N.C. State run defense struggles in 48-21 loss to UNC

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren knew his team would have its hands full with the dynamic rushing attack of UNC-Chapel Hill on Saturday — and he was right.

Javonte Williams and Michael Carter combined for 266 yards rushing in UNC’s 48-21 win in Chapel Hill.

Missed tackles, though, aided that number.

“Yeah, it’s very disappointing,” admitted Doeren. “There were some plays in the first half where I thought we just didn’t get off blocks. It doesn’t matter what you call, if you have unblocked players at the ball and they miss the tackle it’s not going to be a good defense.”

Bailey Hockman started at quarterback for the injured Devin Leary and struggled early against the Tar Heel defense. The Wolfpack began the game with three straight three-and-outs.

“Like I told Bailey at halftime he didn’t do anything wrong in the first half,” said Doeren. “I thought he was playing well. I told Bailey he’d get another opportunity and he played well.”

Trailing 14-0 and the offense stuck in reverse, Doeren went with true freshman Ben Finley at quarterback. The younger brother of former Wolfpack star Ryan Finley, Ben gave his team a lift.

“Our plan was to play him one series in the first half,” said Doeren. “The first two series he (Finley) came in and sparked us. Then his inexperience showed up.”

Finley threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Emeka Emezie late in the 2nd quarter to pull the Wolfpack to within 14-7. But in the second half, Finley threw an interception and and had a costly fumble before being replaced by Hockman who finished the game.

Now the Wolfpack heads into a much-needed bye week after six straight weeks of football.

“I think we need to fix a lot of things,” said N.C. State center Grant Gibson. “I think we need to get some guys healthy. I think in this bye week we’re going to take a look at ourselves and we’re going to learn from this loss.”

N.C. State will play four of its final five games at Carter-Finley Stadium.

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