The Orange defense has been so strong this year. So far this season, the unit has forced 17 turnovers (six interceptions and 11 fumbles) on the year after struggling to do that last season. It held Clemson, an injured and depleted offense, to just 16 points and 375 total yards of offense. But, the offense has never been able to sustain drives long enough and keep the defense off the field. For that reason, the unit has gotten exposed at times, think Notre Dame, Louisville, and Florida State. So naturally, the defense has to be getting annoyed by the lack of offensive production, right?
Well, not if you ask Chuck Bullough. The defensive coordinator said, in typical coach speak that, “you cannot be worried about what the other units of the team are doing, just focus on what you are doing and what you can be doing.” It is expected that coach Bullough would say that, but realistically, the offense needs to do more given what the SU defense has been able to do this year.
The Orange ranks 40th in the country in points against, allowing just 22.8 points per game this season. But the offense ranks 112th in the country in points for, with just 20.5 points per game. Clearly, the offense is not holding up their end of the deal, but we knew that. The question now becomes, can the defense play well enough over the next 4 games to make the season interesting?
It starts this weekend.
NC State comes to the Dome riding a four-game losing streak. The Wolfpack has not won a game in ACC conference play. This is not a particularly good team, and a team that the Orange should be able to beat. The Wolfpack averages 29.3 points per game on the year, but has only averaged 18.25 in its four ACC games. When you consider the Wolfpack put up 41 in its first ACC game against Florida State, the scoring average plummets to just 10.66 points per game over the last three games, a number that may be a true indicator of the team than the previous ones. What these numbers mean is that NC State is a bad team, or it is right now, and a team that the Orange essentially needs to score in the double digits to be able to beat.
With the way the defense has played and forced turnovers, the Orange might be able to put up a score or two on the board without the offense even stepping on the field. And the way the offense has performed this season, whether it is AJ Long or Terrel Hunt, George McDonald or Tim Lester, the defense might need to score a touchdown to win.
Posted: Seth Goldberg