Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Season wrap: NC State
By Andrea Adelson
NC State went into the season with a new head coach, a new starting quarterback, and new faces at just about every position on the field and the sideline. But nobody expected the Wolfpack to turn in one of the worst seasons in recent memory. Thanks to injuries, inconsistency at quarterback, and a scheme change on offense and on defense, NC State went 0-8 in ACC play, its first winless season in the league since 1959. The defense had moments when it played really well, especially in a close loss to Clemson in September. But neither Pete Thomas nor Brandon Mitchell proved adept enough at handling the spread scheme coach Dave Doeren brought with him from Northern Illinois, and the Wolfpack averaged just 22.8 points per game.
Offensive MVP: Rashard Smith. One of the bright spots on the offense was Smith, who led the team in receiving yards (530) and all-purpose yards (1,201). Smith ended up ranked No. 7 in the ACC in all-purpose yards and No. 3 in punt return average, returning two punts for touchdowns.
Defensive MVP: Robert Caldwell. The middle linebacker made quite an impact in his first year in the starting lineup. Caldwell led the team with 105 tackles, including 14.5 for loss. He ended up No. 3 in the ACC in tackles per game (8.8) and 10th in tackles for loss.
Best moment: The 40-14 victory over Louisiana Tech in the season opener. The way the Wolfpack handled a team that won nine games in 2012 gave many people hope there would be plenty to build off. But the injury to Mitchell in that game ended up costing the Wolfpack, who ended up with only two more wins (including a struggle over Richmond).
Worst moment: ACC play. We can single out the moment that could have changed the course of the season -- Bryan Underwood’s long TD run against Clemson that was called back because an official ruled he stepped out of bounds and whistled the play dead. The ACC later said it was “unclear” whether Underwood had indeed stepped out. The touchdown would have given the Wolfpack the lead. Clemson won 26-14.