What NC State has here is a reset game. When you really look at the record, the only thing that will matter a year from now, NC State is 3-1. Regardless of who we played, NC State only has to own 1 loss. A team like Miami is a solid, tough team that could do ‘well’ in the ACC this season, which means a victory on the road against such a team wouldn’t feel as hollow as the feeling of “victory” at the end of our 2011 7-win regular season. O’Brien has a great opportunity to hit the reset button on the momentum of this team as well as any preconceived notions of how 2012 was going. After lackluster performances against Tennessee and UConn, many NC State fans were left shaking their heads and assuming that the usual “NC State Shit” had reared it’s ugly head. O’Brien has the opportunity to reset that by beating a quality, yet very beatable, Miami Hurricanes team.
QUICK LOOK AT MIAMI
A quick ESPN sanity check has Miami statistically ahead of NC State on almost every offensive category. Defensively, NC State sits at #30 nationally compared to Miami’s #98, but on offense Miami comes in at #50 while NC State sits back at #76. (FYI: Opponent doesn’t factor into these values.)
Regardless of what the statistics say, many NC State fans swear that they saw the explosive offense they knew we should have during last week’s FCS sacrificial game against Citadel. Against Miami, NC State faces a “real” opponent with some legitimate offensive power. Morris is a quarterback who has been throwing 62% at over 10 yards/completion. Rushing, Duke Johnson averages 8 yards per carry and Senior Mike James is on pace to match his 2010 performance of 5.7 yards per carry. Miami is a good team, but they are a beatable team. As we noted in our pre-season write-up on Miami, the “U” struggled on defense last year. This year, despite leaps and bounds forward, they continue to lag behind the offense. In the air, they are allowing 56% completion rates for their opponents and over 16 yards per completion. The ground game isn’t much better, allowing over 6.5 yards per rushing attempt, and 11 rushing TDs. This team is the perfect one to tell whether Glennon & Co has really hit their stride. A “legit”, yet weakened Miami defense could be a good sandbox to tell if our offense has really worked the kinks out of it and to tell if Bible has started to leverage the various skill sets he has on the roster.
Winning would mean proving that NC State can hang with the ACC as a legit program in 2012. Destroying Miami, on the road, would mean establishing ourselves as a dominant program going into Division play. Let’s see if O’Brien hits that big red reset button and starts this [ACC] season the way we all hoped 2012 would go.