Quick hits and notes from NC State's embarrassing 44-14 loss at Cincinnati Thursday night in front of 28,431 fans at Nippert Stadium.
That was bad
No way to beat around it or spin it. NC State got whooped on a nationally televised game. The Pack got spanked on the line of scrimmage, and no stat tells that better than the rushing yards. NC State ran for negative-26 yards net. The longest gain was a 12-yard scramble from redshirt junior quarterback Mike Glennon. NC State quarterbacks were sacked seven times. This was the first time that State had been held to negative yards since they were stopped for negative-13 yards against South Carolina in 1987.
For the Bearcats, that was the third lowest rushing total they ever allowed and the fewest since negative-34 yards against Wichita State in 1974. Cincinnati meanwhile rushed for 240 yards and gave up just one sack. NC State never once reached the red zone and allowed Cincinnati to convert 9 of 16 third downs, which has clearly emerged as a significant problem for the Pack this year.
Lopsided defeat puts Pack in a hole
This was NC State's worst loss since being blown out 52-20 at Boston College Oct. 17, 2009. The last non-conference defeat this lopsided was a 41-10 home loss to South Florida Sept 27, 2008.
Since NCSU played a pair of FCS schools, State needs to win seven games to be bowl eligible this year. The Pack needs to go 5-3 over the next eight games, not an easy mark to achieve considering NCSU is about to enter the heart of what was supposed to be a back-loaded schedule.
Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium on Thursday night is tough
The Bearcats have a 21-game winning streak against non-conference opponents at Nippert Stadium and improve to 4-1 all-time on Thursday night games.
Defense continues to take blows
The Pack lost starting defensive tackle Brian Slay, a junior, to an ankle injury in the first half. Slay was replacing fifth-year senior J.R. Sweezy, who is out after fracturing his foot in the preseason. Slay's replacement would have been redshirt freshman Thomas Teal, but Teal is also out with a broken foot. Next in line was sophomore A.J. Ferguson, who had hobbled off with a knee injury at that point but later returned.
At one point State had to turn to walk-on offensive guard Jacob Kahut to play some snaps at defensive tackle.
Some milestones achieved
NC State fifth-year senior tight end George Bryan caught a pair of passes for 19 yards in the contest. That moved Bryan up to 99 career catches, the most ever for a Wolfpack tight end. T.J. Williams had held the previous mark with 98 receptions.
Senior receiver T.J. Graham, one of the few bright spots on the evening for State, caught seven passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns. One of them was an 87-yarder that ranks as the fifth longest in school history and longest since Marcus Stone threw a 96-yard touchdown pass to Brian Clark at Boston College in 2005. The 176 receiving yards were the 10th most in a game ever at State and best effort since Donald Bowens had 202 yards against Virginia in 2007.
Graham has 4,212 all-purpose yards in his career, the ninth best ever for a Wolfpack football player.
Sophomore cornerback David Amerson also made his fourth interception of the year, giving him more picks than any player in the FBS ranks at this point of the season. Also on defense, fifth-year senior Audie Cole had 15 tackles, which marks a new single-game best for Cole. He had 13 tackles in a game twice before for his previous high.