RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The schedule may indicate No. 16 North Carolina State is still in the regular season portion of their ledger but don’t tell that to Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren.
“Since we lost that game to Miami we’ve been approaching every game as a must-win game,” said Doeren about the Pack’s 31-30 setback three weeks ago. “So we’ve been kind of in a playoff mode you might say for the last two games.”
The “playoffs” will be taken up a notch on Saturday when the Wolfpack travels to Winston-Salem to face No. 12 Wake Forest.
The Demon Deacons sit atop the ACC’s Atlantic Division with a 5-0 record. N.C. State is one game back at 4-1.
“The difference in this one is, it’s an in-state team,” said Doeren of the game’s added importance. “Outside of that there is no difference. We have to win this game, the next game and the next game to be in Charlotte as far as us controlling it.”
Run the table and the Pack will play in its first-ever ACC title game. This team has the confidence to do just that.
They may be the only ones who think they can do it.
“We just want to earn our respect,” said Pack defensive back Derrek Pitts, Jr. “Every week you see it on TV how they try to down-play how we play on offense and defense. We take that into our game every week, that chip on our shoulder.”
The Pack beat Wake Forest in a shoot-out a year ago in Raleigh but has had trouble recently when traveling to Truist Field.
“Me personally, I’ve never won down there so I’m looking forward to going down there and getting a victory this year,” said Pack wide receiver C.J. Riley. “We just got to do our part, I feel confident coming into this game.”
And there seems to be an extra buzz surrounding the contest. It’s not often the Pack and Deacons meet with so much on the line.
“A lot of people are making this into the “The Game” like to me it’s not,” Doeren reasoned. “To me it’s not, it’s the next game of three and we have to go undefeated in November to basically control our destiny.”