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NC State football inside Top 25 in Week 7 AP, Coaches polls

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RALEIGH, N.C. — It wasn’t a perfect win for the Wolfpack on Saturday afternoon, but the 31-20 victory over Duke was enough to clinch a spot in the Top 25 in both major polls for the first time this season. The Wolfpack rose to No. 22 in the Coaches Polls and No. 23 in the Associated Press Poll on Sunday after a 4-1 start to the year.

This marks the first time since the 2018 season that the Pack is ranked in both polls, when State was ranked No. 22 in the AP Poll following Week 11 of the season. It’s also the 13th week in which State has been ranked under Dave Doeren, with the other 12 weeks coming during the 2017 and 2018 campaigns.

The Pack’s latest rankings come after a three-game winning streak, including two road wins and a recent in-state rivalry win over Duke. Doeren’s squad has knocked off a ranked opponent already this year at Pittsburgh and was able to handle business against two more Coastal opponents at Virginia and at home against the Blue Devils on Saturday.

While it’s a huge accomplishment for the team as a whole, it’s a bittersweet moment for the program as well. After suffering a broken left fibula on Saturday against Duke, NC State’s starting quarterback Devin Leary will be out for at least 4-8 weeks following surgery on Sunday.

“He’s a tough kid,” Doeren said of Leary Saturday evening. “I hate it for him to get injured like that because I know how much this game means to him, how much this team means to him. So, next man up. Bailey and Ben Finley and Ty Evans will have to be ready to roll for us at quarterback. It was a great comeback win, and guys just kept responding.”

Luckily for the Pack, there are several experienced playmakers on offense like Cary Angeline, Ricky Person, Emeka Emezie, Zonovan Knight, Devin Carter, Jordan Houston, Dylan Autenrieth and several others that will now have to step up and carry that side of the ball. And with a progressing defense behind the play of Alim McNeill, Payton Wilson, Tyler Baker-Williams and several others, the Pack should be able to rally together to string together several more wins this season.

Up next for the Wolfpack is UNC-Chapel Hill, which dropped outside the Top 10 in both polls following a loss at Florida State on Saturday evening. The Tar Heels have plenty of offensive firepower, so State will need to limit UNC the same way FSU did this weekend or keep pace with the Heels offensively in order to remain inside the Top 25 next week.

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