College Football: N.C. State wants to end 0-for-ACC slide
RALEIGH ó When Mike Archer met with his North Carolina State players during their week off, the defensive coordinator gave them the brutally honest truth.
“We’re at the bottom of the pole right now, and we’re the laughingstock of the ACC,” linebacker Ray Michel quoted him Monday as saying. “It made me furious a little bit. I was a little upset to hear that.”
They’ve got plenty of reasons to be upset at N.C. State. Two months into the ACC’s turbulent season, and there has been one constant: Wolfpack losses.
They’re one of only eight teams in the Bowl Subdivision that has yet to win a conference game, and are the first N.C. State team in nearly a half a century to make it to November without beating an ACC opponent.
“You try to motivate them any way you can, but one thing we don’t do ó we don’t sugarcoat a lot of things,” coach Tom O’Brien said. “We try to be truthful and honest with them, and this is our honest evaluation. And if we’re wrong, you have to prove to us that we’re wrong.”
The only team that id 0-for-the-ACC this year, N.C. State (2-6, 0-4) has lost four straight and can expect no relief from this week’s opponent ó perpetually woeful Duke, which is enjoying its best season in years.
Yes, the Blue Devils (4-4, 1-3) are in their customary spot in last place in the ACC’s Coastal Division, but they’re 41/2-point favorites over the Wolfpack and are at .500 this late in the season for the first time since starting 4-4 in 1998.
“This is a well-put-together group,” Wolfpack offensive tackle Jeraill McCuller said.
N.C. State has four chances remaining to avoid becoming the fifth team in school history to fail to win an ACC game. The first four times were in the 1950s, when the conference was in its infancy. The last time it happened was 1959, when the Wolfpack lost their last nine games, went 0-6 in league play and finished 1-9.
At least the scores have been increasingly closer as they’ve progressed through the season ó even if that only means the Wolfpack are merely losing, and not being blown out anymore.
Their first three losses ó all of which were marked by injuries to quarterback Russell Wilson ó came by an average of nearly four touchdowns; the last three were decided by a total of 19 points.
“We should prove that we’re a better team than what our wins and losses have shown,” Michel said.