I tried to think of some clever opening line or come up with some quick-witted response and almost a week later I still have nothing for the way N.C. State lost to West Virginia last Saturday. Any N.C. State fan has seen this act before. The hype and expectations were there but the performance was lackluster and us as fans trudge on to the next week longing for that signature victory. Yes, there were a few bright spots in the loss, mainly Thayer Thomas’s touchdown pass, what can’t he do, but let’s be honest, who is really into moral victories in college football? Not many.
The Wolfpack expect to rebound pretty quickly with Ball State up next on schedule. Not trying to drag any college athletic program through the mud but this should be a fairly easy victory for N.C. State especially since Ball State is giving up an average of 490 yards and 37.5 points per game to opponents so far this season. However, the real issue here is not N.C. State getting another victory following a painful loss because they will get several more victories this season but rather learning how to win when expected to or in hostile territory.
Talent, coaching and scheme are integral parts in winning any contest and often the best of those attributes come out on top but also learning and knowing how to win is just as important. The art of knowing how to win is immeasurable in sports and honestly N.C. State football just isn’t there yet. Yes, the current Wolfpack roster can win games with their advanced talent, coaching and scheme when facing less superior teams but when equally matched in those categories this team is still figuring out how to do that.
This team is young, especially on defense, and their learning curve will have to be sharp if they are going to win some of the games this year where talent, coaching and scheme are equal or where the Pack is out matched. Learning how to win with such a young roster would pay huge dividends in the years to come for this program but for now it is about getting there.
At the end of the day I am just like every other fan and love to have more wins than losses at the end of the year but for the rest of 2019 I will be paying extra close attention to how the Wolfpack perform in their four remaining road contest. At Florida State, Boston College, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech are not going to be easy games to win on the road and some of those stadiums can be very intimidating to out of towners. If the Pack can learn how to win just a couple of these games then I will be satisfied and feel better about this program understanding the art of winning leading into 2020.