ACC Football: N.C. State offense struggling after two games
RALEIGH — North Carolina State's offense came into the season ready to thrive behind veteran quarterback Mike Glennon. Instead, Glennon is off to a slow start that has the Wolfpack looking a bit sluggish.
The graduate student has thrown two touchdown passes after two games, but he said the offense will improve.
"We show signs of being really good and then other times we look a mess," Glennon said. "We just have to learn from our mistakes and clean it up."
Glennon threw for 3,054 yards and 31 touchdowns — tied for second-most TD passes in program history — in his first year as a starter. His return for his final season was one of several reasons Wolfpack fans were hoping to contend for an Atlantic Coast Conference championship and return to a bowl game for the third straight year.
But Glennon threw four interceptions in the season-opening loss to Tennessee in Atlanta. Last weekend, he completed 15 of 30 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown in the 10-7 win at Connecticut, though the Huskies sacked Glennon six times and held the Wolfpack to the program's lowest point total in a victory since 1999.
N.C. State managed just 258 total yards in the win.
Coach Tom O'Brien said several factors have contributed to the slow start for Glennon — and the offense, for that matter.
"It starts with the protection and goes to the route running ... and it goes to him with his decision making and what he has to do," O'Brien said. "It's a combination of everything and it's something that we have to solve and we have to make it work this week."
While offensive guard Zach Allen said the linemen need to communicate better to protect Glennon, receiver Tobais Palmer said the wideouts are still working to get their timing right with the quarterback.
"We need to be on the same page as one unit," Palmer said. "We need to do what it takes — if it's extra meetings, extra time to get routes right with Mike, then we need to do that. ... It's the first two games. It's still early in the season, so it's kind of hard to tell what we're going to do be as a unit right now. We're still working."
Glennon, who earned the starting job when Russell Wilson left for Wisconsin, got off to a slow start in last year's opener against Liberty. But he threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns in a road loss to Wake Forest, then returned home and threw for 274 yards and four scores against South Alabama.
"He's 6-foot-6 and will probably be in the NFL next year," Jaguars coach Joey Jones said. "He's a very efficient quarterback, and they do a good job moving the ball down the field and are patient with their play calls."
Glennon threw 11 touchdowns against two interceptions in the final three games, ending with a Belk Bowl win against Louisville.
If he follows that pattern again, N.C. State will still be in position to make good on its goal of contending in the ACC despite the sluggish start.
"The thing about our offense is we're not going to make the same mistake twice," Glennon said. "We're going to be better as an offense. We just need to keep learning from our mistakes and going from there."