It’s hard to be too critical of a program that’s won 18 games the last two years. If you are Clemson or Alabama, then maybe you complain. If you are NC State that means you are mostly beating the teams you should beat. That said there is still an emptiness to the Wolfpack’s 9-4 year.
When you look at the schedule where is the signature moment, the signature win? The win against Virginia is nice. The Cavaliers were pretty solid, but then what?
The Wolfpack lost by double digits to the best three teams they played – Syracuse, Clemson and Texas A&M. Clemson and Texas A&M really weren’t close either.
Texas A&M was a huge opportunity to change the narrative on the season. In the 2nd quarter the Wolfpack led 13-7, and it appeared NC State could have a competitive game with the Aggies. It looked like they’d have a chance to win.
It imploded in a flurry of turnovers, poor tackling and poor play-calling. The Aggies scored 45 straight unanswered points in a humiliating 52-13 bowl loss.
Dave Doeren has now been at NC State 6 years, and the Wolfpack are still looking for that OOC win that opens eyes around the country. What has been the best one so far?
2016 over a 4-8 Notre Dame team? 2017 over a 7-6 team Arizona State in the Sun Bowl? I’m not finding much else.
Dave Doeren deserves credit for turning NC State into one of the four best programs currently in the ACC. That counts for sure, but until there’s that nationally significant win, NC State will have a resume that is lacking something.
If the Wolfpack is going to truly turn the corner, they need their Clemson defeating LSU in the 2012 Chick Fil A moment. At the very least to have a truly special season; if not a program changer; they need wins like the 2014 Georgia Tech team that defeated top 10 Georgia and Mississippi State teams.
QB Ryan Finley will be gone next year, but NC State is in better shape than when Dave Doeren arrived. The Wolfpack are recruiting reasonably well too.
Monday’s loss was bad, but you have to be pretty good before you can be very good to great.
The Wolfpack have become a pretty good program. With a fairly manageable schedule in 2019, they should get another shot at winning 9 or 10 games again next year.