NC State’s most impressive performance was in a close loss to No. 3 Clemson, 26-14. The game could have been even closer if receiver Bryan Underwood wasn’t ruled out-of-bounds on what appeared to be an 83-yard touchdown. However, the officials blew the play dead, which made it unreviewable. Atlantic Coast Conference officials later stated that they made a mistake by stating it was “unclear” whether the receiver actually stepped out of bounds.
Doeren brought his successful spread-offense with him to NC State in hope that the quarterbacks in Raleigh could pick up the new playbook quickly. But both Pete Thomas and Brandon Mitchell had a tough time imitating Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch. Thomas and Mitchell combined to throw only 11 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Of course whenever you’re starting two different quarterbacks throughout the season, the offense is really struggling—and I think scoring 15 touchdowns all year is definitely struggling. If Doeren wants to improve this offense next season, he’ll have to develop a quarterback.
The Wolfpack defense had a hard time slowing down opposing offenses—which you would expect when only winning three games. The defense gave up 30.2 points per contest, which was only better than Virginia (34.5) in the ACC. But if you’re going to win in a major BCS conference, it’s imperative to stop opposing teams from running the football. Not winning a conference game all season shouldn’t be a surprise after hearing the Wolfpack gave up 180 yards per game on the ground.
Yes this is a failing grade, but let’s not lose perspective on the situation for the Wolfpack. NC State lost its former starting quarterback Mike Glennon to the NFL and also brought in a new coach. With a new coach comes a whole new playbook. When you take a new playbook and add in inexperienced players, there will most likely be a struggle. Give Doeren a year or two to recruit players for his system and I’m sure there will be more wins for this program.