SHOT #1: Pressure QB Donovan Smith
NC State is tied for dead last in the country with a combined one sack on the season. While I would gladly make the argument that QB pressures/hurries are undervalued compared to QB sacks, tallying just one sack over two games is a problem - especially considering the Charleston Southern’s offensive line allowed six sacks to Western Carolina the week before their trip to Raleigh.
Again, though: pressuring the QB can be just as effective as a sack, sometimes even more so by forcing a poor decision on a pass that ends up in the hands of someone in a different (and better) jersey.
The Wolfpack were able to get to the QB a total of 11 times last week, 10 QB hurries and that lonely sack. Another effort like that will give NC State a great shot at slowing down the Texas Tech offense and putting the team in a situation to win. Another effort like the 2 QB hurry, 0 sack game against ECU just won’t cut it.
SHOT #2: Have a balanced offensive attack
The Wolfpack have found a legit RB1 in Demie Sumo-Karngbaye (yes, I copy-and-pasted his name). The guy in the #0 jersey has rushed for 149 yards at a 7.1 yards/carry rate through his first two career games. That’ll work.
Last week, Houston trailed Texas Tech 17-3 at halftime. To that point in the game (not counting their last “drive” that started with 18 seconds left in the half), Houston had gone pass-heavy with 22 passing plays against just 8 running plays.
For the rest of the game, including overtime, the Cougars went with a mix of 18 pass plays and 17 run plays. They scored 27 points over 8 full drives with that balanced offense, despite a pretty even ground output on a per-play basis across both halves.
Contrary to the Texas Tech you’re used to, this Red Raiders group has a legitimately strong and balanced defense. Even with a QB like Devin Leary, if the Wolfpack offense becomes one-dimensional, it’s going to make it easier to stop. Establishing Sumo-Karngbaye, Jordan Houston, and the Wolfpack ground game is going to open up the passing game for Leary and his huge assortment of pass catchers.
SHOT #3: Avión Tequila
Texas Tech is closer to Mexico than what NC State’s going to get in any opponent this year, and thus my best shot to work tequila into one of these, and Avión is as good of a tequila as I’ve ever had. Leave the salt and lime elsewhere, because you don’t need it.
Avión is a small batch tequila using agave grown in the highlands of Jalisco, slow roasted and slow filtered for an absurdly smooth finish. Trust me on this one.
Go get yourself a bottle, have a shot, and enjoy the game.