NC State’s Doeren weighs in on ACC’s rough opening weekend

Sports

Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei is knocked to the turf by Georgia defender Travon Walker on a broken play during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – For a conference battling for national recognition, the ACC didn’t exactly win over the critics with the league’s week 1 body of work.

Where to start?

How about with No. 10 North Carolina losing to fellow ACC member Virginia Tech 17-10.

The Hokies went 5-6 a year ago.

North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell (7) is sacked by Virginia Tech’s Chamarri Conner (22) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, in Blacksburg, Va. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)

Meanwhile, some felt this UNC squad had a chance to compete for a playoff spot.

“It wasn’t like we went out and laid an egg,” said N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren when asked about the ACC’s performance over the weekend. “There were a bunch of competitive games and we were one possession away as a league of making a bunch of good things happen.”

That’s a good point.

The Tar Heels and Np. 3 Clemson both had chances to win late in their games.

The Tigers lost to No. 5 Georgia 10-3 in Charlotte.

But there were a couple of conference losses that did the league’s perception no favors.

Duke lost 31-28 to Charlotte, a program in just its sixth year of FBS competition.

Georgia Tech losing at home to Northern Illinois will leave a mark, while No. 14 Miami’s 31 point loss to No. 1 Alabama was not unexpected.

Still, the ACC would have looked much better had the Hurricanes at least been competitive.

“We’re only one weekend in, there’s so much football left,” said Doeren who’s Wolfpack squad opened its campaign with an impressive 45-0 win over South Florida. “Those teams that lost are going to get better.”

For the ACC’s sake, we can only hope so.

Doeren seems confident the ACC will be just fine despite its performance over the weekend.

The 9th year N.C. State head coach had plenty of time to take in some games on Saturday with the Pack playing on Thursday.

“It’s hard for me to just watch a game and have fun watching it,” laughed Doeren. “I’m always thinking of our conference, I want our conference to do well.”

“There’s also you know relaxation too like ‘hey man I don’t have to deal with this fourth-down decision right here,’ and I’m laughing and having fun with it.”

It’s safe to say this Saturday will not be nearly as relaxing for Doeren when his Wolfpack travels to Mississippi State for an ESPN2 7 p.m. kickoff against the Bulldogs.

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