Tony Gibson’s 3-3-5 defense has gained a well-earned reputation for being one of the most difficult to prepare for in college football.
Despite losing FIVE starters from 2022 who are now on NFL rosters and one other starter in Game 1 due to injury, the Wolfpack defense has continued to dominate under Gibson, getting stronger and stronger as the season progresses. In addition to those losses, two other safeties have been injured over the course of the season, forcing Gibson to creatively move players around.
The Pack leads the ACC in interceptions (5th in FBS) with 10 through 9 games, and ranks in the top 26 in the FBS in third down conversion defense, turnovers gained, defensive TDs, sacks, first downs allowed, rushing defense and passing efficiency defense.
NC State held Miami without a touchdown on 11/5 (first time vs. a league opponent since 2011), and on 9/25 held a high-octane Louisville offense to just 306 yards and one TD (the Cards have averaged 454 yards in their other nine contests).
LB Payton Wilson is a Butkus Award semifinalist and the ACC’s leading tackler (11.7/game) – the fifth-best mark in the FBS. Wilson has won four ACC LB of the Week honors this season and was the Butkus Linebacker of the Month for September.