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Sporting News Pegs Wolfpack At #45

A brief rundown from SN:

And last year's record wasn't as impressive as the manner in which it was accomplished. The Wolfpack went 1-5 with only a victory over Wofford in the first half of the season before reeling off four straight victories over East Carolina, Virginia, Miami and North Carolina.

Subsequent losses to Wake Forest and Maryland reminded everyone of how much work is left to be done. By the spring game, though, O'Brien proclaimed progress.

"I think everything in our program is way ahead of where we were a year ago," O'Brien says.


Burning question: Was that four-game winning streak last year a sign of progress in Tom O'Brien's first season, or was it simply a mirage? Maryland's 37-0 slap-around of N.C. State -- in Raleigh, no less -- to close the season sure made it seem more like the latter.

 Yds/Play Yds/PassAtt Yds/RuAtt YdsAllowed/Play
at ECU 5.3 7.6 1.8 3.7
vs UVA 5.7 7.5 2.8 4.2
at Miami 4.2 5.2 3.1 5.4
vs UNC 4.7 5.5 3.9 4.8
SEASON 4.7 5.9 3.0 5.2

On the strength of Daniel Evans's two best passing performances, NC State had, not coincidentally, its two best offensive performances (in terms of yards/play) of the season during the winning streak. The offense returned to same-ol'-same-'ol territory against Miami and UNC, with the difference being that we were able to maintain our streak of even-or-better turnover margins. So, from an offensive standpoint, was the winning streak a mirage? Yeah. But I think from a defense/turnover standpoint, we saw some real progress.