North Carolina State Wolfpack football team enters 2016 with hopes for a winning season

Daulton Bahm, Sports Editor

The North Carolina State University (NCSU) Wolfpack football team has entered the 2016 season with a mostly young team led by a transfer sophomore quarterback named Ryan Finley

N.C. State is coming off a 7-6 season, including an appearance in the Belk Bowl in which they lost to Mississippi State 51-28. Their non-conference schedule this season has been perceived as harder than last season by many, and the Wolfpack will take on Wake Forest, Notre Dame, Boston College, Florida State and Miami this season at home in conference play. N.C. State, being the closest major public university to Athens, has many fans in the area.

The Wolfpack have many new players joining the team, both freshmen and transfer students, who could help the team out this season as they are newly part of the N.C. State team. Over 30 freshmen have joined the team for this season, coming right out of high school.

“It was nice having all those pieces back,” N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said in reference to his old and new players. “There were a lot of pieces that we didn’t have in the spring that we were able to watch today.”

A major loss for the Wolfpack occurred last season when Quarterback Jacoby Brissett left the team as he was drafted by the New England Patriots. Brissett started as the main quarterback for the N.C. State football team during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, passing for a combined 5,268 yards and 43 touchdowns. He has been replaced by sophomore Ryan Finley, a transfer from Boise State University, who battled out with sophomore Jalan McClendon, who was a backup quarterback for N.C. State last season, for the starting Quarterback job. Finley started on the first game of the season against William & Mary and had a successful night with two touchdown passes. Finley was rated #3 in the top Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) quarterbacks list in a Pro Football Focus poll in late September, after he led the ACC in completion percentage at 76.3.

“I’m just a game-manager out there, honestly. I’m just trying to get them the ball,” said Finley in an interview with News & Observer after the game. “We’re a quarterback unit. and we’re in this thing together to win games.”