November 17, 2007

Keys to the game revisited: NC State at Wake Forest

North Carolina State passed often and didn't run the ball much, doing the opposite of Wake Forest. Not surprisingly the Demon Deacons won 38-18 to get bowl eligible and improve to 7-4.

NC State lost the line of scrimmage battle, turned the ball over and didn't win the special teams war.

Here are the Keys To The Game revisited.

Start strong

What we wrote: True stat, in NC State's five wins they have scored first in four of those games (the exception was at Miami). The opposing team has also been held out of the end zone on its opening drives in those five victories. In the Pack's five losses, the other team has not only scored first, they have scored touchdowns on its opening drives. NC State is riding high after its big win over archrival UNC. They don't want a letdown Saturday, and the best way to ensure that is to come out focused and sharp. It would help if they got on the board first, too.

What actually happened: NC State didn't score first, and the Wolfpack gave up a touchdown on their opening drive. Wake Forest scored first with a one-yard touchdown run by fullback De'Angelo Bryant which was set up by Josh Adams running through the Wolfpack defense.

Play mistake-free football

What we wrote: In NC State's five losses during the first six games they were minus-17 in the turnover margin. During the four-game winning streak they are plus four. That's probably not a coincidence. Taking care of the football is of extra importance against Wake Forest, who lead the nation with seven non-offensive touchdowns and is plus six in turnover margin for the year.

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