NC State fell to 3-3 (0-3) on Saturday after a disappointing 24-10 loss to Syracuse. The Orange scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter behind a strong rushing effort to pull away from the Wolfpack. Pack Pride takes a look back at the game.
In a Nutshell
There were several things that went wrong for NC State this weekend
but three factors in particular doomed the Pack's effort. State
couldn't get anything going consistently on the ground, they
couldn't protect QB Pete Thomas and they gave up way too many big
run plays to Syracuse.
State rushed for 129 yards but managed less than three yards per
carry. Conversely, Syracuse averaged an eye-popping 9.1 yards per
carry. It's virtually impossible to win in a game with that kind of
When the Pack tried to throw the ball, Thomas was sacked four times
and forced to run ten times. Most of those rushing attempts were of
the unscripted variety and recent history has shown that when Pete
Thomas is being forced to run the football, it doesn't bode well for
When asked, coaches will typically confirm that injuries affect
their team but try to steer clear of making excuses. That has been
the case with Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren. But let's be real
here. State isn't necessarily a very good team when everyone's
healthy so losing guys like Jarvis Byrd, Rashard Smith, T.Y. McGill,
Rob Crisp, and Joe Thuney is nothing short of catastrophic. To add
insult to injury, Jack Tocho is inserted as a starter at corner, has
the game of his life and even he goes out with an injury after
recording his second interception. The bye week couldn't have come
at a better time and the Pack has to get most of their injured
starters back if they hope to have any shot at making a run to bowl
eligibility headed down the stretch.
Stat of the Game
55, 57, 48- Three runs and 169 yards resulting ultimately in three
touchdowns. It's hard to recall a time in recent memory when an NC
State gave up three home run rushes in a game. Perhaps you give up
one and maybe two, but three in a game in inexcusable. On all three
there didn't appear to be a safety or linebacker within 10 yards of
the play and after an initial burst through the line of scrimmage it
was clear sailing down the field. Obviously someone wasn't where
they were supposed to be and it was disturbing that it happened
Had State gone on to win Saturday you could have looked back at Mike
Rose's effort on Tyson Gulley's 55 yard run as one of the best plays
by a Wolfpack defensive lineman all year. Rose tracked Gulley down
from behind and tackled him at the three which was critical at the
time because the Pack held Syracuse to a field goal and a slim three
point lead. The fact that a defensive end ran better than half the
field to tackle a running back was certainly one of the highlights
of the weekend.
There wasn't a lot to cheer about this weekend but the Pack did have
three bright spots that may bode well for the future. Travares
Copeland continues to emerge and finished the game as State's second
leading receiver with four catches for 45 yards. You could compare
him favorably to former Wolfpack WR Tobais Palmer and we're looking
forward to him getting the ball out in space. While you've seen
glimpses of his potential, it would be nice to see what he can do in
a open field.
The tight end position hasn't been used to any great extent this
year but perhaps that will change headed forward as David Grinnage
is proving himself to be a pretty nice weapon in the passing game.
After a one handed, juggling catch a week ago, Grinnage made another
nice reception, hauling in a deflected pass while falling down. He
also had a 21 yard touchdown reception which was probably tougher
than it appeared just because he was so wide open.
Jack Tocho was inserted at cornerback this week because of the
injury to Jarvis Byrd. Sometimes you wonder if a young guy is big
enough for the moment but Tocho more than held his own. In fact, he
was probably State's top defender against Syracuse. His two picks
were obvious but Tocho also made a tremendous break on an out
pattern that was broken up and nearly intercepted as well. Tocho has
been one of those rare freshmen that have impressed from day one and
he made the most of his opportunity this weekend. If Saturday was
any early indicator, Tocho has the potential to be a good one before
he leaves NC State.
Recruit, Recruit, Recruit
This coaching staff has a reputation for being good recruiters and
the early results have been promising- and that's a good thing.
State desperately needs an infusion of talent, not just at a couple
of positions but virtually across the board. Losing is going to make
the job more difficult and they'll likely have to fend off programs
that will try to poach their commitments in the coming months. So
far everyone that is in the boat sounds solid but the Wolfpack will
not be able to take any of them for granted. Two areas the Pack can
sell are the opportunity to contribute early and a fan base that
loves their team. Maintaining what they've got and adding a few more
will be critical for the foundation of Doeren's program headed
The Pack gets a week off and it couldn't have come at a better time.
Realistically State should get back the lion's share of their
injured players by the time they start prepping for Florida State
While you do get back some of your more talented performers, the
thing you can't replace are the reps that the group has missed over
the last several weeks.
NC State will be a huge underdog against Florida State and for good
reason. Don't think for a second that the Pack won't go into that
game looking for an upset. At the same time, being even a little
objective, there's other goals State can shoot for as well. The Pack
has to show that they can turn this season around and pointed in the
right direction. Even after a loss to Clemson, most everyone felt
good about the Pack's effort. State has to get back to that level
and it needs to start in a little under two weeks against the Noles.
Observations From the Game: Syracuse
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