return, Troy Vincent, Jr. provided the crowd with a little excitement when he came back for a vicious crackback block that enabled Cherry to scamper down the left side. This makes two weeks in a row the press box has given a collective gasp on a big hit.
Numbers don’t lie:
NC State had 443 yards of total offense. The hallmark of coach Doeren’s teams is balance, and the Wolfpack did that Saturday night: 244 yards passing and 199 yards rushing.
“Offensively we’re around 450 yards rushing and 450 yards passing after two games; so we’re pretty balanced,” said Doeren.
The Wolfpack defense allowed 112 yards of total offense en route to a shutout. That falls well under my prediction of under 200 yards of total offense. The boys on defense also only allowed the Colonels gain 20 yards of offense the entire second half.
The NC State offense scored on 50 percent of their drives, scoring on five-of-ten drives.
NC State visits Old Dominion Saturday, September 19, 7:00 PM. The game will be played at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium, Norfolk, Virginia