College Football Preview: The 2015 North Carolina State Wolfpack
North Carolina State Wolfpack Preview
2014 Record: 8-5 (37th of 128) Won St. Petersburg Bowl 34-27 vs. Central Florida
Odds to Win National Championship: +40000 See the Latest Odds
Overview: The North Carolina State Wolfpack are coming off an eight-win season and have clinched a bowl game in four of their last five seasons. Dave Doeren has brought excitement back to the program and has the Wolfpack fanbase feeling really good right about now. The next step would be NC State winning double-digit games for the first time since 2002.
Offense: NC State has its playmaking quarterback in Jacoby Brissett, who completed nearly 60 percent of his passes and threw 23 touchdowns. Brissett also rushed for more than 500 yards and can really be a difference maker when he’s clicking. The Wolfpack also return their top-two rushers from last season in Shadrach Thornton and Matt Dayes, a duo that produced nearly 1,500 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. NC State could have the best rushing offense in the ACC this season after ranking fourth last year. David Grinnage had five touchdowns on 27 receptions and Bra'Lon Cherry averaged more than 13 yards per reception. The only concern with NC State’s offense is the offensive line with both of last year’s tackles no longer on the roster.
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Defense: NC State hopes to be better on the defensive side after ranking 10th in the ACC in total defense. Hakim Jones returns as the team’s leading tackler and freshman Jerod Fernandez proved himself as a freshman at the linebacker position. Mike Rose was fifth in the ACC with 14 tackles for loss and Jack Tocho proved himself as an above-average cover corner with 11 pass deflections. The only concern I have with the Wolfpack’s defense is on the line, as it lost a ton of sack production with the losses of Thomas Teal, Art Norman and T.Y. McGill. Overall, North Carolina State has difference makers on the defensive side and should be able to improve on last season’s numbers.
Special Teams: Kyle Bambard will replace Niklas Sade at kicker. Freshman A.J. Cole could end up replacing punter Wil Baumann.
Overall: With all the talent on the offensive side and the potential improvement defensively, North Carolina State could be that sleeper team in the ACC. This is a team that made a huge jump last season and has to be eyeing this year as a chance to hit yet another level. I like this Wolfpack team and wouldn’t be surprised if they push every other squad in the Atlantic.