NC State hosts Citadel in nonconference finale

Associated Press Modified: September 21, 2012 at 10:18 am •  Published: September 21, 2012

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Slowly but surely, North Carolina State's defense seems to be steadying itself heading into the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule. The offense could use a little more work.

The Wolfpack play their final nonconference game Saturday night when they host The Citadel of the Championship Subdivision.

It marks the last chance for N.C. State (2-1) to figure some things out before league play begins next week. The Wolfpack's defense was lit up for several big plays in a one-sided loss to Tennessee in the opener, but followed that by beating Connecticut and South Alabama and allowing seven points in each game.

The offense still has room for improvement. N.C. State ranks 97th or worse in three of the four major stat categories, and that's one reason why coach Tom O'Brien calls his team "a work in progress."

"We certainly can get better in our pass protection, keeping our quarterback clean and making sure we're at the right spot so that we can get the football off," O'Brien said. "We gave up too many sacks (six) two weeks ago at Connecticut, got a little bit better last week, but certainly that's a work in progress."

His defense will face a triple-option offense that certainly has been clicking in the FCS.

The Citadel (3-0) is averaging 466 total yards and has the second-best rushing offense in its subdivision. The Bulldogs have won their first three for the first time since 1992 — and that hot start included a memorable upset of Arkansas.

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