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Weekly Report Card: NC State

Carolina won its 11th game of the year against NC State in Raleigh on Saturday.

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina exploded out of the gate on Saturday and held a 35-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. However, the Heels stagnated after that, turned the ball over three times and looked ordinary for most of the remaining 45 minutes. The Heels defense faced a 36 minutes of field, most of which came in the final three quarters. The Heels ended up with a 45-34 win, but the team failed to be as inspiring for the last 45 minutes as it was for the first 15.

Grades:

Bring the Emotion: B+

The Heels definitely came to the game fired up and ready to go. From the outset, there was never any concern that this would be a let down game for the Heels. The players were always focused on their opponent and they came out determined to make a statement. However, that resolve seemed to fade for the second and third quarters. The Heels turned the ball over three times and let the Wolfpack hang around for far longer than they should have before 10 fourth quarter points finally put the game out of reach.

Take Away the Run: C

Carolina scored a ton early and that ensured that State had to throw the ball quite a bit in this game. But at the same time, the Wolfpack still ran the ball 52 times and averaged 5.9 yards per carry doing it. Carolina was especially gashed by Jacoby Brissett running the ball from the pocket. The Heels failed to stop runners behind the line of scrimmage and often the first time a ball carrier was hit by a Tar Heel player, the runner was already a few yards past the line of scrimmage. The Heels will need to be better against Clemson if they want to have any shot at the ACC title.

Close Out Early: C-

Carolina did get up by 28 points in the first quarter but they never really slammed the door shut like they did against Duke. The Heels failed to score in the second and third quarters which really kept the Wolfpack in the game. State kept believing they had a chance to win this game until Carolina closed out in the fourth quarter. The Heels also had to play their starters this entire game and that could especially tax the defense. Clemson was in a hard fought game against South Carolina and the Heels squandered a golden opportunity to get rested up and face a more tired opponent.