There's no doubt that last weekend's loss to UNC likely took a lot out of NC State both physically and mentally. The Wolfpack controlled their own destiny but a ton of self inflicted errors allowed Carolina back in the game and ultimately resulted in the Pack's third loss of the year.
The job for the Wolfpack coaching staff this week was to ensure that one loss doesn't grow into two. Sometimes getting right back in the saddle can be the best medicine and the offense should get a huge boost from playing in Carter-Finley Stadium.
The offense did a lot of positive things last weekend and they have to make sure there's no hangover when they take the field against Virginia. From a sheer talent standpoint, this is an opportunity for the NC State offense to put up some points. They have to make sure that mentally, they're dialed in and have the Carolina game behind them.
The NC State offense had one of its best outings of the year last weekend and it gave the Pack something to build on headed forward. State had a ton of drops and costly pre-snap penalties. They blew protection on several plays that resulted in sacks or pressure on QB Mike Glennon and still amassed 35 points and 534 yards of offense.
The coaching staff has to feel pretty good about how potent this offense could really be if they can clean up the mistakes that hamstrung several of their drives last weekend.
The fact is, throwing the football is NC State's offensive identity and they need to keep firing. Bryan Underwood is emerging as one of the conference's most deadly receiving threats. Quinton Payton has been steady while Tobais Palmer shows explosive potential. Add in the running backs and tight ends and Dana Bible has a stable of receiving threats that is enough to give any defensive coordinator a lot to think about.
Virginia hasn't faced very many teams that spread the ball around the field. However, they gave up 361 passing yards to Richmond earlier this year and nearly 500 yards through the air to Louisiana Tech.
With the weapons NC State possesses and playing at home, there's no reason why the Pack shouldn't be able to spread Virginia out and throw the ball all over the field.
GETTING BACK ON TRACK
Other than the first half against Florida State, it's not much of a stretch to say that most of NC State's offensive struggles have come as a result of their own mistakes. Clearly, getting back on track starts in the first quarter. In all three of the Pack's losses they fell victim to huge first half deficits that ultimately cost them a win. First and foremost State has to come out strong and limit or eliminate silly penalties and unforced errors.
For the Wolfpack, turnovers, dropped passes and pre-snap penalties have been the great equalizer and if they continue that against Virginia then they'll keep the Cavs in the game. If the Pack is able to play relatively error-free then they should be able to handle Virginia.