NC State embarrassed East Carolina and sent its seniors out in style in their last home game at Carter-Finley, emphatically snapping a three-game slide in the off-and-on series with the Pirates by a 58-3 final, the most lopsided result in the 30th meeting between two programs heading in decidedly different directions.
It seemed that Dave Doeren’s entire game plan revolved around giving players opportunities to set individual records, and it worked out so well that the margin of victory record against ECU went down as well. Here’s our mixed six to commemorate this momentous occasion.
First beer—Millennial Brewing’s American Revolution pale ale: Back before it became associated with a generation of college-debt saddled hipsters, the term “millennial” meant a period of 1,000 years. I’ll take some poetic license here to refer to 1,000 yards. Jakobi Meyers caught 13 passes for 163 yards to join teammate Kelvin Harmon in the 1,000-yard club. Meyers ends the regular season with a school record 89 receptions for 1,028 yards, and he missed a game due to injury! Harmon has 81 catches for 1,186 yards, giving the Pack a pair of 1,000-yard receivers for the first time in program history. Perhaps Meyers will top the 100-catch plateau in NC State’s bowl game.
Second beer—Rushing Duck Brewing’s War Daddy imperial IPA: This beer has both “rushing” and “War Daddy” in the title. Can you guess who this paragraph will be about? After a slow start to the season, Reggie Gallaspy exploded down the stretch. The Pack’s War Daddy amassed 435 yards rushing and 10 TDs over State’s final three games to give the program a third 1,000-yard rusher in as many seasons. The senior went over the 1,000-yard mark on an 86-yard burst, the longest of his career, en route to 220 yards on the afternoon, also a career high. But what War Daddy does best is find the end zone. His 19 touchdowns (18 rushing, one receiving) are a new Pack single-season record. Gallaspy’s average of 9.5 points per game is the eighth best mark in the country, and his 18 rushing TDs rank fourth nationally. You need a strong beer to rep Gallaspy, and at 9.2% ABV, War Daddy is the beer for the War Daddy.
Third beer—Old Monk 10000 Super Beer: Yes, there is truly a beer for every football occasion, like when your quarterback becomes just the third player in ACC history to eclipse 10,000 yards through the air and the first to do it in only three seasons as a full-time starter. Finley threw for 329 yards in the first half alone against ECU on his way to his third career 400-yard game. Finley has led the Pack to the 6th best passing offense in yards per game (327.7) nationally and the 22nd-ranked scoring offense (35.6 ppg). His old monk-like poise helped the Pack convert 50.9% of third down tries so far this season, a mark that ranks ninth nationally. He may well be the first quarterback called in the NFL draft as State continues to cement its reputation as QBU.
Fourth beer—Mill Street Brewing’s Original Organic Lager: Mill Street’s lager appears to be the favorite of offensive linemen, as this video of a CFL big ugly downing one before crushing the can on his helmet to celebrate a TD indicates. That celebration might’ve been one-upped by Terronne Prescod, who showed his exuberance for line-mate Garrett Bradbury’s fat guy TD by punting the ball into the stands. The Pack’s offensive line deserved the recognition they got when Bradbury went from center to fullback for the TD plunge. They’ve allowed just 0.83 sacks per game, the fifth least of any team in FBS and third among non-option teams. Those 1,000-yard performances above don’t happen without them.
Fifth beer—Creature Comforts Brewing’s Automatic American pale ale: Not to be outdone, freshman kicker Chris Dunn got in on the record setting. He’s been automatic of late, hitting his last 13 field goals in a row. The 13th gave him 21 for the year, the most in a single season in school history. He’ll have to continue to be automatic for a while to catch Mark Primanti, who hit 27 in a row from 1995-96. Dunn’s 87.5% accuracy for the season gives State the eighth best percentage in the nation as a team, which is a far cry from the coin-flip accuracy of recent seasons. His 9.4 points per game ranks 10th in the nation. Yep, with Dunn and Gallaspy State has two players in the top 10 in FBS scoring. With 113 points so far, Dunn is on pace to obliterate Niklas Sade’s career record of 332. Both Dunn and Gallaspy (114 points) surpassed T.A. McLendon’s previous record for points in a season for the Pack (108).
Sixth beer—Ninkasi Brewing’s Total Domination IPA: It was almost total domination from the Pack defense, but a last-second field goal allowed ECU to spoil what would’ve been State’s first shutout against an FBS opponent since a 13-0 win over UNC in 2011. It was the second time the Pack have held the Pirates to three points in the series; neither team has ever been shutout. The three points ECU managed was one less than its first down total. Yup, the Pirates moved the sticks a mere four times all game. That kind of futility is what happens when you average a scant two yards per play and manage just 104 total yards of offense. Kudos to the much-maligned State secondary for picking off two passes and to Darian Roseboro for having his best game of the season (five tackles, 1.5 for a loss) in his final home game. Twenty-six of ECU’s 51 snaps ended in no gain, a loss, or a turnover. And, despite losing the entire starting front six from last season, State ended the regular season with a slight uptick in TFLs over a year ago. Credit Germaine Pratt, who leads the team in tackles (104), TFLs (10.5), and sacks (six, tied with James Smith-Williams) despite missing a game with injury.
Parting shot—St. Augustine Distilling’s Port-Finished Bourbon: Let’s tip back this triple-gold winning spirit in honor of a bowl game—Gator or Camping World—in Florida. The Belk Bowl is also a possibility, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a higher profile contest from the Sunshine State. These guys deserve it. We’ll know soon.
Until next time, drink responsibly!