NC State has benched star transfer quarterback Brennan Armstrong after a disappointing five-game stretch to open the 2023 season, Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren announced Monday. MJ Morris will start in Armstrong's place with NC State set for an out-of-conference game against Marshall in Week 6.
"It's clear we need a spark on that side of the ball," Doeren said during his Monday press conference.
Armstrong, who transferred to the Wolfpack after successful career at Virginia, has struggled mightily at his new home, completing just 58.8% of his passes for 971 yards with five touchdowns and six interceptions. The final straw came Friday in a 13-10 loss to Louisville where Armstrong went 13-of-25 passing for 112 yards with two interceptions and lost a fumble. His 73.63 passer rating against the Cardinals was the lowest as a starting quarterback during his career, which dates back to 2020.
The Wolfpack had high hopes for Armstrong, who was the No. 6 quarterback in last offseason's 247Sports transfer portal rankings. His struggles this season are surprising considering the hype that followed him from Charlottesville, Virginia, to Raleigh, North Carolina. He was a third-team All-ACC performer in 2021 after he threw for 4,449 yards with 31 touchdowns and rushed for 251 yards with nine scores on the ground. He was named a finalist for the Manning Award as well as a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award and Davey O'Brien Award following the regular season.
The breakout performance in 2021 came under offensive coordinator Robert Anae, who left for Syracuse after the season but reunited with Armstrong at NC State prior to this year in the hopes of repeating their success together.
Morris was a three-star quarterback and the No. 417 overall player in the Class of 2022. The 6-foot-2, 192-pounder from Carrollton, Georgia, appeared in five games last year for the Wolfpack, throwing for 648 yards with seven touchdowns. He also rushed for 88 yards with a rushing score.
NC State hosts Marshall on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.