A lot has been (deservedly) made of the fantastic play of NC State’s red shirt freshman quarterback, Russell Wilson.
Wilson has performed better than almost anyone could have dreamed this season and has therefore promised to make the quarterback competition with freshman Mike Glennon interesting to watch in the future. (What a nice ‘problem’ to have).
Wilson is playing so well that our own BJD walked the line of heresy without raising much ire by making the following comment after the Wolfpack’s win over Duke this weekend:
Russell Wilson made plays with his legs and arm. Heâ€™s getting better at using his mobility to buy time for receivers to break open, rather than always choosing to tuck and run. You may consider this heresy, but I believe heâ€™s playing better and smarter than Philip Rivers in his freshman year (of course, he didnâ€™t have the luxury of a redshirt).
This week, The Big Tailgate’s Dan Mason penned a blog entry focusing on this past weekend’s win and Wilson’s strong play that can be read by clicking here.
While the Wolfpack will likely finish under .500, they guy who has brought considerable headaches and attention to defensive coordinators across the ACC footprint is Russell Wilson. Once again at Duke this past weekend, Wilson demonstrated why he continues to be a beacon of hope for Wolfpack fans. His poise in the pocket for a red-shirt freshman is terrific. He feels pressure very well and understands where his go to targets are at all times. Donâ€™t get me wrong. Wolfpack receivers made some outstanding plays to go up and get some balls this past Saturday but Wilson knows what he has on the edges and the playmakers they are.
Additionally, the guys at ACCNow have their weekly podcast posted and Caulton Tudor alludes to the interesting quarterback situation next year right before he says “my gut tells me that NC State wins this game (Wake Forest) this weekend.”
It’s no secret that the Wolfpack still has a chance to lay exclusive claim to the elusive mythical ‘State Championship’ with wins over Wake Forest and Carolina over the next couple of weeks. Another link to ACCNow.
Mack Brown would be so proud the concept of the “state championship” lives on 11 years after his departure from UNC.
The Wolfpack is 2-0 against in-state opponents and suddenly inspired for the next two games against Wake Forest and UNC.
On a side note, if State played Duke’s schedule, the Pack would be bowl eligible by now. And if Duke played State’s schedule, the Devils would be 3-6.
The Wolfpack kicks-off at 3:30pm on ESPNU as a 3.5 point underdog to the Demon Deacons on Saturday. With the injuries that NC State has battled this season it is always important to check the Wolfpack’s depth chart before any game. Unfortunately, I didn’t see Julian Williams name among the offensive linemen.
Yet Another has a statistical look at the match-up.
Right away you can see that Wake’s strength this season is their defense. Their offense, typically strong under Grobe, has really been lacking in production this year, especially their running game. That’s a great sign for State fans, as that plays to the strength of the Pack defense.
Wake’s passing game is the stronger than their running attack but it’s still not a world-beating unit, 80th and 61st in yardage and passing efficiency, respectively. When compared to the Pack’s pass defense, though, they still stand apart in the rankings with a better than 20-spot advantage in both categories.
The good news is that as previously injured Pack players continue to work themselves back into playing shape, the effectiveness of the Pack pass defense should improve.
The question will be can State’s offense, that looked so good in the first half against Duke, have similar success against a very stout Wake defense. The disparity in the rankings seem to suggest no, but the one chink in the Deacon armor may be their pass defense. And with Russell Wilson continuing to improve each week passing the football, State may have opportunities passing the ball downfield.