In its first three games, the Wolfpack had not generated enough big plays on offense or created as many turnovers as head coach Dave Doeren would have liked. NC State also had yet to trail or face any type of threat in 2015.
As for the latter, South Alabama promptly put NC State on its heels Saturday with a scoring drive to take the lead within the game’s first two minutes. The capacity crowd at Ladd Peoples Stadium sensed some amazing would happen.
In that regard, the fans were right. NC State would respond to the attack promptly and breached USA’s defense repeatedly over the course of the evening. The Wolfpack scored four touchdowns in the first quarter and the rout was on.
The, 63-13, laugher on Saturday left South Alabama in tatters and had NC State’s sports information office scouring through the record book in an exhausting effort to accurately itemize the litany of records the Pack broke in Mobile.
NC State had dominated time of possession in its first three games as the Wolfpack eclipsed over 40 minutes each contest. While Doeren was pleased with how well his team was keeping the ball away from the opposition, he couldn't help but lament the lack of big plays--which attributed to how long the Pack had the ball.
The 40-minute plateau was not reached against the Jaguars but no one will likely complain. The big plays that Doeren pined for came by the bushel. NC State scored three times on plays of over 30 yards, including Matt Dayes romping for a 77-yard touchdown immediately after South Alabama took the lead.
The Wolfpack scored a remarkable nine touchdowns against a South Alabama team that reached the postseason last year and was coming off a win at San Diego State. NC State set a school record with seven rushing touchdowns and only one of the scoring drives last over four minutes.
"They (North Carolina State) are better than us," said South Alabama head coach Joey Jones. "They have agood team; they’ll be a top-25 team in my opinion. They’re that kind of football team."
In concise terms, NC State marched up and down the field with impunity. The second longest scoring drive of the game was over four minutes long. It was by South Alabama and resulted in a field goal.
The nonconference slate is now over for NC State and the 2015 campaign is about to get down to the nitty-gritty. The Wolfpack will head into its ACC opener against Louisville at home full of confidence and relatively injury-free.
It is set up for NC State to do something special over the next few months. The Wolfpack created an opportunity. Beginning in October, it is time for the team to seize it.