The N&O’s Joe Giglio jumps into a retrospective of the Wolfpack’s 7-5 season in this article.
Lots of interesting numbers in the article…that basically point to the simple conclusion that “we don’t suck as much as we did in Doeren’s first year”
To Doeren’s point, in 2014 N.C. State lost five ACC games by an average of 23.4 points and two games by more than 33 points.
This season, N.C. State lost five ACC games by an average of 13 points and didn’t lose any by more than 17 points.
The Wolfpack sprinted out to a 28-0 lead at Wake Forest on Oct. 24, for its first win in Winston-Salem since 2001.
It had a 20-19 lead on Clemson, the No. 1 team in the country, with a minute left in the first half. Just the year before, the Tigers destroyed N.C. State, 41-0 on the road.
The Pack also held a 17-7 lead at Florida State, a place it had been out-scored 83-17 on its previous two trips, midway through the second quarter.
Ultimately, I think the season boils down to two games where Doeren & Co failed to deliver that would’ve been transformative for both our record and for our relative positioning against our competitive — Louisville and at Virginia Tech. Had NC State not laid tremendous eggs when given the opportunity to win both of those games we would all be feeling SO much better; but, interestingly, I believe that our bowl placement would probably be identical to how we ended up, regardless — we’d be in Charlotte at the Belk Bowl.
My summary points are as follows:
(1) N.C. State (7-5) finds itself a day before Christmas in nearly the same exact spot it was last year, with the same record and almost the same vital statistics, albeit with a loss to rival North Carolina in the regular-season finale instead of a win.
(2) Early October losses to Louisville and Virginia Tech, in particular, extinguished any hope of the team’s preseason goal of “raising the bar.” Key lapses, like in the first quarter of the Louisville game or second quarter at Virginia Tech and the opening quarter of the UNC game, crippled N.C. State’s chances at surpassing last year’s win total.
(3) Given the 3-5 finish in the ACC, even with rare road wins at Wake Forest and Boston College, the negatives counter-balanced the positives. That explains an equally unsettling answer to a different question.
We will definitely have more coverage and commentary on football through the Pack’s Belk Bowl battle with Mississippi State (see uniforms by clicking here).