NC State Wolfpack vs. University of South Florida Bulls
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: A LOUD Carter-Finley
Line: NCSU -19
WE’VE MADE IT PEOPLE!!! IT’S GAMEDAY IN RALEIGH!!!
After nearly 650 days without a packed Carter-Finley, Wolfpack football returns with an opportunity to run with the true dark horse label for the 2021 football season. After going 8-4 last season, State enters a Thursday night season opener against a beatable USF Bulls team.
Last time we did a preview of a USF team (Women’s Bball) we got into some…let’s say…debates on social with folks down in Tampa. They weren’t happy that we were throwing shade on their squad…and here we are again.
The 2020 season couldn’t have gone much worse for the Bulls. Their lone win, in 9 games, was in the season opener against The Citadel. Then, well, it just was a long, painful grind.
Like any new season, things can change. Plenty of transfers have come in to right the ship, and offensively, they do have talent. Their O-Line, RBs and WRs all have plenty of snaps to compete. Their QB? Cade Fortin, who State fans will know from his time at UNC. We’d like to say that season was too long ago to matter, but Carolina finished 2-9 and Fedora canned…so it totally matters.
Where State can really take advantage is against USF’s defense. Last year, the Bulls managed 7…SEVEN…total sacks on the season. To put that into perspective, State’s Daniel Joseph had 6.5 by himself. For Leary to come back, settle in and make his reads in week one, will be HUGE for confidence and season-long momentum.
Keys to Winning for the Wolfpack
- We just mentioned this, but State has to take advantage of every opportunity this USF defense gives them. Furthermore, they NEED to protect the ball. Turnovers were absolute killers last year for the Wolfpack. They get a chance to start a season against a poor defense, who’s solid transfers have yet to see game action in their new scheme. Keep passes short and clean, get into a nice pace and allow yourself to find that perfect run/pass balance.
- Secondary can have themselves a night. Fortin is decent, but he’s going to give you a couple lame ducks that need to be intercepted. The ability for Joseph and company to get into the backfield, will only help State’s cause.
- Can State improve their run defense? What USF’s backfield lacks in size, they make up in speed. Joiner and Battie can absolutely fly. State needs to control the edge and make them push inside. The STELLAR State linebacker core has to do their thing in the cleanup department.
On paper, this is all State. If this was week five and we saw the same type of USF play as last year, this would be a cake walk. The -19 spread is scary, but if State finds their groove early, this could be a fun one.
Set the tone offensively, show continued improvement on defense, let’s get this 2021 campaign started.
State – 37