NC State’s offensive effort in the first half was so bad, in so many ways, but of marked interest was a complete lack of effectiveness on the ground against a pretty bad Louisiana Tech front seven. That changed in the second half, and so did the results.
You wouldn’t know that NC State struggled for an entire half based on the final numbers: Ricky Person finished at 15-90-1, while Bam Knight was 13-85-1. Both ended up averaging better than six yards per carry. Tim Beck did a much better job of getting them opportunities on the perimeter, and they were really effective running outside the tackles. That made a huge difference.
State rolled up 141 rushing yards in the second half after managing only 37 in the first, and wouldn’t you know it, suddenly Devin Leary was finding bigger passing opportunities down the field. When State’s offense was at its best, Louisiana Tech was helpless to prevent chunk plays. It’s just that this wasn’t the case often enough, which led to the tight finish.
It still feels like this offense is more inconsistent than it should be, that it tends more often than not to be less than the sum of its parts, and that’s concerning. I don’t think we can deny this as fluke after five games. It’s a problem; it’s probably going to remain a problem.
But I’m not about to be feeling sad after winning a game. NC State is 4-1 and has a week off to work on itself before a big two-game road trip. NC State is undefeated in league play and in first place in the Atlantic Division heading into the thick of things, and if you’d given me that in August, I’d have taken it every time. It’s all right there.