NC State enters AP Top 25, rises in coaches poll after North Carolina win

On3 imageby:Noah Fleischman11/26/23

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NC State’s surge to end the season, including its 39-20 win over North Carolina on Saturday night, has the Wolfpack appearing in all three major college football rankings for the first time in the 2023 campaign.

The Wolfpack entered the Associated Press Top 25 at No. 21, while it moved up to No. 20 in the US LBM Coaches Poll — a jump of four spots. NC State is also No. 22 in the most recent edition of the College Football Playoff rankings, which will be updated on Tuesday night. 

It is the first time this season that the Wolfpack appeared in the AP poll. It was the second team out of the rankings last week. NC State was most recently No. 25 in the final poll in 2022 — and was as high as No. 10 a year ago. 

The Wolfpack has now beaten Clemson, Miami, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and North Carolina in consecutive weeks to finish third in the ACC standings. NC State will await the bowl selection process to see where it will play in its ninth bowl appearance in 11 years under coach Dave Doeren. 

NC State was paced through the air by graduate quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who threw for 1,621 yards with 11 touchdowns and 6 interceptions — none in his last three starts. He has also completed nearly 70 percent of his passes in his most recent trio of starts. Armstrong has also led the Wolfpack on the ground with 126 carries for 544 yards and 6 rushing scores.

Freshman wide receiver Kevin Concepcion has been a do-it-all player for NC State this fall as he leads the team with 64 receptions for 767 yards and 10 touchdowns, while he added the second-most rushing yards (297) on just 38 attempts.

Concepcion was not the only freshman to do damage in the regular season for the Wolfpack. Freshman running back Kendrick Raphael led his position group with 289 rushing yards on 60 carries. He also added 1 touchdown run. 

NC State’s defense has been dominant for most of the season, and graduate linebacker Payton Wilson set the tone with an ACC-leading 138 tackles. He added 17.5 tackles for a loss with 6 sacks, 6 passes defended and 3 interceptions this fall. The Hillsborough, N.C., native is also a finalist for the Butkus Award (nation’s best linebacker) and the Nagurski Award (best defensive player in college football). Wilson is a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award (also the best defensive player in college football).

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