Last year, the Wolfpack had an excellent start, going 4-0 to open their season. Then, the reality of conference play set in, and they went on a four game losing skid, all to ACC opponents. They did finish the season strong, winning four out of their last five games. The proudest moment of the season was their victory against UNC at Chapel Hill. Ask any NC State fan, and they will tell you it doesn’t matter how poorly they play the whole season, as long as they beat UNC, they are happy. Last year was a great year for NC State; let’s see how 2015 is shaping up for them.
- Sept. 5th—Troy
- Sept.12th—Eastern Kentucky
- Sept. 19th—at Old Dominion
- Sept. 26th—at South Alabama
- Oct. 3rd—Louisville
- Oct. 9th—at Virginia Tech (Friday)
- Oct. 24th—at Wake Forest
- Oct. 31st—Clemson
- Nov. 7th—at Boston College
- Nov. 14th—at Florida State
- Nov. 21st—Syracuse
- Nov. 28th—North Carolina
The offense for the Wolfpack is led by QB Jacoby Brissett. Brissett was a transfer player from Florida. In his junior year, Brissett did excellent work throwing for over 2,500 yards, 23 touchdowns, and only five interceptions. The only bad part for Brissett is that his two top receivers transferred at the end of the season. The departure of two great pass catchers leaves the Wolfpack receiving corps looking rather thin heading into 2015. The rushing game for NC State was rather impressive last season with the Pack averaging 204.5 rushing yards per game. The running back that was responsible for the majority of those yards was Shadrach Thornton. Thornton rushed for almost a thousand yards last season and rushed for 9 TDs. Having such a great ground game kept their turnovers down to only 15 the whole season. Thornton is heading into his senior season this year and is looking to increase his draft stock. This season, the O-line is bringing back three starters who will hope to open plenty of holes. The line will also hope to protect their QB a lot better, seeing as they allowed over thirty sacks.
The rushing defense for the Wolfpack last season was average at best, allowing around 168 rush yards per game. The last five games of the season, the run protection became stouter by not allowing more than 85 yards in four out of five games. Sadly, for NC State, they lost three starters on their defensive line. This will be hard to replace, but there is some young talent to fill their shoes. The anchor of the line will likely be DT B.J. Hill, who had 40 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss last season. The pass defense for the Pack did an excellent job last season of preventing a lot of air travel. They allowed, on average, 204.7 pass yards per game, which ranked 30th in the nation. The secondary still has all of its members on the team and are looking to fly under a lot of their opponents radars and surprise them.
Strength of Schedule: 5 out of 10
The schedule for the Wolfpack is extremely soft through the first four non-conference games (Troy, East Kentucky, Old Dominion, and South Alabama). However, it soon gets harder for them as they have to face Virginia Tech, Florida State, and an up and coming Boston College team, all on the road. The schedule does swing in their favor some as they do have Clemson and Louisville at home. The biggest highlight of the season for NC State will be their home finale, when their rivals, the UNC Tar Heels, come to Raleigh. I feel the offense for NC State is pretty set up, besides the receiving situation. The defense is full of guys who are young and underrated who hope to step up and make a difference this year. I expect the Wolfpack to be able to make it to their fifth bowl game in the past six years.
2016 NFL Draft Prospects:
#12 Jacoby Brissett, QB, Senior—6’4”, 231 lbs
#10 Shadrach Thornton, RB, Senior—6’1”, 206 lbs
#20 Hakim Jones, FS, Senior—6’2”, 205 lbs
Austin Morris is the creator of The Scouting Lab. He is a graduate of National Football Post’sIntroduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. He can be reached email@example.com