NC State looks for improvement in visit from Georgia State
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina State was good enough to win its opener, and now coach Dave Doeren wants much more out of his team.
Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott knows that feeling.
The Wolfpack (1-0) play host to the Panthers (1-0) on Saturday with the goal of looking more like a potential challenger to Clemson’s dominance of the ACC’s Atlantic Division and maybe a bit less like the one that had to sweat out an opening victory over James Madison .
“Week 2 the challenge is to improve — as a staff, as a team, as a player — and be a better version of what we put on tape last week,” Doeren said. “Whatever you put on tape in Week 1, obviously, it’s your resume, and the teams you’re playing are going to test you and see if you’re going to fix those things and gotten better.”
N.C. State’s passing game was productive against James Madison, with wideout Jakobi Meyers finishing with 14 catches for 161 yards despite an ankle injury and preseason all-ACC quarterback Ryan Finley completing 28 of 43 passes for 309 yards with a pair of touchdowns.
But the ground game, which lost starter Nyheim Hines to the NFL, could use some work. Reggie Gallaspy II, who finished with 68 yards and a score, was the only rusher to finish with more than 10 yards rushing, and as a team N.C. State averaged just 2.9 yards per carry — a stat Doeren called “unacceptable.”
The 24 points the Wolfpack scored weren’t quite as many as Doeren thinks his team will need to be competitive once league play begins in a few weeks.
“We’ve got to get in the 30-plus range to feel like we’re doing what we want to do on offense and give ourselves a chance in this conference,” Doeren said.
Georgia State is in a similar position, after earning a close victory over a Championship Subdivision team. The Panthers came from behind to beat Kennesaw State 24-20 victory after Dan Ellington, a junior college transfer making his first start with the Panthers, threw the winning touchdown pass with 41 seconds remaining after leading a nine-play, 73-yard drive in the final 2 minutes
It left Elliott echoing many of the same themes that Doeren did.
“Certainly, offensively, defensively and in our special teams, we’ve got a ton of improvement that needs to take place in the next few weeks,” Elliott said, “but I’m really proud of the fight and effort.”
Meyers picked up the slack after key wideout Stephen Louis was unable to play in the opener with a hamstring issue. Doeren says the hamstring tightened on him midway through last week, and remained that way through pre-game warmups. The coach says he expects Louis to be healthy this week but won’t know for sure until gameday.
PANTHERS VS. POWER 5
Georgia State enters 0-9 against teams from the five power conferences, and its only matchup with an ACC school was a 28-0 loss at Clemson in 2014. They have eight more matchups scheduled over the next nine seasons.
Georgia State athletic director Charlie Cobb lettered at N.C. State from 1987-89 and was an associate athletic director at the school before he was hired as Appalachian State’s athletic director. His wife is a former all-ACC goalkeeper for the N.C. State soccer team.
N.C. State has called for a “white-out” and the team will wear all-white uniforms at home for a 12:30 p.m. kickoff with temperatures forecast in the high 80s. “I’m sure our fans will enjoy wearing white in the heat,” Doeren said. “That’s my gift to you.”