NC State knew the history at Wake Forest but was helpless to do a thing about it on Saturday. The Pack didn't have an answer for Tanner Price or Michael Campanero and couldn't find any consistency offensively. It all culminated in a 28-13 loss to the Deacs and State's sixth straight defeat in Winston-Salem. Pack Pride takes a look bac at the Wolfpack's second loss of the season.
In a Nutshell
It's not like Wake Forest casts a voodoo spell on NC State when they
travel to Winston-Salem although it certainly appears that way at
times. And it's not just the 2013 version of the Wolfpack that has
struggled. Teams much more talented than this year's edition have
made the trip to Wake with identical results. Perhaps it's a mind
set. More likely, once again, was the Deacs appeared to be have a
better game plan and that, combined with Wolfpack mistakes led to
another loss for State.
Winston-Salem House of Horrors Continues
Dropped passes, blown coverages, personal fouls, roughing the
kicker, turnovers, presnap penalties- a perfect hodgepodge of junk
that effectively brought NC State down to Wake Forest's level.
Things that the Pack avoid against virtually every other team seem
to rear their ugly head each time State travels to Wake. Really, the
only thing missing Saturday was a Deacon's half back pass for a
State has had very few blown coverages in the secondary this year
but had costly breakdowns throughout Saturday's game.
The Pack has played disciplined all year but there was Jarvis Byrd
getting a crucial taunting penalty.
When was the last time State roughed a kicker on a field goal
At least now coach Doeren and staff have a taste of their own for
the road debacles that have become the norm at Wake Forest. The
chore now is to make sure it doesn't happen again headed forward.
Unfortunately, history isn't on their side.
Pack Has No Answer for Deac's Offensive Adjustments
You have to hand it to Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe. When things
aren't working he knows how to adjust to maximize his team's
strengths. Staring at a potential 2-4 start, Grobe attacked State
with a different offensive game plan than he had shown in the first
five games of the year.
Wake had their offensive linemen use wide splits which all but
neutralized the NC State front four. It also allowed Wake to
manufacture rushing yards with Tanner Price accounting for 94 of the
Deac's 114 yards on the ground. While not gaudy by any stretch, Wake
Forest's rushing yards came at critical times and was enough to keep
the Wolfpack guessing. This scheme also limited Wolfpack LB
Robert Caldwell's impact on the game. Clearly, State's defense is at
its best when Caldwell is making plays but he had just five tackles
on Saturday, well below his yearly average.
NC State played zone primarily but couldn't account for WR Michael
Campanero, a player who is a master at finding soft spots in the
defense. Whatever the reason, State simply didn't have or couldn't
find an answer to the Deac's offense.
Third Down Defense Abysmal
Wake Forest entered the game as one of the nation's worst at
converting on third down. As has been the case way too often, the
Deacs seem to save their best for NC State. Wake Forest converted on
7 of 14 third downs which was well above their 29% conversion
percentage entering the game. Three of those seven conversions came
on scoring drives.
Wolfpack Offense Grinds to a Halt
Many will blame QB Pete Thomas for the Pack's offensive struggles on
Saturday. Sure, he certainly made his fair share of mistakes but as
we've been saying all year, Thomas is a guy that needs to manage the
game. When State gets into a position where they have to rely on him
to singlehandedly make plays, they're going to struggle.
The Pack ran eight designed running plays in the second half against
Wake Forest. There were only two running plays in the fourth
NC State's offensive line simply isn't good enough to withstand a
pass rush when there's no threat of a running attack. Wake's
defensive line simply pinned their ears back and when they weren't
sacking Thomas, they were shoving State's offensive line back into
the face of Thomas.
This likely wasn't a one game problem for the Pack. To be successful
they have to be able to generate yards in the run game. If not,
well, the results were obvious against Wake Forest.
Lone Bright Spot
It was nice to see Quintin Payton having an impact for NC State.
With the emergence of Bryan Underwood, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and
JuMichael Ramos, Payton's role and touches have seemingly decreased
in 2013. With Smith and Valdes out for Saturday, Payton played like
a senior and made the most of his extra playing time by leading the
Pack with six catches for 98 yards and a touchdown.
It seems safe to say that Wake Forest threw NC State a changeup when
the Pack was expecting a fast ball. State didn't appear to have the
mental focus they've had in earlier games. They were unable to
adjust to the Deac's offense and couldn't figure out a way to
getting anything going consistently on offense.
It's on the coaching staff to get the team to bounce back and a home
game next weekend should be a huge help. The Pack has been
fundamentally sound much of the year and they have to return to that
to be competitive. Syracuse is a team with problems of its own but
State simply isn't good enough to take their foot off the throttle.
They have to prove that the Wake game was an anomaly and get back to
the style of ball that won three of their first four games.
Observations From the Game: Wake Forest
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