Knocking Off The Heels

NC State was looking to make a statement last season when they faced North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels were coming off a dominant win over Duke, and the expectations were they would easily handle the Wolfpack at home.

NC State was looking to make a statement last season when they faced North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels were coming off a dominant win over Duke, and the expectations were they would easily handle the Wolfpack at home.

However, the problem is Mike Rose and the rest of the team heard the chatter.

"What we heard that week was they were the best team in the state," said Rose. "We were tired of hearing that. A lot of people try to put us in the shadow of UNC, and we just really wanted to prove that we were the better team."

What has Rose been hearing about the two teams since?

"Nothing," he said, smiling. "I haven't heard anything actually. It's real quiet."

NC State dominated the game, defeating North Carolina 35-7 to give Dave Doeren his first win in the series. The Wolfpack stepped up on both sides of the ball, especially on defense where they shut down North Carolina's high-octane offense. The Heels averaged nearly 430 yards and 33.7 points per game last season but totaled just 207 yards and seven points against the Wolfpack.

It started up front for State, as they limited UNC to just 30 yards rushing while totaling four sacks.

"Our d-line coach Ryan Nielsen had a great plan cooked up," said Rose. "We changed up a lot. We stood up more. Some of the things we were doing, we were exploiting their blocking schemes. We went more at the blocking schemes than the players, and it worked out for us."

The Pack also played with an aggressive mentality, and the tone was set earlier in the week. Starting safety Hakim Jones made some comments about North Carolina star quarterback Marquise Williams that put some pressure on the Wolfpack defense.

Mike Rose

"He is very hesitant for the most part because he runs the ball a lot," Jones said of Williams. "So, after you hit him a few times, he basically almost quits. He doesn’t really like to get hit even though he runs the ball a lot of times in the game.

"Once you hit him a few times, he is going to hesitate [while] going to the hole and start trying to think of other options."

What did Rose think of the comments?

"You have to back him up," said Rose. "If he says we're going to put him out the game, we had to put him out the game. Which we did. We had to do it. I'm not going to let him look crazy."

NC State knocked Williams out of the game in the third quarter, and Rose, who spent time with Williams at the recent ACC Football Kickoff, admits it wasn't him.

"I talked to Marquise when he was here," said Rose. "He was laughing. I wasn't the one that knocked him out [of the game]. He thought it was me. It was one of my other teammates. It wasn't me. Close, but not me."

The defense received help in the win from the Wolfpack offense, a unit that totaled 454 yards with 388 coming on the ground. Leading the way was quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who rushed for 167 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries.

Was attacking North Carolina on the ground with Brissett the gameplan for the Wolfpack?

"We probably only called like five quarterback runs in that game," said Brissett. "They were just big plays that helped us get to the redzone where it only took like two plays to score.

"Whatever we needed to do we just did to win."

Brissett and Williams actually attended the recent Manning Passing Academy together where they were able to hang out and get to know each other.

"He's a cool guy," said Brissett. "I was with him at the Manning Passing Academy, and we hung out some there. He's a human being at the end of the day so you get past [the rivalry]. He's a good guy... really good quarterback, really good dude.

"He does most of the talking. He talks way more than I do."

This year's game will be held November 28th in Carter-Finley Stadium, the season finale and last home game for seniors like Rose and Brissett.

"I look forward to all of them," Rose said when asked if he prioritized the North Carolina game on the schedule. "But, I'll see Marquise when I see him."


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