NC State football: A near future without Devin Leary? Ben Finley update? Oh, and Syracuse – The Fayetteville Observer

  • October 10, 2022

North Carolina State football fans were thrilled with Saturday’s 19-17 win over Florida State, well, at least momentarily.
With the injury to starting quarterback Devin Leary, questions loom about his replacement and how long the Wolfpack (5-1, 1-1 ACC) can last before its next loss.
Questions were asked via social media, email and in person. So let’s jump into the mailbag.
I’ll be honest, shoulder injuries like the one Leary seemed to suffer Saturday rarely have a quick turnaround, especially when it connected to a player’s throwing arm. Coach Dave Doeren did offer some good news that X-rays came back negative and did not show any significant injury. Doeren said he’d have to wait until his junior quarterback receives an MRI before updating his status.
Leary was seen on the sideline in the fourth quarter wearing a grey athletic shirt with a sling around his right arm. We won’t know more until Monday, but I’d be very surprised to see him play Saturday (3:30 p.m., ACC) against Syracuse.
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I think that’s a gross mischaracterization of Jack Chambers’ abilities and a lack of awareness of what he accomplished against FSU.
First, Chambers came in cold midway through the third quarter and led NC State to three scoring drives for a 19-17 win and played his role as game manager to a tee. He finished with 39 rushing yards and yes, did throw only one pass, but he did what he was asked to do: win the game.
While Chambers had success with his legs, he’s been a productive passer throughout his career. The 25-year-old Charleston Southern transfer completed 523 of 915 passes for 5,761 yards and 40 touchdowns while with the Buccaneers. If he’s named the starter against Syracuse, expect the coaching staff to open up the playbook. According to Chambers, he knows it front to back.
We may also see an offense that includes true freshman quarterback MJ Morris.
As reported in early September, Doeren said that Finley, the redshirt sophomore quarterback, was still with the team and running the scout team as a fourth-stringer.
Finley, the younger brother of Ryan Finley, a three-year starter at NC State from 2016-18, was a fan favorite after coming off the bench to replace Bailey Hockman against UNC in 2020.
At halftime against the Tar Heels, Finley was 9-of-12 passing for 128 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He came back to earth in the second half as UNC’s defense adjusted to the freshman, limiting Finley to 15 yards passing on 4-of-8 completions. 
He did not play the rest of the season.
Finley played in three games last year, including a season-high 16 snaps during a win against Furman. 
That will likely depend on Leary’s prognosis Monday.
The Orange (5-0, 2-0) are in the midst of their best season since winning 10 games in 2018 and have already sold 40,000 tickets.
Syracuse has yet to play a real quality opponent, and only beat Purdue by three points and Virginia by two. But quarterback Garrett Shrader and running back Sean Tucker offer one of the best one-two punches in the ACC this season, and without Leary, NC State’s already struggling offense could be in for a long night in New York.

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