Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wolfpack posts mature performance on weak Wake defense

N.C. State accomplished what it had to do on Saturday for homecoming, which says a great deal about the maturity of this team. Good teams win games they are supposed to win, and the Wolfpack did just that in a 38-3 victory over Wake Forest before a throng of 57,161 at Carter-Finley Stadium.

If this was Russell Wilson's last game for the Pack, then he went out with a sharp performance, completing 24 of 35 throws for 300 yards. But Wake wasn't much of a match for him, and that has been the refrain for the Deacons this season.

Jim Grobe rebuilt Wake with a creative offense and sound defense, but his defense has let him down this year. The Deacons gave up 38 points and actually improved their scoring defense average, which came into the game a miserable 38.3 points per game. That brutal defense is the reason Wake is now 2-8 and 1-6 and has an eight-game losing streak, its longest since 1978.

You can pretty much go through the checklist and see why this was such a rout for N.C. State. On just about every pregame question, the Wolfpack came up big:

@ Red zone offense? Check - State scored on all five times inside the red zone, including four touchdowns.

@ Concerns about the kicking game? Check - true freshman Chris Hawthorne of Raleigh made his only attempt, of 25 yards, and also kicked five extra points. Hawthorne kicked off seven times for an average of 63.7 yards.

@ Ready for Nate Irving to break out? Check - he had a school-record eight tackles for loss.

@ Questions about the run game? Well, that remains an issue. State's leading rusher was Wilson, with 17 yards. James Washington had five carries for 13 yards, Curtis Underwood two for 12, Mustafa Greene six for 12 and Dean Haynes one for 1. That hardly strikes fear into the UNC defense.

But other than that, this was a game you expected N.C. State to dominate - and, like a good team should, it did.


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