N.C. State’s run defense seems a little shaky – can Mikell Simpson have another big game?
Prior to the East Carolina game Coach Tom O’Brien and the Wolfpack staff used the off week to focus on fundamentals in an attempt to get a struggling defense (and offense) back on track. It appeared to have succeeded as the Pack went to Greenville and got off the losing slide against Bowl Subdivision opponents.
With that said, N.C. State ranks 103rd in rush defense, 76th in total defense, 68th in scoring defense, and 62nd in sacks per game through the first seven games of the year.
There have been some bright spots, though.
Led by defensive coordinator Mike Archer, the Wolfpack defense has wreaked havoc on several opponents’ averages this season; most recently East Carolina’s numbers took the hit. The Pirates entered Saturday’s game with NCSU averaging 191.3 rushing yards per game. Against a tenacious Wolfpack defense, however, ECU managed to eke out just 72 rushing yards.
Louisville came into Carter-Finley Stadium averaging 50 points and 620 yards of total offense per game. Against the Wolfpack, the Cardinals scored just 29 points and recorded 498 total yards. Quarterback Brian Brohm, a Heisman Trophy candidate who was ranked second in the nation in passing yards at the time and had thrown for more than 300 yards in his previous seven outings, was held to 251 yards.
In the second game of the season, the Pack “D” held another Heisman hopeful, Boston College’s Matt Ryan, to well below his average. In his other seven games this season, the Eagle trigger-man has averaged 334.3 yards. Against N.C. State, Ryan threw for just one TD.
After allowing 247 yards per game rushing in the first five contests, the Pack defense has responded and that number has dropped 149 yards in the past two games against Florida State and ECU. Coach O’Brien attributes the improvement to better execution, improved tackling,...
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