Takeaways tend to make life a little easier on game day, as NC State was quick to illustrate against Duke on Saturday. Payton Wilson’s first quarter interception in the red zone deprived the Blue Devils of a golden opportunity to expand on their 7-0 lead.
These last two weeks have been a refreshing change for the Wolfpack defense, and this group was due. Thanks to the outburst these last two games, NC State is up to eight takeaways on the year. NC State’s defense forced a total of eight turnovers all of last season, as you may recall.
In league games, the 2019 Pack forced just three turnovers, with all three coming in the last two games. A streak of six games without a takeaway just added to the program’s misery, making a terrible year a little bit worse.
NC State was bound to regress back toward a more normal takeaway number in 2020, and it has done so in a hurry—we probably shouldn’t continue to expect back-to-back 3+ turnover efforts. (The last time State forced 3+ turnovers in back-to-back weeks was in 2016.)
State’s going to need the turnovers to keep coming now that Devin Leary is sidelined, because the offense figures to take a step back in effectiveness, not to mention that Bailey Hockman is more prone to mistakes as well.
We’re definitely going to need a blessing from the Bone this weekend, that’s for sure.