NC State football: Stock report following Week 5
After a promising 3-1 start to the season NC State played Louisville in Week 5. The Wolfpack didn’t earn the win and now sit at 3-2 with Week 6 on the horizon. Bill Cowher’s Ring of Honor ceremony was overshadowed by a disappointing loss.
The offense didn’t play well, but NC State still had a 10-0 lead heading into the second half. Dave Doeren’s team couldn’t score any more points after that and were shut out in the final two quarters to lose 13-10.
Next up on the schedule is Marshall. Before then, here’s how NC State’s stock looks ahead of Week 6:
Player of the Week: Payton Wilson
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Player of the Week was on the defensive side of the ball after NC State’s offensive struggles. Payton Wilson was everywhere on Friday.
Wilson finished the game with 10 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery. The veteran led the way for NC State even if the offense had some problems.
These kinds of outings are becoming routine for Wilson. He’s played in every game so far and accounted for 56 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 2.5 sacks.
There weren’t too many bright spots for the Wolfpack, but Wilson was definitely one of them.
Newcomer of the Week: Bishop Fitzgerald
Bishop Fitzgerald committed to NC State this offseason out of Coffeyville Community College. He earned his first interception in an NC State uniform on Friday.
Fitzgerald was another player on defense who kept the Wolfpack in the game with the offense stalling. He came up with a huge turnover as Louisville was driving in the red zone. Jack Plummer made a rushed throw and Fitzgerald was there to capitalize.
This may be his first season in Raleigh, but he is showing why NC State needs his veteran experience.
— NC State Football (@PackFootball) September 30, 2023
Biggest surprise: Terrell Timmons Jr.
With Kevin Concepcion not able to make many plays, Terrell Timmons Jr. stepped up. Timmons led all NC State wideouts with 71 yards receiving.
Concepcion has solidified himself as the top receiver on the team. Brennan Armstrong looked to Timmons with Concepcion covered. Timmons has already surpassed his numbers from last season. He had 79 yards receiving a year ago.
This loss is going to sting for NC State fans, but it will be nice to know that Armstrong has another reliable target to throw to if Concepcion can’t make all the plays.
Biggest concern: Scoring inconsistencies
The most points that NC State has been able to score this season is 45, but that came against VMI. Outside of that game, the highest number has been 24 so far.
It’s looking like the game against VMI turned out to be more of an outlier. Scoring 10 points in a college football game is not going to do you many favors in the long run.
There are some tough games in the near future for the Wolfpack and the offense will need to be better for the team to have a chance. Duke, Clemson, Miami, Wake Forest, and North Carolina are some of the games that await the Wolfpack after Marshall.
NC State is averaging 25.4 points per game offensively heading into Week 6. The Wolfpack rank 11th in the ACC in scoring.
Changes are going to have to be made for the offense to improve.
Developing trend: Turnover issues
The turnovers are starting to become a problem for NC State as well. In five games, the team has a total of seven turnovers. Brennan Armstrong accounted for all three in the 13-10 loss to the Cardinals on Friday.
Armstrong had 2 interceptions and lost 1 fumble in the game. His passing stats were 13-of-25 attempts for 112 yards passing. Most of the turnovers for the Wolfpack have come from Armstrong, which is a trend that needs to change. Armstrong now has six interceptions against only five touchdowns.
Key stat: 20 yards rushing
There wasn’t a lot of good to talk about on the NC State side in this game. However, the defense held Louisville in check on the ground, allowing just 20 yards rushing.
The Wolfpack have allowed 95.6 rushing yards per game. If there is one strength to the defense, it’s stopping the run. NC State ranks third in the ACC rushing yards allowed.
There’s plenty to fix on offense, but at least Doeren knows that his run defense can keep him in games.
First impression about Week 6:
N.C. State fans may be thinking that the Thundering Herd could be a good chance to reset. That might be true, but this is the same team that upset Notre Dame in South Bend last season.
Cam Fancher is still under center for Marshall. He has 890 yards passing with 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions through 4 games.
NC State will need to take Marshall seriously if another performance similar to the Louisville game happens. The Wolfpack could be feeling the same thing Notre Dame fans felt against Marshall last season if the offense struggles again.
Week 6 will be the first time NC State and Marshall have played since 2018. Kickoff will be on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET on CW Network.