After losing 27-19 to North Carolina, NC State is 0-5 in the ACC and 3-5 on the season with four games to play. Needing to win three of its last four to become bowl eligible the Wolfpack have questions that must be answered before hosting Duke next Saturday. The Blue Devils are 6-2 with a Coastal Division championship still in sight. Can NC State build on its first half versus North Carolina to pull up an upset over the Duke Blue Devils?
Can Brandon Mitchell improve his effectiveness through the air after some early success against North Carolina?
Mitchell started the game Saturday connecting on five of his first six passes, but finished the first half 6-11. His receivers did not help him with two key drops, but as North Carolina saw more of Mitchell the less effective he became. Mitchell appeared to be most effective on option plays where he was rolled out of the pocket presenting a threat of run or pass yet as the game progressed NC State implemented more two-man routes and dropping Mitchell back in the pocket. Mitchell finished the day with over a hundred yards rushing however his QBR rating was 15. Mitchell has to be more effective through the air. Before Pete Thomas entered the game on the last two possessions NC state had only 130 yards through the air.
Will NC State continue to turnover the football?
Brandon Mitchell through two more interceptions against North Carolina without any touchdowns. This has been an issue for NC State all season throwing only four touchdowns to 12 interceptions. Those numbers are not going to win any games in the ACC unless you are Miami playing North Carolina.
NC state needs to finish drives
This is obviously not a question, but after scoring five times Saturday the difference in winning and losing was the Wolfpacks inability to put the ball in the end zone. The only time they scored a touchdown was after Bryn Renner’s terrible interception at the Tar Heels own twenty-five yard line. NC States four other scores were off of field goals. As inconsistent as North Carolina was their ability to finish scores off with touchdowns was the difference in winning 27-19.
Dave Doeren needs to earn some trust by his fan base
A head coach has to make decisions at times that are risky however Doeren’s decision to fake a punt up 10-0 on its own 28 yard line was purely stupid. You can argue that if they make it he is a hero, but when you have an offense that struggles with a ten point lead this risk is not worth it. The stadium was into the game and just like that he gave north Carolina the ball with a short field which resulted in a touchdown to cut the lead to 10-7. You have to be aware of momentum, situation and North Carolina’s formation showed no tendency that a fake to the up back would work. Call me anything you want to, but this was the difference in this game. Dave Doeren was focused after the game on North Carolina stomping on the Wolf when he should have been focused how he stomped on NC State’s chances of winning with this call.
I had a chance to speak with several people who have been close to NC State football and I did not feel any were sold on the new coach to this point. Granted injuries and tom O’briens recruiting history is difficult to overcome, but what is the identity or stamp on this team from Dave Doeren?
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