This time last season NC State Football was 4-1 fresh off a victory against Notre Dame at home. In Dave Doeren’s 4th season as Wolfpack head coach, the future was beginning to look bright in Raleigh. Seemingly, Doeren had shaken the hot seat rumors and was ready to lead State into contention for an ACC title. The following weekend NC State marched into Death Valley and pushed the eventual national champion Clemson Tigers to the brink. Had Kyle Bambard made the 33-yard field goal attempt as time expired, who knows the heights of where the Wolfpack season could’ve gone. Instead, their season fell completely apart. Doeren’s Pack went on to lose 5 of their next 6 games, but in the regular season finale upset rival North Carolina in Chapel Hill to finish 7-6 on the season. A convincing win over Vanderbilt in the Camping World Independence Bowl ultimately secured Doeren’s 5th season in Raleigh.
Coming into 2017, ACC and national experts knew the Wolfpack had a talented roster and expected them to test ACC Atlantic powers Florida State, Louisville, and Clemson. Then State lost 28-35 on kickoff weekend to a South Carolina team they were expected to beat. Fire up the hot seat again. Fortunately for Doeren, weak opponents the next two weeks allowed the Pack to regain their bearings. In week 4, NC State rolled into Tallahassee and rolled out with a 27-21 win over the then 12th ranked Florida State Seminoles. Two weeks later, they beat up on reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and upset #17 Louisville 39-25 in a nationally televised game.
So here we are again. Mid-October and the Wolfpack are 5-1, but this time the hot seat has officially been turned off. Those massive wins against two of the three teams considered above them in the ACC Atlantic have reportedly earned Dave Doeren a contract extension. Per USA Today, NC State and their head coach have begun negotiations to keep the coach in Raleigh for the foreseeable future. Though Doeren’s current deal is good through the 2019 season, NC State must feel they need to lock him up now before bigger programs come coach poaching. It’s expected that a deal will be reached and announced in the coming days.
NC State is now ranked #20 in the country and travels to Pittsburg to play the 2-4 Panthers this weekend. The Pack has a bye week next week before the stretch run of their schedule. After the bye week, State will head to South Bend for a matchup with the nationally ranked Irish. Then the Pack will have a chance to take the driver’s seat the next weekend when #2 Clemson comes to Raleigh. The last 3 games of the season will see the Pack head to Boston College, Wake Forest, and finish up at home against the rival Tar Heels.