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Devin Leary upped his game, and NC State is reaping the rewards

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NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn’t require a deep assessment to understand why NC State has already won three ACC games after winning just one all of last season. The quarterback play has been significantly better—specifically, Devin Leary has been significantly better.

We never knew what we were going to get out of the passing attack last season, other than that it would be bad, whatever it was. State had nothing to hang its hat on schematically, and there was a crippling lack of efficiency evident. That’s all changed.

Devin Leary Career Passing

Leary Rtg Comp% Yds/Att TD INT Att/INT
Leary Rtg Comp% Yds/Att TD INT Att/INT
2019 104.67 48.1 5.8 8 5 42
2020 152.53 60.0 8.1 7 1 85

An individual passer eclipsed 300 yards through the air just once last year—Matt McKay against ECU—and as a team, the Pack hit 300 yards through the air only twice. Leary already has a standout 336-yard performance against Pitt to his credit, and that total would have been the season-high for the team in 2019.

More importantly, Leary has dramatically improved his efficiency, which helps keep the offense moving even if he isn’t hitting on big plays. Wolfpack quarterbacks completed only 52.7% of their throws in 2019 while averaging a meager 5.9 yards per attempt. In league games, State quarterbacks connected on only 49.7% of their throws, and that’s no way to sustain an offense.

Leary’s trials last season clearly paid off, and thank goodness for that; we needed to see at least a few positives from a development perspective from that trash season. Between that experience, his work in the offseason, and having a more coherent plan of attack installed for him, he’s become a guy who can put an offense on his back.

Damn if that ain’t been a sight for sore eyes.