2014 North Carolina State Wolfpack Team Preview

Team Info
North Carolina State Wolfpack
Head Coach: Dave Doeren
2013 Record: 3-9 overall, 0-8 ACC Atlantic
2013 Bowl Result: None
2013 Returning Starters: 7 offense, 7 defense

Betting Info
Odds to win 2015 College Football Championship Game: Field 30/1
Odds to win 2014 ACC Championship Game: 100/1
Odds to Win 2014 ACC Atlantic Division: 40/1
Regular Season Wins: over 5.5 -140 / under 5.5 +110
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NC State looks to improve on a 3 win season in 2013.
NC State looks to improve on a 3 win season in 2013.

In 2013, the North Carolina State Wolfpack started off the season 3-1 and looked like they had a chance to go to a bowl game. However, they would not win another game for the rest of the season. They were blown out by Florida State but most teams were. Every other loss was between 8 and 20 points points.

The Wolfpack return 14 starters in 2014 under coach Dave Doeren.


The NC State offense averaged 241 passing yards and 163 rushing yards per game. They scored 23 points a game. Seven starters return for coordinator Matt Canada.

Last year, quarterback Jacoby Brissett was supposed start for NC State but the NCAA ruled he had to sit out a year after transferring from Florida. Pete Thomas and Brandon Mitchell split the snaps last year. Thomas has transferred to Louisiana-Monroe and Mitchell has graduated. Neither were spectacular in 2013. Thomas threw for 1,667 yards with 4 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, and he also rushed for 162 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mitchell threw for 1,011 yards with 7 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, and he rushed for 274 yards and 2 touchdowns. Brissett played sparingly for Florida in 2011 and 2012 and will now be the full time starter for the Wolfpack.

Running back Shadrach Thornton returns as the feature back for NC State. Thornton had 165 carries for 768 yards and 4 touchdowns along with 16 catches for 97 yards. Sophomore Matt Dayes is also back after he had 63 carries for 252 yards and four touchdowns, plus 10 catches for 173 yards and a touchdown. The two quarterbacks combined for 163 carries in 2013, and that production will have to be replaced with the less mobile Brissett at the helm.

NC State must replace their top two receivers in Rashard Smith and Quintin Payton. Smith had 49 catches for 530 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Payton had 23 catches for 481 yards and 3 touchdowns. Pyton is now with the Detroit Lions. Bryan Underwood will be the go-to receiver after making 32 catches for 382 yards and a touchdown last year. Jurmichael Ramos had 24 catches for 352 yards and 3 touchdowns. True freshman Bo Hines will also get a lot of targets.

The offensive line must play better in 2014 or NC State could struggle on offense again. Left guard Joe Thuney played left tackle last season for the injured Joe Crisp who returns in 2014.


North Carolina State wasn’t terrible on defense allowing just under 400 yards a game. They did give up 30 points a game though. Seven starters are also back on defense for coordinator Dave Huxtable. Doeren and Huxtable are switching to a nickel defense with five defensive backs and two linebackers as their standard defensive alignment.

Tackles T.Y. McGill and Thomas Teal are back and have combined for 39 starts. Ends Art Norman and Mike Rose are also back. Freshmen Kentavius Street and B.J. Hill will also contribute and add depth to the unit.

The linebackers must replace Robert Caldwell who made 105 tackles last season. M.J. Salahuddin will be his replacement. Rodman Noel and Brandon Pittman will platoon at outside linebacker.

Corners Juston Burris and Jack Tocho return as does safety Hakim Jones. Redshirt freshman Josh Jones will likely start at the other safety.

Special Teams

Kicker Nik Sade and punter Wil Baumann are four year starters. Sade made 19 field goals last year. It isn’t clear who the returners will be for NC State.

Outlook / Schedule

North Carolina State should be 4-0 with a very soft non-conference schedule that includes home games against Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, and Presbyterian, and a road game at South Florida. The Wolfpack host Florida State, Boston College, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest in ACC play. NC State travels to Clemson, Louisville, Syracuse, and North Carolina. Look, this team will not be very good but with such a ridiculous non-conference schedule that includes basically three FCS schools it is very possible they can win six games. Yes, Georgia Southern and Old Dominion are FBS schools but both are in their first year at the higher level. All NC State has to do is win games at home against Boston College and Wake Forest and that is six wins and bowl eligibility.

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