FINAL GRADE: NC State's Defense vs. Virginia Tech

Looking back at the win over Wake Forest, how did NC State's defense fare? Who were the standouts on that side of the ball? What grade would you give the defense?

The defensive line was dominant.

Led by senior Mike Rose, the d-line made it a point to get after the quarterback, and they really set the tone defensively for the Wolfpack... totaling six sacks as a unit.

NC State got to the point where the front four was so disruptive they didn't need to blitz, and that's a great position to be in because you can mix up your coverages even more.

"I thought our d-line pressure and our DB-underneath linebacker coverage complimented each other well last week," said Dave Doeren.  "At times we had some disguises built in that helped the coverage."

Huge test for State this weekend, but the defensive line is coming off their best performance of the year.

NC State needed the seniors to step up, and Mike Rose gave the unit a huge lift. The lone senior in State's front seven, Rose harrassed the Deac quarterbacks all game, finishing with three sacks.  What was even more impressive was all three came on third down, effectively ending drives for the defense.

Rose now leads the ACC in sacks (6.5).

"We went out there and executed," said Rose.  "That is the difference. In the past two games we didn’t execute as we should and this one it came all together."

Joining Rose in the sack party was his backup, true freshman Darian Roseboro.  Roseboro played just 32 snaps but totaled four tackles, two sacks, and two pass breakups.

Roseboro is second on the team and 11th in the ACC in sacks (4.0).

"Me and Mike came into game and said we need to take over the game," said Roseboro.  "The whole D-line group needed to take over, get takeaways and make plays."

"I am happy for the young kid, the young freshman," Rose said of Roseboro.  "He is having a good season. I hope the best for him next year. I think he is going to be a critical player for NC State next year."

He didn't record a sack, but sophomore defensive tackle B.J. Hill continue to impact in the trenches.  He led the Wolfpack in tackles (6) and added a tackle for a loss, pass breakup, and quarterback pressure.

Hill is currently third on the Wolfpack in tackles (28), really impressive given his position.  He's a major reason why NC State has a Top 15 rushing defense.

A- Given the importance of this game, it was a really good performance by the defense.  Wake's not a juggernaut offensively, and they did have a late touchdown drive when the game was over to skew the stats a bit, but overall this game was all about the Wolfpack defense.

Seven sacks... 11 tackles for a loss... five pass breakups... an interception on a trick play... 4-of-16 third-down conversion defense... six three-and-outs... overall it was a strong effort.

Clemson's going to be a much tougher test, but credit to this unit for going on the road and taking care of business.

"I thought the defense started fast and played pretty good football for four quarters... didn't have any letdowns," said Doeren. "They had one long run they made, a 69-yard run on a third down scramble and obviously they need to get that guy on the ground. That's the only run play in the game that had any factor on them moving the football."

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