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Miami upsets No. 18 NC State. What we learned about the Wolfpack in Saturday’s loss

·3 min read

Nobody said this one would be easy.

No. 18 N.C. State and Miami slugged it out in South Beach, exchanging one big play after another.

Earlier this week Hurricanes’ quarterback Tyler Van Dyke said his offense felt confident they could move the ball on the Wolfpack defense and he was right. Miami (3-4, 1-2) picked up their first ACC win and first win over a Power 5 opponent in the last seven tries, defeating N.C. State, 31-30.

The Wolfpack dropped to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the ACC, coming up short in a game where they battled injuries and the inability to stop the big plays from Miami.

Miami scored on its opening drive of the game, then went on to score on their first drives of the second, third and fourth quarters, taking a 31-27 lead after Van Dyke hit Charleston Rambo for a 4-yard touchdown.

But a Chris Dunn field goal made it a one-point game with 5:39 remaining in the contest. N.C. State’s defense held Miami to - 5 yards inside its own territory, giving the ball back to Devin Leary and the N.C. State offense with 3:46 remaining. The Wolfpack offense only gained four yards, including two on fourth and eight, turning the ball back over to Miami with 2:49 remaining.

The Hurricanes were able to run out the clock, hitting victory formation for the first time in league play.

Here’s what we learned:

SPECIAL TEAMS ARE SPECIAL: III

The N.C. State special teams unit has continued to be a reason the Wolfpack stay in or win games. Dave Doeren rolled the dice in the third quarter, facing a 4th and 7 on their own 34. Trent Pennix took the direct snap and raced for a gain of 40. The drive ended in a 17-yard rushing touchdown from Devin Leary.

SUSPECT TO BIG PLAYS STILL ON TAPE

Teams have been able to connect on the long ball this season versus N.C. State, one weakness of the defense. In the first half, Miami had a touchdown pass that covered 53-yards, one of several passes for 20 yards or more in the game.

It seems to be the way teams want to attack the defense — deep passes —when all else fails. Miami receiver Charleston Rambo had nine catches for 127 yards.

NC STATE’S OFFENSE NEEDS HELP FROM THE RUN GAME

Devin Leary’s arm can’t be the Wolfpack’s only offensive option. N.C. State has been committed to establishing the run all season, but it has to do a better job of helping out Leary. The longest run of the day came from Pennix, a former running back, but Ricky Person and Zonovan Knight averaged a combined four yards per carry. Miami was able to play the pass all night with Knight and Person boxed up. The Pack finished with 111 yards rushing as a team.

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