NC State Hosts Wake Forest: Winner Goes To a Bowl!
Wake Forest (5-4, 3-4) at NC State (5-4, 2-3), 3:00 PM, RSN
Wake Forest and NC State are both a win away from securing bowl eligibility. But NC State in particular has bigger problems right now.Even with a few days to think about it, on Monday NC State head coach Tom O’Brien still seemed puzzled as to what happened to his team last week in a 33-6 loss at home to Virginia.
“Somewhere between Thursday and Saturday, something changed. You talk to the offensive coaches, they thought they had a really good week of practice. There was enthusiasm. They were sharp,” O’Brien said. “But then we went out a lot of guys on offense didn’t play very well. That’s as bad as we’ve played I think offensively all year.”
The Wolfpack offense has started to sputter mostly because of everyone around quarterback Mike Glennon. His wide receivers are still dropping passes, he’s getting hit seemingly every other play and there’s no running game to complement the passing attack. That’s the biggest thing NC State needs to fix right now. NC State has one rushing touchdown in five ACC games, the fewest in the league. While Wake Forest has allowed 12 rushing touchdowns in seven league games, the Deacons are fourth in league-only rush defense.
“We definitely have to pick it up in the running game. The past weeks, we haven’t done so good,” running back Tony Creecy said. “Missing (guard) Zach Allen has been a key part to this, but it can’t be the only thing we have to depend on. Zach Allen was a great blocker, and we have other great blockers. Myself, I have to pick it up more. I have do better on my reads. I have to run the ball tougher. With that, we’re going to do better in the run game.”
But NC State’s defense has been guilty, too. In the first quarter of its last two games, opponents have gouged the Wolfpack defense on at least one trick play. “It’s definitely frustrating when we continue to let those type of plays work against us early in the game but by now, it’s out there that teams are going to try something early,” senior safety Brandon Bishop said. “If we continue to allow them to have success then they’re going to continue to show up early in games. So we’ve got to be prepared and we’ve got to know what assignments are and just execute and make sure that we don’t give up those big plays.”
NC State can’t reach ten wins (in the regular season), can’t win a de facto state championship and are all but out of the Atlantic Division. O’Brien is going to have a difficult task on his hands to try to get this team motivated to play out the string. “I’ve been along and seen a lot of wins, seen a lot of losses, good wins and good losses,” O’Brien said, “but it still comes back to my convincing them that this is what they have to get done and that we have to get it done, get their minds right and get them focused on the things that are important for them to have success this week. Then they’ve got to believe in it and they have to do it.”
Moments in Wake Forest-NC State history: North Carolina-Virginia might be the oldest rivalry in the South, but the Wake Forest-NC State series is the longest continuous one in the ACC (every year since 1910). The first time they played was in 1895 in Raleigh, and the result was a 4-4 tie. (#goacc). Wake has won five of the last seven in the series, but NC State has won two of the last four. Wake trails the all-time series at NC State, 19-33-4.
Riley Skinner breaks down NC State’s crossing routes:
Watch this video, try not to listen to the names and glance at the dates and tell me what year it’s from.
I wonder if this NC State fan will be putting his face in “bananna pudding”(sic) this week.
Prediction: NC State, 34-24. Obviously, the Wolfpack should win this game easily. But you could have said the same last week (and I did). Wake Forest has gotten its passing attack going again since wide receiver Michael Campanaro returned two weeks ago, passing for 532 yards in the last two weeks. Since beating Florida State, NC State’s defense has let up 1,478 yards in three games (492.7 per game). Wake has just 580 yards in three road games (193.3), but State can’t take that for granted. They have to come out better than they did last week. Wake head coach Jim Grobe had to be licking his chops watching North Carolina and Virginia come out and torch the Wolfpack with trick plays early. He’s got plenty in his arsenal, and if NC State isn’t careful it will find itself trailing early yet again.