There have been times this season when watching NC State’s offense has felt like pulling teeth.

The Wolfpack, which boasts 1 of the country’s finest defensive units, just hasn’t been able to move the ball with much efficiency. NC State ranks 92nd in the Football Bowl Subdivision with just 5.4 yards per play, and against Clemson the Wolfpack mustered just 279 yards and 4 yards per play.

Now as NC State heads into another tough ACC matchup against Florida State, it has to get its offense rolling better. And the answer just might be to run the ball more against the Seminoles.

So far this season, Florida State’s is among the strongest passing defenses in the ACC. The Seminoles rank 22nd in the FBS in passing yards allowed per game and 20th in yards allowed per attempt. FSU’s secondary is loaded, and it’s playing really well. The most recent ACC Defensive Back of the Week, Jammie Robinson, leads the way, as the Seminoles are doing a good job of shutting things down through the air.

But against the run, the Noles haven’t been quite as strong. Florida State is allowing 150 yards per game and almost 4 yards per carry, as the Seminoles rank in the middle of the FBS in both stats.

So as NC State heads into a meeting with Florida State, it has a little bit of a blueprint on how to beat the Seminoles — thanks to Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons, like the Wolfpack, haven’t been a super run-heavy team this season, but they did carry the ball at a high volume against Florida State.

Wake Forest rushed 51 times for 171 yards in beating the Seminoles 31-21, and while 3.4 yards per carry isn’t exactly great, the Deacs kept going to the ground the week after establishing no run whatsoever against Clemson. It worked for Wake Forest.

So for NC State’s offense, offensive coordinator Tim Beck’s unit has to get the ball in the hands of Jordan Houston and Demie Sumo-Karngbaye more than it did against Clemson. The duo rushed just 12 times for 42 yards in the game, though Houston found some holes when he got the ball and averaged 4.6 yards per carry.

Still, the Pack went away from a run game quickly against the Tigers and attempted 48 passes for just 245 yards. Yes, NC State was playing from behind and Clemson’s defensive front is among the best in the country, but the balance still was a detriment to the Pack.

“We probably got a little impatient with the run game,” coach Dave Doeren said. “I think moving forward, yeah, we want to be more balanced than we were in that game.”

It’s a trend that wasn’t new for NC State, which ranks 96th in the FBS with 33 rushing attempts per game and 95th with 132.8 rushing yards per game. Sumo-Karngbaye and Houston both have had some good games and good moments, but neither got a chance to really establish themselves Saturday night against the Tigers.

Now against this FSU team, the Wolfpack has to get that changed. And there’s no reason it can’t, as Wake Forest showed. The Demon Deacons rushed 39 times against Clemson, much more than NC State, but had similar success. They turned around and relied on the running game against the Seminoles, and they won.

Houston and Sumo-Karngbaye really are talented backs, and NC State’s offensive line has a high level of experience and potential. The Wolfpack hasn’t gotten the run game going against the better teams it has played, with just 3 yards per carry against a trio of Power 5 or Group of 5 opponents.

But with Florida State coming to Raleigh on Saturday night, the Pack needs to find a way to get Houston and Sumo-Karngbaye more involved.