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Wake Forest vs. NC State aftermath: Defense plays well despite mistakes, and maybe the kicking game is okay?

One last look back before looking ahead.

Wake Forest v North Carolina State Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

In a relatively easy win over previously undefeated Wake Forest, the Pack looked solid if unspectacular. At the least, it was a good prep for Notre Dame's visit and a win in conference. A few items stood out, both questions and answers.

1. The Defense Did Well Despite Penalties

The Pack defense allowed 16 points, which is not a bad number in itself, but 6 and possibly 9 of the points were direct results of mysterious third down penalties called against NC State. Wake tallied 352 total yards, which is an average number, but 175 less than the Wolfpack racked up. While the Demon Deacons were playing without their usual quarterback and running back, holding a Power 5 team to 16 points is an accomplishment.

2. Is Nyheim Hines Healthy?

Hines had a week to heal up from an apparent ankle injury against Old Dominion. While he was given a pass to play this week, he almost exclusively was back for kickoffs and seemed absent at receiver. While Stephen Louis and Kelvin Harmon appear to be the playmakers at wideout, having Hines available in the slot is a necessity against Notre Dame. If he is available against a porous Irish defense, the Pack could put up a lot of points.

3. Is The Kicking Game Not THAT Bad?

While there still won't be any awards coming to raleigh for special teams, the kicking game appears to be in decent shape. Kyle Bambard drilled a 48 yard field goal, surpassing most fans' expectations and reinforcing some of what the coaches have said regarding his ability. AJ Cole has been fantastic this season, averaging right at 50 yards per punt. Continuing this would be a huge, unexpected boost to the program in a pivotal year.