NC State football: Predicting the rest of year for Pack
Things have not gone as expected for the NC State football team in 2022.
The Wolfpack, with preseason hopes of winning its 1st ACC title since 1979, is 5-2 overall and 1-2 in ACC play. ACC Preseason Player of the Year Devin Leary is out for the season with a chest injury, and even before the quarterback’s abrupt exit the Wolfpack’s offense wasn’t playing well.
Any thought of winning the ACC is long gone, and even hopes of a 10-win season feel somewhat lost at this point.
Here’s how the rest of the season could shape up for the shorthanded Wolfpack:
Oct. 27 vs. Virginia Tech – Win
Even with Jack Chambers at quarterback, it’s hard to pick against NC State in its next contest.
For starters, Carter-Finley Stadium on a weeknight has proven to be an incredibly tough place to win for a visiting opponent. The Pack has won 5 of its past 6 Thursday or Friday home games, including last year’s comeback win against North Carolina and a 2017 win against Lamar Jackson and Louisville.
And on top of that, Virginia Tech is just really bad. The Hokies are 2-5, and they boast maybe the worst offensive in the Power 5.
NC State’s defense still is an exceptional unit. Playing at home under the lights, there’s a chance Virginia Tech doesn’t score against the Wolfpack. This should be a win for NC State.
Nov. 5 vs. Wake Forest – Loss
With a full-strength NC State offense playing to its potential, this would have been among the marquee matchups of the ACC season.
Instead, this feels like a game that Wake Forest simply will be able to outscore NC State. Quarterback Sam Hartman and the Demon Deacons’ offense are a threat against anyone, and Wake Forest should be able to move the ball some against the Wolfpack’s defense.
On the other side of the ball, a Chambers-led NC State offense probably doesn’t have anywhere near the firepower needed to keep up. The Demon Deacons put up 45 points on Clemson’s defense in a double-overtime shootout. Even if NC State’s defense fares better, Wake Forest still should be able to outscore the Pack with relative ease.
Nov. 12 vs. Boston College – Win
Similarly to Virginia Tech, Boston College is pretty bad. The Eagles are 2-4 and 1-3 in ACC play, with the win in conference against Louisville.
BC managed 14 points against Florida State and only 3 against Clemson, and the Eagles defense also has struggled pretty badly. The Wolfpack will get BC in Raleigh, and it should be a nice day for the Wolfpack.
Defensively, NC State likely will have an answer for anything BC throws at it. Offensively, a few more weeks under Chambers should have the Wolfpack playing a little better, and it won’t take too much to top the Eagles.
Nov. 19 at Louisville – Win
Louisville is an interesting team. The Cardinals are coming off a big win against Virginia, but they lost to Boston College the week prior.
As a whole, Louisville isn’t very good. The Cardinals are pretty middle of the road in the ACC on both sides of the ball, but they’ve had a couple of games during which they’ve looked alright. They played tight with Florida State, and even though Virginia is bad that win is solid.
Having to go on the road will be tough for NC State, but the Pack’s defense still will be the best unit on the field by far. This should be tight, but NC State’s abilities to stop Louisville’s offense could make a difference.
Nov. 25 at North Carolina – Loss
Last year a struggling North Carolina team traveled to Raleigh and so nearly knocked a hot NC State team off its pedestal.
The Wolfpack might be hoping to go to Chapel-Hill and do the same toward the end of this season, as the Tar Heels have very real aspirations of making the ACC Championship game while NC State has had a fairly disappointing season relative to expectations.
The big difference is Carolina had quarterback Sam Howell for that game last year, and this year the Pack will travel to Carolina without Leary. While UNC’s defense has struggled all season and might allow more to a Chambers-led Pack than any other team, the high-powered Carolina offense should be able to put enough points on the board in this game.
NC State probably won’t be able to stave off Carolina’s attempt at revenge.