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In his latest search for credibility, Dave Doeren is still wanting

NCAA Football: South Carolina at North Carolina State Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

These are the facts: NC State out-gained South Carolina two-to-one. State allowed a season-opening kickoff return for a touchdown and never did overcome that initial deficit despite how well the offense played against the Gamecocks.

That’s Dave Doeren’s NC State program, and shame on me and the rest of us for feeling like it might be different this time, that Dave could both learn from his mistakes and implement their remedies. This is clearly not the case.

At some point, difficult as it is, you gotta come to terms with the nature of the known quantity of your school’s head coach, and I have been in denial about that since last November. A lack of execution in myriad areas is easy enough to wash away until you are willing to admit that Doeren is behind every door.

I think this team is pretty good, and we’ve got another bowl game to look forward to—whatever they manage will be in spite of Doeren, though. He had a chance Saturday to finally place a stake in the ground and instead his team wilted on the very first play of the entire season.

It does not have to be this difficult, but it is always difficult, and that’s Dave Doeren football.

I’m sad and I’m disappointed and I’m tired and it is a bummer to watch over and over confirmation of the ideas your brain shies from. It doesn’t matter if you have the better team when the scales are relatively even if you can’t actually make sense of the difference. And Dave Doeren’s State teams have never done this. Saturday was just more of the same.