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The NC State/UNC game doesn’t need the media to drum up the hype at all this year. Not only is this a rivalry, it’s a matchup with postseason implications.

The Wolfpack is 7-4 and a win would put them into consideration for a decent bowl, but I’m guessing that won’t be their biggest motivator. That likely would be reserved for playing spoiler on UNC’s chance for a spot in the CFB playoffs.

UNC is already going to be playing in the ACC championship after winning the Coastal division, but you shouldn’t believe that they are going to be mailing this one in. They want redemption for the 35-7 beatdown they received from NC State last season and they would love to rub it in the faces of the Pack fans on their home field.

NC State obviously has other plans. Beating UNC to finish out the season would build some much needed momentum going into bowl season and the offseason. To get this win there are going to be some keys they’ll have to focus on:

Dominate the run game:
Last year against UNC the Pack ran for 388 yards, 167 of those were from Jacoby Brissett. Carolina is likely going to make sure Brissett doesn’t go bonkers on the ground, but can they stop the NC State ground game in general? Although they don’t have Dayes or Thornton, they did get back on track last week rushing for 276 yds (led by Gallaspy with 81yds and a TD). If they want to win they’ll need to control the clock and that means Gallaspy and Nichols are going to have to come up big.

Pressure the QB:
UNC is riding a 10 game winning streak and Marquise Williams is playing well with Mack Hollins coming alive as a true deep threat. The key for the Pack is to get pressure on Williams and make him make quick decisions. If they can’t get into the backfield to fluster Williams then UNC will have a major advantage.

Turn them over:
This really is a extension of our last point. They need to make sure Williams doesn’t have time in the pocket and that he has to make quick reads because they desperately need to win the turnover battle in this one. A pick and a fumble recovery or two could be huge in helping State to a major upset.

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NC State Football

NC State Football has Proven the Preseason Rankings Wrong More Than Almost Any Other Team Since 2010

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According to College Football Report, NC State is tied for the 2nd Most Ranked Finishes after beginning the season Unranked in the Preseason AP Poll since 2010.

CFB Teams With The Most Ranked Finishes After Being Unranked Preseason (Since 2010)

Northwestern – 5
NC State – 4
Oklahoma State – 4
Michigan State – 4
Mississippi State – 4
Baylor – 4
TCU – 3
Texas A&M – 3
Utah – 3
Boise State – 3
Memphis – 3
UCF – 3
Cincinnati – 3
Houston – 3

An interesting tidbit regarding this stat: NC State has finished the season ranked in the Final AP Top-25 4 times since 2010. On all 4 occasions, the Wolfpack was unranked to start the season.

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NC State Football

NC State Football is Tied for the 14th Most Finishes in the CFP Top-25

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According to College Football Report, NC State is tied for 14th most Top-25 finishes in the Final College Football Playoff Rankings with 5.

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NC State has finished in the Top-25 of the CFP Poll the past 4 years consecutively, as well as 2017.

2023: 18th
2022: 23rd
2021: 18th
2020: 23rd
2017: 24th

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NC State Football

CBS Sports Predicts Each ACC Football Teams Final Record for 2024

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Grant Hughes over at CBS Sports released his predictions for the Final Records of each ACC team for the 2024 Football season.

The Wolfpack are predicted to go 10-2, with a 7-1 record in the ACC.

What are your thoughts on Hughes’ predictions?

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NC State Football

Phil Steele Includes 2 NC State Players on His 2024 Preseason All-American Teams

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Phil Steele has released his 2024 Preseason All-ACC Teams, and 9 NC State players were represented. He also released his 2024 Preseason All-American Teams, and two Wolfpack players were honored: Sophomore Wide Receiver Kevin Concepcion & Senior Cornerback Aydan White.

Concepcion was named to the 3rd Team. He is coming off one of the best Freshman seasons in school history. Concepcion was named ACC Rookie of the Year, and earned Freshman All-American status from numerous publications. He finished the year with 71 receptions for 839 and 10 Touchdowns. The 71 receptions & 10 Touchdowns were new Freshman records at NC State, and the receiving yards rank 2nd. Overall, regardless of class, the 71 receptions rank 6th in school history in a single season, and the 10 TD’s rank 5th.

White was named to the 4th team. He hasn’t given up a touchdown in coverage over the past two seasons. Last season, White earned 3rd Team All-ACC status, and ranked 5th in the conference in passes defended. In 2022, White was 1st Team All-ACC, ranking 2nd in the ACC in interceptions (4).

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