WINSTON-SALEM — Receiver Rashard Smith got hurt on a kickoff in the first quarter, safety Jarvis Byrd went out in the second quarter.
Quarterback Brandon Mitchell, running back Matt Dayes, receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling and left tackle Rob Crisp didn’t play at all for N.C. State.
The injuries added up for the Wolfpack in Saturday’s 28-13 loss at Wake Forest.
“We’re down a lot of players right now,” Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said. “Obviously, when Rashard and Jarvis went out, that was tough.”
Smith, who came into the game leading the team in catches (20) and receiving yards (235), tweaked his right knee on a kickoff return with 2 minutes, 5 seconds left in the first quarter.
He had one rushing attempt for 13 yards and one catch for seven yards on offense before the injury. He tried to get loose on the sidelines to return but couldn’t. He watched the second half in street clothes.
Byrd, the senior free safety, got blocked from behind at with 4:20 remaining in the second quarter and did not return. He had been dealing with a groin injury before the game.
Mitchell, who broke a bone in his left foot in the season-opener, missed his fourth straight game. There’s a chance he could play against Syracuse next week.
Dayes, the team’s leading rusher and scorer, suffered an ankle injury in last week’s win over Central Michigan and didn’t play. Valdes-Scantling missed his second straight game with a hamstring injury. Crisp missed his third straight game due to a concussion.
Time could soon be on N.C. State’s side with injuries. After the Syracuse game the Wolfpack has an open date before an Oct. 26 trip to Florida State.
Vote of Support for Wellman: Before Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said anything about the win in his post-game press conference, he thanked athletics director Ron Wellman for his support.
Wellman has come under fire from a portion of the Wake fan base for the recent struggles of both the football team and the men’s basketball team.
Grobe said he didn’t think any school in the country had a better AD than Wellman.
“We’re just so blessed to have a guy that doesn’t panic at the helm,” Grobe said. “That stays the course and really pumped us up, really made us feel like everything is OK.
“I think he showed some confidence in our staff that we’d find a way to get it done. It just made this past week, after what we did down at Clemson, so much easier.
Grobe said Wellman was a calming influence on the players and coaches at practice this week.
“You would have never known by the way he was with me, with our coaches, with our team, that we just had such an embarrassing loss at Clemson,” Grobe said.
Penalty Problems: Penalties, especially the procedural variety, have been a problem for N.C. State recently and were again on Saturday. The Wolfpack was flagged eight times for 74 yards.
The most damaging was a roughing the kicker call against linebacker Robert Caldwell in the third quarter on a 24-yard field goal attempt by Chad Hedlund.
It was third time in four games N.C. State has been penalized at least eight times.
“For us to grow as a team, we have to be more disciplined from a penalty standpoint,” Doeren said.