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NC State Notebook
These are exciting times for Nyheim Hines.
With his effectiveness hampered as he was saddled with an injury in North Carolina State’s previous football two games, both losses for the Wolfpack, the junior is creeping closer to full strength.
Meanwhile N.C. State is inching closer to the part of the schedule that has big ramifications, both locally and in the context of the Wolfpack’s aspirations for the remainder of the campaign.
At 7-3 overall, 5-1 in the conference and with a berth in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game no longer on the table, N.C. State now is focusing on becoming only the second team in program history to reach 10 wins.
The Pack also wants to assert dominance over the league rivals, particularly those from the state of North Carolina. The two-game stretch to conclude the regular season is its chance.
It all started with the 17-14 win at Boston College Saturday. N.C. State took the lead in the fourth quarter with something it had been missing. Hines gave the Pack the lead with a dazzling 50-yard touchdown run in the middle of the fourth quarter. He finished with 110 yards on 19 carries.
“The run was a relief,” Hines said of the scoring jaunt. “I have been battling injury the last two or three weeks. It was really great just to go out there and have a big run to help the team win. Anytime I can help contribute to a win in such a matter, I am excited to do that.
“I am getting there. I am probably just 80 percent. We have one of the best training staffs in the country so they do a great job taking care of me. The (offensive) line and the training staff has been the reason I have been able to play.”
The touchdown looked like it would initially be simply an explosion play.
Hines adroitly cut back inside away from the sideline, using the defender’s momentum to his advantage, then turned on the jets for six points that could prove pivotal in N.C. State’s quest to take its program to a new level.
“It was a little bit instinct but a lot of it was what God has given me as a runner,” Hines said of his elusiveness on the play. “I was really just looking at (the defender’s) angle to see how I can make a play. There was around eight minutes left in the fourth quarter so I was just trying to make a play.
“Thankfully, it worked out. I had great blocking. I got to second level and touched it. We have great receivers like Steph (Louis) and Kelvin (Harmon) so a lot of great things can happen.”
Fortunately for N.C. State, Hines’ health is getting better. He knows what lies ahead, beginning with the Wolfpack’s trip to Winston-Salem to take on an improving Wake Forest team on Saturday evening.
The Garner native sees the importance of finishing strong, has fond memories of his last game at Wake Forest and has no interest in being second-best in the state.
“When they recruited me three years ago I could see this happening,” the former Garner High Trojan said. “They had a lot of great players and they redshirted some players. I knew in three or four years they would turn the program around. I think they are taking a lot of people by surprise but, myself, I have never been surprised by the scores they are putting up because I knew they were a great team.
“It is always great. I am from here so when you lose to an in-state school people pick on you. You catch heat for it, so it is always a big thing. It is a night game at Wake Forest. Their field is special to me. I scored my first touchdown there. I remember it like it was yesterday so I am really excited to go out there again.”