From the ugly trick play on 3rd and goal that resulted in an interception to Devin Leary’s multiple overthrows, the Wolfpack offense was terrible on Saturday night against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. If the Mississippi State defense were bulldogs then NC State’s offense can only be described as puppies after its performance in week two.
Redshirt sophomore Devin Leary looked rattled by the 60,000 Mississippi State fans and their cowbells all night long. He never found a rhythm or looked comfortable in the pocket. Multiple times Leary failed to connect with open receivers on shots downfield. On third downs, when it mattered most, Leary was unable to find a way to move the chains consistently. If Leary has another performance like this next week he’ll have to start looking over his shoulder at freshman Aaron McLaughlin.
The running backs looked like a completely different group than what we saw last week in The Wolfpack home opener. Junior running back Ricky Person Jr. was a non-factor in the run game for NC State on Saturday night. One could argue that being a non-factor is better than the performance of his running mate, sophomore running back Zonovan Knight. Knight looked slow and uninterested all night and ended what looked like a promising drive to start the half for the Pack offense with a fumble. Even though that fumble came at the start of the half, it felt like the final dagger for the Pack on Saturday night.
If there was any bright spot in week two for the Wolfpack offense it would be the receiving corps, more specifically, senior wideout Emeka Emezie. Emezie finished the night with six catches for 92 yards. The receivers appeared to be getting behind the Bulldogs’ secondary but they were unable to catch up to any of Leary’s overthrown passes. Any night when your quarterback receives an F grade is gonna be a tough night for the receivers as well.
The offensive line struggled along with the rest of the offense in week two. It struggled to create holes for running backs to run through and was unable to keep a clean pocket for Leary for most of the night. However, some of the blame can be handed off to Leary taking too long to get the ball out of his hands. The Pack was outperformed by the Bulldogs’ defensive line and overall disappointed.
The players are not all to blame for the poor performance. The coaching staff wasn't ready for the big moment either. Offensive coordinator Tim Beck was way too confident at the goal-line calling an ugly trick play, and play call after play call seemed far too predictable against an SEC-level defense. This regime has become way too comfortable with losing the important games and Wolfpack fans seem to have had enough.