In last Saturday night’s highly anticipated matchup between UNC and NC State, KC Concepcion capped off his remarkable freshman season by leading the Wolfpack to a decisive 39-20 victory.
NC State displayed dominance on both sides of the ball against the feisty Tar Heels, securing a commanding 23-0 lead in the first half that they never relinquished. Concepcion’s impact, both in rushing and receiving, was pivotal.
The true freshman showcased his versatility in front of a sold-out Carter-Finley Stadium, amassing seven catches, 186 scrimmage yards, and two touchdowns. His blazing speed and shifty moves continually troubled the Tar Heels, exciting NC State fans for the phenom’s future.
Another standout in Saturday’s game was senior linebacker Payton Wilson, a two-time first-team ACC selection and a recent recipient of the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award. Wilson’s omnipresence on the field, evading blockers, rushing the quarterback, and dropping back in coverage, was a valuable asset for Coach Dave Doeren. His last game at Carter-Finley marks the end of an era.
Although Wilson’s regular season career has come to a close, he remains a finalist for the Dick Butkus Award, honoring the nation’s top linebacker. With one final bowl game ahead, Wilson aims to further solidify his dominance and stake his claim for the prestigious award.
Taking a step back and considering the UNC/NCSU rivalry, credit must be given where due. Over the last three years, Dave Doeren has led the Wolfpack to three consecutive wins against the Heels and six wins in the previous eight matchups. His ability to motivate his team and execute complimentary football in crucial moments is commendable.
Looking ahead to this season’s bowl game, the #19 nationally ranked Wolfpack face a significant challenge, regardless of the opponent to be named. The likely destinations include the Gator, Pop-Tarts, or ReliaQuest bowl games. With much at stake and a formidable opponent on the horizon, a final concerted effort is required to conclude the season positively.
As the season draws to a close, it’s gratifying to see the Wolfpack leave Raleigh on a high note. Expect the star players to shine as the team gears up for a crucial bowl game to close the year.