College Football Preview: The 2014 North Carolina State Wolfpack
2014 College Football Preview
Odds to Win National Championship: N/A See the Latest Odds
2013 Review: The North Carolina State Wolfpack had their most disappointing season since 2006, finishing with a 3-9 record and failing to reach a bowl game for the first time in four years. The Wolfpack just couldn’t get much going on either side of the ball, as they were 99th in the country in points scored and 84th in points allowed. North Carolina State had the ninth worst defense and the seventh worst offense in the ACC, making it tough to compete in a solid Atlantic Division. In fact, the Wolfpack were winless in conference play last season.
Offense: The Wolfpack should be a lot better offensively considering seven starters return from last year’s unit. Rashard Smith returns at wide receiver after leading NC State in receiving yards, while Shadrach Thornton is back for another year at starting running back. The Wolfpack also return four starting offensive linemen, which is always a good thing for a team looking to improve. The big question is who starts at quarterback. The most likely candidate is Jacoby Brissett, who is a Florida transfer and can run the spread offense better than any other player on the roster.
USA TODAY Sports
Defense: Despite losing their top three tacklers from last year, North Carolina State does return eight starters on the defensive side of the ball. That does include Art Norman and Thomas Teal, a defensive line duo that racked up a combined 7.5 sacks last season. Cornerback Jack Tocho did intercept two passes as a freshman and has great potential heading into his second season. Defense has been a long going issue for the Wolfpack, as they’ve finished eighth or worse in the ACC in five of their last seven years. With an experienced bunch, maybe this is the year that trend changes.
Special Teams: Kicker Niklas Sade returns after making 19 of 23 field goals and Wil Baumann is one of the best punters in the ACC with an average of more than 42 yards per kick. North Carolina State has a solid special teams unit this season with these two guys.
Outlook: North Carolina State is going to be much better than it was last season with most of its team returning. But with Florida State, Clemson, Louisville and North Carolina on the schedule, it’s tough to get an idea of just how better that will be. If the Wolfpack can improve defensively and get consistent play out of their quarterback, they do have potential to qualify for a bowl appearance. There will be chances to make good money on this team this season.