Raleigh, NC – September 10, 2023
In a highly anticipated matchup, the NC State Wolfpack football team faced off against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday, resulting in a disappointing 45-24 loss for the Wolfpack. While the outcome wasn’t what NC State fans had hoped for, there are several notable takeaways from the game.
1. Offensive Struggles: The Wolfpack offense faced significant challenges against a strong Notre Dame defense. Quarterback Devin Leary, who had shown promise in previous games, had a tough outing, completing just 18 of 34 passes for 212 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. The Notre Dame defense put relentless pressure on Leary throughout the game, sacking him four times. The offensive line’s inability to protect Leary and establish a consistent running game proved to be a major hurdle for NC State.
2. Special Teams Woes: Special teams played a crucial role in the Wolfpack’s loss. A muffed punt return by Thayer Thomas led to a Notre Dame touchdown early in the game, giving the Fighting Irish an early lead that they never relinquished. In addition to the costly error on special teams, NC State struggled with field position throughout the game, often starting offensive drives deep in their territory. These special teams miscues put added pressure on the Wolfpack offense.
3. Defensive Challenges: While the NC State defense showed flashes of strength, they struggled to contain the Notre Dame offense, particularly in the second half. Fighting Irish quarterback Drew Pyne threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns, exploiting openings in the Wolfpack’s secondary. Notre Dame’s ground game was equally effective, with running back Logan Diggs rushing for 110 yards and two touchdowns. NC State’s defense will need to regroup and make adjustments to shore up their performance in future games.
Despite the challenging loss, there were some bright spots for the Wolfpack. Wide receiver Emeka Emezie had a standout performance, catching seven passes for 123 yards and a touchdown, providing a glimmer of hope for the offense. Additionally, NC State showed resilience by mounting a late-game comeback attempt, scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. However, it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit created earlier in the game.
Head coach Dave Doeren acknowledged the team’s shortcomings and expressed his determination to learn from this loss. “We faced a tough opponent in Notre Dame today, and we didn’t execute at the level we needed to,” said Doeren. “But we’ll use this as a learning experience and continue to work hard to improve. Our season is far from over, and we have a lot of football left to play.”
The Wolfpack will look to bounce back in their next game as they strive to put this challenging loss behind them and build on the lessons learned against Notre Dame. NC State fans remain optimistic about the team’s potential and eagerly await their upcoming matchups.