In the second half of this season, we’re going to find out how far a disruptive defensive front can carry an NC State team with a banged up secondary and an iffy offense. Over the last two games, that front has done everything it can: eight sacks at Florida State, and another eight sacks against Syracuse.
NC State has 26 sacks, which ranks fifth in FBS, and is two behind Ohio State, which is tops in the category. Penn State, Virginia, and Pittsburgh have 27 sacks apiece.
The Pack’s recipe for success defensively is obvious enough: play stout run defense to force opponents into obvious passing downs, then let that defensive front tee off. NC State ranks fifth in rushing yards allowed per game (66.7) and third in yards per carry allowed (2.3) and making teams one-dimensional plays right into its strengths.
Larrell Murchison has been a monster in the middle, and his seven sacks is already more than any State defensive player had all of last season. Since 2009, no NC State player has finished with more than 10.5 sacks in a single season—he’s got a great shot at beating that total.
State has several opponents left that have been dealing with shoddy offensive line play: Louisville, UNC, and Georgia Tech all rank in the bottom half of the ACC in sacks allowed. Tech and Carolina are surrendering three sacks per game.
NC State needs its defensive front to continue carrying the load if it is going to finish strong. And those guys look up to the challenge.