TSX: Pack Has Issues

Cincinnati exposed so many cracks in the Wolfpack that it will be difficult determining a priority order for a fix-up plan.

The Wolfpack suffered a 44-14 non-league loss to Cincinnati on Sept. 24, dropping its record to 2-2.

"I had too many things to talk to them about," N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien said of the postgame speech. "The list was too long."

It's the fifth loss by 30 or more points in O'Brien's five seasons with the Wolfpack.

"I wouldn't say it was an attitude issue or (that) we weren't ready for it," N.C. State linebacker Audie Cole said. "I don't see anyone to blame but us for it. We got embarrassed. That's not what we're out here for."

The offense was sluggish, too. Only two long touchdown passes to receiver T.J. Graham prevented a shutout. Three first-half turnovers caused serious damage, while enduring six sacks in the game added to the problems.

The running game was basically non-existent. Courtesy of six sacks, the Wolfpack ended up with minus-26 rushing yards.

N.C. State has trailed by a combined 24-0 after the first quarter of its two games this year against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents.

-- N.C. State yielded 41 points through three quarters in the loss to Cincinnati. That matched the most points given up by the Wolfpack in any full game last year.

-- The Wolfpack visited St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati for its pregame walk-through. That's the high school attended by coach Tom O'Brien and offensive coordinator Dana Bible.

KEEP AN EYE ON: P Wil Baumann -- His continued development has been a bright spot. The true freshman averaged 42.2 yards per punt in the first half and then boomed a 52-yarder after N.C. State's first possession of the second half stalled against Cincinnati.

LOOKING GOOD: CB David Amerson intercepted his ACC-leading fourth pass in the first half against Cincinnati. The rest of the N.C. State team has combined for three interceptions.

STILL NEEDS WORK: The Wolfpack's rushing attack proved nearly non-existent against Cincinnati, not that there was much of an effort to create much on the ground. Because of sacks, the Wolfpack was stuck with a minus-26 yards rushing. But the running backs had a total of 12 rushing attempts, and that's not enough to build balance on offense.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "They came out fast, furious and intense and we didn't match that." -- WR T.J. Graham on Cincinnati's energy that led to the most points allowed by N.C. State since the 2009 season (or a span of 21 games).

-- The Wolfpack is in need of a complement to receiver WR T.J. Graham, a speedster. It could turn out to be WR Jay Smith, a senior who's involved in the offense but hasn't shown the big-play capabilities that might be necessary from a wideout.

-- LB Audie Cole, a senior who has appeared out of sync in his new role on the defense in the middle rather than on the outside, was aggressive against Cincinnati by making eight first-half tackles on his way to a career-high 15 stops.

-- In what was another sign of the depleted defensive front for the Wolfpack, DT Jacob Kahut, a 245-pound transfer from Campbell, wasn't even listed on the N.C. State two-deep for the Cincinnati game. But he was in the middle of the interior line in the first half trying to help slow down the Bearcats.

-- WR T.J. Graham's 87-yard catch and run, in which he broke Cameron Cheatham's attempt at a tackle, provided the Wolfpack with its first points at Cincinnati. It ranks as the fifth-longest touchdown reception in school history. Graham has eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark for three consecutive games, this time finishing with 176 yards and two touchdowns.

-- DE Jeff Rieskamp, a senior from Cincinnati, made the trip for the game in his hometown but he didn't suit up because of a shoulder injury that has caused him to miss three games.

-- DT A.J. Ferguson returned to the game against Cincinnati after leaving with a knee injury.

-- S Brandon Bishop said he missed part of a series early in the second half against Cincinnati because of cramping. He made five of his eight tackles in the first quarter.

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