Among other things, NC State badly needed the increase the frequency with which it delivered chunk plays on offense. Chunk plays just make everything easier on the offense, providing shortcuts to scoring position, and the fewer plays a drive needs, the less exposure you have to mistakes.
The Wolfpack finished last season 60th in FBS with 182 plays from scrimmage over 10 yards, which ain’t terrible, but getting much beyond that threshold was a problem. Only 48 of those 182 plays went for more than 20 yards, which ranked 107th. State managed only two plays over 50 yards, ranking 125th, and was one of four FBS teams not to have at least one 60-yard play.
While State didn’t break the huge plays against Wake Forest, the early returns elsewhere are good. Eighteen plays from scrimmage went for at least 10 yards, 11 went for at least 20, and five went for 30+. NC State had only 17 plays from scrimmage over 30 yards in 2019.
Maybe it turns out Wake Forest’s defense is one of the worst we’ll see—time will tell—but even so, for State’s offense to produce like it did in the first game back after a weird, stop-and-start offseason is impressive work. Not surprisingly, State’s offense was substantially better with more explosive plays in the mix.