David Kehrli, Correspondent
RALEIGH, N.C. – Finally.
In Year 5, Dave Doeren finally achieved what many Wolfpack fans feared he was incapable of — defeating a top team.
Entering Saturday’s meeting with No. 12 Florida State, Doeren was 0-9 against ranked teams during his tenure at N.C. State.
Only one other coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Virginia’s Bronco Mendenhall in his second season, had yet to defeat an AP Top 25 team while at his current job.
As a proud alum of N.C. State University, I cheer for the Wolfpack when I’m not covering the team.
Sitting at home on my couch, I felt uneasy with the Pack leading in the fourth quarter.
Like many N.C. State fans, I knew the inevitable N.C. State (Stuff) was soon coming.
But finally, the Wolfpack avoided the mistakes that have cost it dearly in the past.
Finally, the Pack avoided dumb penalties.
Finally, the Pack avoided coverage breakdowns, leading to a big play for the opponent.
Finally, the Pack flipped the script, and looked like it knew it was going to win the game.
Doeren has rightfully received blame for some of the bad losses N.C. State has suffered under his leadership.
But he deserves all the credit in the world for this win.
Remember: we’re talking about the Wolfpack, so who knows how the remainder of the season will play out.
But for now, Doeren and his team have given N.C. State fans hope and belief that they haven’t had in a long time.
They’ve made a skeptical fan like myself believe that just maybe ESPN’s Cole Cubelic had a point when he projected the Pack in the College Football Playoff before the season.
While I don’t think this team is quite that good, there is no doubt this is the best and most talented squad Doeren has had at N.C. State.
This is a team that can and should make noise in the ACC this season.
I’ll always be skeptical, but at least now I know N.C. State has the ability, for the first time in a while, to bring fans more joy than anguish.
Enjoy this Wolfpack fans; it’s been a long time coming.
David Kehrli, @DavidKehrli