#49 North Carolina State Wolfpack

North Carolina State Wolfpack

Overall Rank: #49
#9 ACC

North Carolina State Team Page#49 North Carolina State WolfpackBuy North Carolina State Football Tickets

North Carolina State finished strong in 2014 to reach a bowl and keep their expectations high heading into 2015. The Wolfpack did start 4-0, but that was in non-conference games against Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, South Florida and Presbyterian. They lost their first four ACC games and bowl eligibility suddenly seemed like a daunting task. However, NC State finished strong, winning three of their last four regular season games and then followed it up with a 34-27 victory over UCF in the St. Petersburg Bowl. For a team that went from 3-9 in Coach Dave Doeren’s first year with the program to 8-5 in his second, there is good reason to hope for even better in his third.

2014 Record: 8-5, 3-5
2014 Bowl: St. Petersburg Bowl vs. UCF (W 34-27)
Coach: Dave Doeren (11-14 at N.C. State, 34-18 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Matt Canada
Defensive Coordinator: Dave Huxtable

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Shadrach Thornton, RB, 907 yards
Passing: Jacoby Brissett, QB, 2,606 yards
Receiving: David J. Grinnage, TE, 358 yards
Tackles: Hakim Jones, S, 80
Sacks: Mike Rose, DE, 5.0
Interceptions: Josh Jones, S, 4

Other Key Returnees: RB Matt Dayes, WR Bra’Lon Cherry, LB Jerod Fernandez, LB Dravious Wright, CB Juston Burris, CB Jack Tocho

Key Losses: WR Bo Hines, K Niklas Sade, DE Art Norman, LB Rodman Noel, DT Thomas Teal, P Will Baumann

The up and down, and then up again, play of the Wolfpack was largely because of quarterback Jacoby Brissett. When the Florida transfer slumped, so did North Carolina State. Overall though, Brissett had a great year, throwing for 2,606 yards and 23 touchdowns, while only being picked off five times. On the ground, he added 529 yards and three more scores. Brissett should be more consistent during his senior season and that will give this team the opportunity to compete with some of the better squads in the ACC. Running backs Shadrach Thornton and Matt Dayes will again be very dangerous out of the backfield. Thornton rushed for 907 yards and nine scores, while Dayes added 573 yards and eight scores. Dayes is particularly dangerous in the passing game, catching 32 for 321 yards and five more scores. When he gets out in space, Dayes is always a threat to go the distance. On the other side of the ball, NC State’s strength is in the secondary. Cornerbacks Juston Burris and Jack Tocho return to their starting spots and Coach Doeren also boasts leading tackler free safety Hakim Jones, strong safety Josh Jones, who picked off four passes as a freshman, and nickelback Dravious Wright, who had a very strong sophomore season.

The concern on defense is in the front seven, especially the front four where there are a lot of new faces. There could be as many as five sophomores starting on the line and at linebacker, many of which have very little experience. One sophomore that does have experience is linebacker Jerod Fernandez. He will be looked upon to be a leader in 2015. On the other side of the ball, the offense does need to find some playmakers at wide receiver. Leading receiver Bo Hines transferred to Yale, leaving tight end David Grinnage as the team’s top option after totaling 358 receiving yards. Bra’Lon Cherry is the most experienced wideout. The line is also a potential issue as the Wolfpack bring in two new starting tackles. There are experienced options like senior Alex Barr and promising freshmen like Tyler Jones, but it may take some time for the line to turn into a cohesive unit.

The Bottom Line:
Brissett could be one of the better quarterbacks in the ACC this season. If that is the case, North Carolina State will make some noise in the conference. Once again, the team plays an easy non-conference slate and should get out to a 4-0 start. After that it gets trickier. All they need to do is get two ACC wins to reach a bowl, but this group has much higher hopes than that. Winning at Florida State or at home against Clemson may be asking too much, but we will learn much more about how good this team will be on October 3rd when the Wolfpack host Louisville in their ACC opener. This is the game that will either catapult North Carolina State off to a hot start or keep them looking up at Florida State and Clemson from the day one.

Projected Bowl: Independence Bowl

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 204.5 (37th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 204.0 (82, 9)
Total Offense: 408.5 (57, 6)
Scoring Offense: 30.2 (55, 8)
Rushing Defense: 168.4 (65, 10)
Pass Defense: 204.7 (30, 7)
Total Defense: 373.1 (46, 10)
Scoring Defense: 27.0 (65, 13)
Turnover Margin: 0.38 (37, 5)
Sacks: 2.31 (48, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 2.23 (80, 11)

Madness 2015 Recruit Rankings:
#100 Johnny Frasier
#119 Darian Roseboro
#120 Nyheim Hines


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