With a dominant win over the Monarchs of Old Dominion, NC State's player grades are improved across the board this week. For the two positions who did not receive great grades, one was due to injury and the other was a mix of being targeted and just having a one week low.
Jacoby Brissett put in another solid performance with 18 of his 27 passes completed and a touchdown to no interceptions. Once again, he did not test himself downfield much, but he did not need to due to the Pack's dominance in the running game and short passing game. He also had a few nice runs. Jalan McClendon came in again for mop-up duty, but was not asked to do much.
Similar to quarterback, the running backs were once again solid as the backbone of the offense. Matt Dayes was great with 108 yards and a touchdown on two carries, and Shadrach Thornton had a successful return with 92 yards as well. Dayes had several big plays to keep drives alive on third down. This combo looks to be highly effective going forward.
The receiving trio of Ramos, Cherry, and Alston had a solid collective performance with 8 catches, most of which went for more than 10 yards. This group has gone from a big concern to a steady performing position. The only question remaining is who can make the big plays in the big games.
Similar to the first two games, the tight end has not been used much in the passing game. David Grinnage had one catch for three yards (on a check down) and Cole Cook and Benson Browne were used exclusively as blockers. It will be interesting to see if they are used more in the comingg games.
The do-it-all threat was great once again, continuing his goal of averaging two touchdowns per game. He had one on the ground and one as a shovel pass. He did not pile up his usual yardage, but was effective.
The offensive line had an up and down performance, in no small part affected by injuries at the guard spot. With Alex Barr out for the game, junior Bryce Kennedy started but subsequently left with an injury as well. Tyler Jones, who is a tackle, was brought in and Joe Thuney was moved inside. They still performed well on the ground and did enough in the passing game for the offense to be successful.
The line did a great job against the natuon's leading runner, holding him to 15 yards on 12 carries, giving up just the one big play on a screen. Longtime breakout candidate Kentavius Street had a great game, making several plays at or behind the line of scrimmage. Several tipped passes and forced throws added to the defense's success. This may be a performance that spurs the unit forward.
Along with the line, Airius Moore and Jerod Fernandez were key components to the Pack's success against the run. No turnovers were forced by the two, but good coverage and their stout play in the ground game contributed to the defensive dominance.
This was the weak point of the defense on Saturday, but even then, it was not a disastrous performance. Four different corners played extensively and had mixed success. The biggest red flag was the drive in the second half in which ODU steadily moved down the field through the air.
Bra'lon Cherry continued his run of good punt returns and Nyheim Hines had a nice kickoff return for the Pack. Kyle Bambard missed a longer field goal, but did make his first of his career from 36 yards. AJ Cole continued his record of not having a punt returned this season.