NC State Wolfpack vs. Miss State Bulldogs
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Starkville, MS
Line: NCSU -1.5
After handling business against University of South Florida, the Wolfpack hit the road for some SEC action. Can the running game continue to amaze? Can this defense force turnovers and win field position? Let’s dig it…
Miss State Preview
For a good chunk of last Saturday, this preview was going to be about how bad Miss State looked in their opening game against LA Tech. Nothing was going right and the struggle was real.
MSU then proceeded to have their largest fourth quarter comeback in school history.
Final score, 35-34 Miss State, with 21 unanswered fourth quarter points. It definitely wasn’t pretty, but a win’s, a win. Miss State had six, SIX turnovers while giving up three sacks. Quarterback Will Rogers was consistent (39/47, 370 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT), but he was moving in and out of the pocket with the o-line struggling to contain. A concern for the Wolfpack, is the ball was moved all around this offense. Eight Bulldogs had multiple catches, with five going over 50 receiving yards.
Rushing game was…well…ehh. Taking out Rogers’ massive sack yardage debt, Marks and Johnson averaged close to six yards a rush, but rarely saw the ball. This offense is truly “Air Raid” Mike Leach style.
Miss State’s defense is stout on the run, but will give you chances in the passing game. Look for Leary and State to go deep when given the opportunity.
Keys to Winning for the Wolfpack
- TURNOVERS, TURNOVERS, TURNOVERS: Going to go out on a limb and say that Miss State won’t fumble it another five times, but they are careless with the ball. LA Tech isn’t a chump (and we’ll double check that in a future game against them), but this State defense is faster, stronger and more disciplined. While USF QBs were under continual pressure, State failed to gain a single sack. This Miss State team only goes as far as Will Rogers can throw, so get in the backfield and disrupt. Need to win the turnover battle by at least +2 AND get on the stat sheet with some sacks.
- Run Baby, Run: Again, hard to judge so early and with a poor USF defense as the lone example, but Knight and Person need to keep it going. Leary should be able to pick up yards through the air (and some nice scramble opportunities, himself). How well the Pack can run, is a huge difference in this game. Whether allowing for play action or running out the clock, we need 175+ total yards out of this duo.
- Weather the Cowbells and Take Control: We were mightily impressed by how well NC State reacted with a loud Carter-Finley behind them. They were aggressive but not out of control. They’ll need that level head early with a night game in Starkville. Don’t let the SEC moniker, cowbell swinging, sea of maroon knock our focus. The Wolfpack are the better squad, just need to settle into their game early (a la USF) and go.
Don’t expect Miss State to fall off the face of the Earth for an entire half again…but also don’t think they are consistent enough to be a contender. NC State has speed, strength and experience. It’ll be back and forth, but turnovers and offense clicking will be the key for the Wolfpack. DBs and LBs be ready…
Wolfpack Wins, 34-27