NC State and West Virginia agreed to a home-home series for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Both teams started their 2018 seasons hot and the matchup between the Mountaineers and Wolfpack was anticipated as NC State’s biggest game of the season.
Due to a severe hurricane, the game was cancelled. West Virginia continued to play out of their minds most of the season while setting records offensively. While NC State started strongly, a lot of WPN was frankly happy we did not have to play WVU because of WVU’s performance on offense and our own struggles on defense. By midseason, WVU QB Will Grier was on the short list as a Heisman candidate. West Virginia entered in the College Football Playoff conversation before dropping their last two games.
WPN has marked the 2019 game in Morgantown as the toughest away game of the season. Other than Clemson and Syracuse at home, NC State will likely not play another preseason ranked football team.
Since the conclusion of the 2018 season, several things appear to have gone in favor of NC State:
1. QB Will Grier to the Draft
The 23 year old Senior played out of his mind for the Mountianeers in 2018 but Senior Grier will be leaving West Virgina for the NFL Draft. This leaves WVU with a lot of uncertainty on offense. NC State also lost their QB Finley to the NFL Draft but the sense of urgency isn’t the same. Between a backup, redshirt, transfer and 2019 commit, NC State is potentially loaded with QB talent.
2. Head Coach Dana Holgersen Moves South
Fired? Pushed out? Personal financial decision? Who knows, who cares. The 7th year West Virginia Head Coach has taken his talents to the University of Houston. Holgersen and his beautiful skullet (balding mullet) was a staple of West Virginia sports. The fiery coach reinvented Mountaineer football with some of the most productive offenses in school history. Holgorsen’s WVU days will be defined by Geno Smith and Will Grier’s prolific gun slinging days.
3. Former WVU Defensive Coordinator Tony Gibson Comes to Raleigh
The most ironic, and arguably most beneficial, change is the hiring of former West Virginia’s Defensive Coordinator Tony Gibson. Gotta hand it to Doeren for hiring a coordinator for purely one game’s benefit. But seriously, this hires seems to be a smart choice as Gibson will now inhabit the co-coordinator position with current NC State coach Dave Huxtable. NC State will now have 58 years of coaching experience at the Defensive Coordinator position. I’m not sure how many schools can say that.