With South Alabama, The Citadel and Miami (yes, Miami) just ahead, N.C. State’s football team should reach mid-season at 4-1 and solidly in position to grab a bowl bid.
But unless something can be done to improve the frail offensive unit that surfaced Saturday in a 10-7 escape at Connecticut, the Wolfpack simply will not have enough scoring pop to win more than six or seven games.
Of particular concern only two games into the schedule is the offensive line, an ongoing program problem.
Connecticut, a 5-7 team last season that is generally predicted to do about the same in 2012, was almost as effective with its blitz tactics as Tennessee was a week earlier in Atlanta.
State, a 35-21 loser in that one, obviously suffered some offensive line injuries against the Vols. Junior tackle Rob Crisp didn’t play against the Huskies and his absence led to some reshuffling.
But quarterback Mike Glennon, who was intercepted four times in the opener, got sacked frequently and was pressured on almost all of his 30 passes against the Huskies. Add in the fact that the running game was anemic and it’s borderline amazing the Wolfpack didn’t lose the game by double digits.
The bright side for Wolfpack fans is that O’Brien’s teams historically get more polished as the season extends.
O’Brien called it a “heck of a win” and credited the defense for an exceptional effort.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” O’Brien said. “We just had to fight through and find a way to win a game, and we did.”
And in the context that there’s no such thing as a bad win, State advanced Saturday. But problems can pop up just as often in wins as in losses, and State discovered a few at UConn.