RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – N.C. State’s 45-42 loss Saturday night in Winston-Salem may have dashed the Wolfpack’s ACC title hopes.
“Games like that hurt your heart,” said Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren.”
What hurts most is that this was a rare year in which Atlantic Division kingpin Clemson opened the door for N.C. State to grab its first ever ACC football title.
The Pack controlled their own destiny going into the Wake Forest game. Not anymore.
“For us, it’s just changing the narrative,” Doeren explained. “Instead of talking about Charlotte and controlling our own destiny – that’s out of our control now. The only thing we control is what we do the next 11 days.”
That means beat Syracuse at home on Saturday and do the same when North Carolina comes to town six days later. If the Pack does that, there is still a path to Charlotte and the ACC Championship.
State is two games back of Wake Forest in the Atlantic Division standings. The Demon Deacons have two games left as well – at Clemson on Saturday and then a trip to Chestnut Hill the following Saturday.
If Wake loses both games, we could see a three-way tie for first place among N.C. State, Wake Forest and Clemson.
The Pack will have beaten the Tigers but lost to the Deacons. Wake meanwhile would have a win over State but a loss to Clemson.
Sounds far-fetched? Stranger things have happened.
“Wake goes and plays at Clemson and Clemson hasn’t lost at home in probably 30-something games,” said N.C. State wide receiver Thayer Thomas in assessing the Packs situation. “So it’s definitely a challenge for Wake Forest to go there and beat Clemson in Clemson.”
“And you never know, they go to Boston College on their Senior Day at the end of November which is probably going to be a cold day and they’ve got their quarterback back. We’ve just got to do our part and then hope and pray.”
In other words, N.C. State is hoping for a very un-Pack-like situation to unfold.
“Lord knows we’ve had enough bad luck throughout the years, it would be good to have a little good luck down the stretch here,” laughed Doeren. “We’re going to say our prayers and light our candles and do all the ritual things we can and see if we can get some luck down the stretch.”