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NCSU hanging in at the half 14-7

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

NC State caught a break on Justin Byers' interception when the official review determined he was down before ECU stripped the football from him, but the Wolfpack lost a key member of their defense when Nate Irving left the game with a leg injury. A school spokesman told me Irving's return in the second half is questionable.

The biggest question in this game is why Harrison Beck keeps coming in and interrupting Russell Wilson's rhythm. Beck had an interception returned for a touchdown -- the play that was the difference in the first half -- and Beck also fumbled. I'm not sure why the staff is using the quarterbacks like this, or why they're using its backup at all.

Last year, this game was a turning point in NC State's season, and the Wolfpack were in a similar situation with injuries. But a talented South Florida team is next on the schedule, and no breaks after that. Losing Irving would be another huge blow, as he has been arguably their best playmaker on both sides of the ball so far. Without him, they lose their identity on defense. And by continuing to switch quarterbacks, the staff isn't helping the team find one on offense.