It was a rough film session for North Carolina State last season after the team played Louisville, as Dave Doeren’s coaching staff had to watch the eventual Heisman Trophy winner race up and down the field on the Wolfpack’s defense in a blowout to capture a key ACC win. Turnabout is fair play it seems because State did much of the same on Thursday night, pulling away at home starting in the second quarter and eventually winding up with a 39-25 victory that makes things even more interesting in the Atlantic division.
The Wolfpack offense stalled out early during the first quarter, including a red zone fumble in front of an amped up crowd at Carter-Finley Stadium, but promptly figured things out and sliced and diced the Cardinals’ defense on their following six drives to take control of the game. Quarterback Ryan Finley outplayed the Heisman winner on the opposite sideline with a steady performance, throwing for 367 yards and a touchdown, while big play machines Nyheim Hines (225 all-purpose yards with two scores) and Jaylen Samuels (104 through the air) both were terrific in the open field. Wideout Kelvin Harmon chipped in with 133 yards and a touchdown catch as well.
As well as the offense played however, the home team never could quite put the game away until late in the fourth quarter. Of course, a lot of that had to do with the dazzling play of Lamar Jackson. The signal-caller recorded a 354 yard (one touchdown) night using his arm and not surprisingly led the team in rushing with 73 yards and two scores. He was very much a one-man band for his team given the defensive woes and played heroically in the face of a lot of pressure from the Wolfpack’s stellar defensive line that helped record four sacks and played a role in forcing a pass that was tipped, intercepted and run back for a touchdown that iced the game.
The victory, one of the biggest of Doeren’s career in Raleigh given the circumstances, presents an intriguing road to the division title as the Wolfpack remain undefeated in ACC play. While No. 2 Clemson remains a favorite to return to the national title game at the moment, N.C. State did nearly pull off the upset of the Tigers last year and host this year’s meeting on November 4th. That game could not only decide the Atlantic Division in the conference, but could play a significant role in the College Football Playoff selection process as well.
But those are thoughts for another day and another week as Thursday night belonged to the Wolfpack as they savored a very sweet victory over the Cardinals.
With eight semifinalists from a year ago gone, the Outland Trophy’s 2019 preseason watch list takes on a decidedly fresh look this go ’round.
Headlining the 83-player group of the nation’s top interior linemen is Oregon’s Calvin Throckmorton, who is the only Football Writers Association of American All-American from a season ago on this year’s watch list. Throckmorton is one of 12 players from the Pac-12 listed, which is tied for third among all conferences with the Big 12; with 13 apiece, the Big Ten and SEC lead all leagues.
The ACC’s 10 is the fewest among Power Five conferences, while Group of Five leagues are paced by the AAC’s six. All 10 FBS conferences are represented, including the Mountain West (four), Conference USA (three), MAC (three) and Sun Belt (three). Independents account for four as well.
Throckmorton is one of four linemen from Oregon, tied with Michigan for the most of any single school. Georgia has three, while another 15 schools have two each.
A total of 32 offensive tackles are on the watch list, the most for any single position. That group is followed by 19 defensive tackles, 18 offensive guards and 14 centers.
Less than two weeks before training camp kicks off, Rod Carey has (again) finalized his first Temple coaching staff.
Earlier this month, it was reported that longtime Temple assistant and the program’s current special teams coordinator Ed Foley would be leaving the school and reuniting with Matt Rhule at Baylor. Monday, the Owls confirmed that Carey has promoted Tyler Yelk to outside linebackers coach. Yelk was a part of Carey’s Northern Illinois football staff this past season.
Additionally, it was announced by the football program that Brett Diersen has been hired as associate special teams coordinator. Diersen spent the 2018 season as the defensive line coach at SMU.
This will mark the third time Diersen and Carey have worked together, first at Wisconsin-Stout in 2000 and then again at Northern Illinois from 2013-17.
“Tyler is an excellent young coach and we promoted him to add balance to the coaching staff,” said Carey in a statement, making reference to the fact that there are now six full-time coaches with an offensive background and five on defense. “We are very fortunate to get a coach of Brett’s caliber in the role of special teams coordinator. I’ve known him for 20 years and am excited that he and his family can join us at Temple.”
Of all the watch lists released thus far this month, this one’s the biggest — literally.
Via the Football Writers Association of America, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Tuesday released its preseason list of players to watch, with a whopping 97 individuals making the award’s initial cut. All 10 FBS conferences are represented, as are 65 individual schools.
One first-team FWAA All-American (LSU safety Grant Delpit) made the initial watch list for the award given annually to the best defensive player in college football, while a trio of second-teamers from a year ago (Virginia cornerback Bryce Hall, Michigan State defensive end Kenny Willekes, Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo) made the cut as well.
Conference-wise, the SEC has the most with 18, followed the other four Power Five leagues in the Big Ten (15), ACC (12), Pac-12 (12) and Big 12 (11). The AAC led all Group of Five conferences with six, followed by Conference USA (four), Mountain West (four), MAC (three) and Sun Belt (two). Football independents accounted for five of the watch listers.
With four, Alabama led all individual schools. Iowa State, LSU, Notre Dame and Penn State placed three each, with another 16 schools placing two apiece on the list.
As for the positional breakdown, there are 36 linebackers, 28 backs, 21 ends and seven tackles.
“It’s going to continue to be a problem, not just with us but college athletes everywhere, particularly with it being legalized other places. Our team understands I don’t care where it’s legal and where it isn’t. It’s illegal according to the NCAA.
“I don’t think it’s beneficial for guys who are trying to accomplish what our guys are trying to accomplish. We’re certainly not unique in that we’ve had a few problems with that, but we’re doing everything we can in trying to help kids not do it. We’ll keep fighting that battle.”
That was Scott Frost at the Big Ten Media Days last week, addressing the three Nebraska football players who had been cited at some point this offseason for possession of either marijuana or drug paraphernalia. Unfortunately for the Nebraska head coach, it appears his “Just Say No” message when it comes to weed hasn’t wholly taken root as the Omaha World-Herald is reporting that defensive back Myles Farmer was cited late Monday night for suspicion of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.
The incident that led to the citation being issued occurred at an on-campus residence, with the World-Herald writing that “[a] community service officer detected the smell of marijuana coming from the room.”
The football program is aware of the incident involving Farmer but will not comment publicly on what if any punishment the true freshman may be facing.
The 6-3, 205-pound Framer was a three-star member of the Cornhuskers 2019 recruiting class.
In addition to Farmer, wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson (HERE), defensive back Jeramiah Stovall (HERE) and running back Maurice Washington (HERE) have all been cited for weed-related offenses this offseason. Washington, of course, has bigger legal issues to worry about than a simple pot rap.