Doeren expects lead tacklers to return from injury for NC State’s game against Pitt

NC State

North Carolina State linebacker Payton Wilson (11) and safety Jarius Morehead (31) combine to bring down Florida State wide receiver D.J. Matthews (7) after a reception in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. Florida State defeated North Carolina State 31-13. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – N.C. State can point to some positives despite coming off a 21-point loss to Virginia Tech.

Khalid Martin’s scary looking injury is not nearly as bad as first feared.

“Khalid Martin was back with us today and I’m very happy he’s back,” said N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren. “It was a scary moment, obviously. All the scans, all the X-rays, all the imaging have been positive, now it’s just a matter of returning and how long that takes.”

And while Martin will be out this weekend for the Pitt game, two key members of the Wolfpack defense, though, will return.

“I think getting Payton (Wilson) back is helpful,” Doeren said. “Our top two tacklers are Payton and Tanner (Ingle) and we missed them in a run heavy game.”

N.C. State gave up more than 300 yards rushing to the Hokies.

Offensively the Pack could not keep up with Hokies in the 45-24 loss but will head into this weekend’s game with a bit of momentum.

Devin Leary took over for Bailey Hockman behind center and led the Pack on two touchdown-scoring drives helping to make the final score a bit more respectable.

This week in practice, Leary and Hockman will battle it out to see who will call the signals on Saturday.

“Like I said last week we need them both,” stressed Doeren. “They’re both going to get reps this week and we’ll see who is the most ready to lead our team this weekend.”

Whoever wins the job will face a tough challenge at undefeated Pitt on Saturday.

The No. 24 Panthers are giving up just 10 points per game. For a team coming off a 21 point loss, confidence will be key.

“So for us, it is a chance to handle adversity here early in the season,” Doeren admitted. “I look forward to seeing how they respond.”

Pitt topped Louisville 23-20 on Saturday.

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