GRADES: Solid Team Win

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Pack Pride grades NC State's performance in the 48-14 win over Central Michigan.

How did the Pack fare in the win?

OFFENSE: B-
The NC State offense had their moments and accomplished a lot of what they wanted to do, especially in terms of creating explosive plays and producing big runs at tailback.

The Wolfpack had at least five runs of 18+ yards, including 42 and 29-yard touchdown runs by Matt Dayes and Shadrach Thornton respectively. Mix in an 80-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Underwood and a 25-yard catch by Rashard Smith, and the big plays were there.

However, the unit still has some work to do along the offensive line, as they struggled at times to generate a push, particularly at guard and center.

DEFENSE: B+
Strong effort by the defense in the win, especially when you consider defensive line contributors Darryl Cato-Bishop and Forrest West didn't play.

It started with an interception return by D.J. Green and included two other forced turnovers while holding Central Michigan to just 259 yards of total offense.

The Pack had a shutout heading into the fourth quarter, but two scores by the Chips early in the final period made the score probably closer than it really was.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A-
This could have been a strong A had it not been for the Wil Baumann mishap in the fourth quarter that resulted in short field for the Chips.

Rashard Smith scored on a 67-yard punt return, and kicker Nik Sade hit six extra points and two field goals in the win.

Anytime you can generate that type of scoring from special teams (while not allowing any huge special teams scoring plays) it's huge for the team.

OVERALL: A-
A solid non-conference win for the Wolfpack.

First of all, the gameplans on both sides of the ball were impressive. The offense did a great job of using their speed on the perimeter to open up running lanes inside the box. They also attacked the secondary vertically and continue to find ways to manufacture rushing yads behind a line that is still gelling.

Defensively, Dave Huxtable clearly had his group prepared to face Central Michigan's pro-style offense. The defensive line established a new line of scrimmage, and the linebackers and defensive backs tackled well in space.

NC State came in double-digit favorites and did what you're supposed to do in those situations... win convincingly.

They cut down on penalties, gave up very few big plays, and played with intensity and fast on both sides of the ball.

Next up for the Wolfpack: a road game at Wake Forest. who is coming off a 56-7 loss at Clemson.


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