NC State Wolfpack vs. Miami Hurricanes
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Hard Rock Stadium – Miami
Line: State -3.5
This is a tale of two teams. Both have talent, but only one has been able to put together a good season. But you wouldn’t know who is who, judging by media and expert picks.
When the line first came out, State was the UNDERDOG. The 5-1, neck-and-neck Atlantic representative for the ACC Championship game, started as a point and a half underdog. Odds changed dramatically once folks saw it on the board. Let’s dig into Miami preview, State’s history in South Beach and what the Wolfpack need to do Saturday night.
Things haven’t been good in Miami (now it finally makes sense why no fans show up to games). Miami is 2-4 on the season, with the two wins being a survival of App State and blowing out Central Connecticut State. For what it’s worth, facing Bama and Michigan State ain’t a non-conference cake walk. But the Hurricanes have looked out of sorts.
State and Miami have both scored exactly 194 points this year…defensively, however, Miami has given up nearly 100 more points. If State is to win, they’ll need to ensure that this doesn’t become a shootout. Slinging the ball 50 times Saturday night would be ideal for Miami.
Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke was relatively unknown coming into the season as backup to King. Then he ran his mouth after back-to-back losses, proclaiming the Hurricanes offense was unstoppable. Below 50% completion rate against FCS competition, he’ll provide State LBs and secondary with a handful of opportunities for both sack and interceptions. Wide receiver Rambo (bad*ss name) is the go-to for the Hurricanes, with Restrepo as the biggest ‘big play’ threat. Knighton will carry the rock for the Hurricanes, replacing stud back Harris.
If you want to get Bam and Person going, Miami’s your team. This defense is averaging over 150 rushing yards against, thanks to overall poor tackling ability. They do get steady pressure on quarterbacks, so Leary is going to need to be okay with some throw aways and/or taking sacks. State’s O-line versus this massive defensive front is going to be really, really fun to watch.
Similar to BC, lots of WPN assumes that heading to Miami is bad news for the Wolfpack…and again that assumption would be wrong. While we’re .500 on the road, State actually struggles far more against the Hurricanes at home, where they’ve only been able to beat them once.
Unlike VT, BC or any number of big time, Saturday night games, this crowd should be nowhere near as loud or intimidating.
Keys to Winning for the Wolfpack
- Win in the Trenches – This game is make or break along the lines. If State’s o-line can keep Leary upright, while providing second level push for the backs, offensively State will be rolling. Likewise, pressuring Van Dyke and slowing Knighton down will force Miami into ill advised play-calls and throws. State should absolutely walk away with a handful of sacks and at least one INT.
- Go for a Home Run Play – If Leary wants to take a home run shot, they’ll have the opportunity. Furthermore, if Bam and Person find space, they’re gone. In just the last two weeks, Miami has allowed six opponents to have 30+ yard plays, four of which went for touchdowns. If Beck wants to get aggressive, after creating a balanced attack (wink, wink), there will be chances for State to roll the dice and go for the throat.
- Four Quarters – Simply put, State needs to play and execute for four quarters. Defensively, they did that last week at BC. Now for more of the same, but a little more output from the offense and we’re in business.
Miami has playmakers, but they aren’t making plays or find themselves on IR. State, outside of poor decision making against Miss State, has been beyond solid and consistent. Would expect the defense to be flying and the offense to be steady. This will be close again for the first half, but if State is opportunistic, they should be able to put up a big win and further push Manny Diaz to the danger zone.
We’d take State to cover the 3.5 and also take the over (54.5).
State wins 36-20
It Looks Like NC State Center Dylan McMahon Will Not be Returning in ‘24
NC State redshirt Junior Center Dylan McMahon was honored on Senior night, but walking on Senior Night doesn’t guarantee that the player won’t return for another season if they are eligible. It has been unknown at this point if McMahon would return for a final season in Raleigh, or enter the 2024 NFL Draft.
It looks like McMahon will be heading to the NFL, after accepting the invitation to play in the 2024 East-West Shrine Bowl.
McMahon is a 4-year starter at NC State, starting in 43 of the 48 games he has played in. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. ranks McMahon as the #9 Center in the 2024 NFL Draft.
McMahon was a 3-star prospect in NC State’s 2019 recruiting class out of Savannah, Georgia.
Breaking Down NC State’s Assistant Coach Salaries
USAToday runs a report every year on the salaries of Head Football Coaches, Assistant Coaches and Strength Coaches. Here’s a look at the salaries of NC State’s Assistant Coaching staff.
Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers – Tony Gibson – $1.3 million
Offensive Coordinator/Inside Wide Receivers/Tight Ends – Robert Anae – $899,000
Running Backs/Special Teams Coordinator – $548,473
Offensive Line – Garrett Tujague – $520,000
Defensive Line Charley Wiles – $490,023
Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers – $482,966
Safeties – Joe Deforest – $430,459
Quarterbacks – Kurt Roper – $430,459
Cornerbacks – Brian Mitchell – $417,205
Nickels – Freddie Aughtry-Lindsay – $330,644
NC State ranks 4th in the ACC in total pay of Assistant Coaches. Tony Gibson is the 2nd highest paid assistant Coach in the ACC (28th overall), and the highest paid Defensive Coordinator. Robert Anae is the 4th highest paid Offensive Coordinator in the ACC, and the 7th highest paid Assistant.
With 9 wins, in accordance with Head Coach Dave Doeren’s contract, the salary pool for Assistant Coaches increases by $300,000. If the Pack wins a 10th game, that number becomes $400,000. (WRAL)
NC State Wants Pop Tarts
NC State wants Pop Tarts. Who doesn’t?
According to Brad Crawford of 247Sports, NC State has requested the Pop Tarts Bowl, which will be played on December 28th in Orlando, Florida.
You might be like, I’ve never heard of the Pop-Tarts bowl. That’s because this is the first rendition of the Pop Tarts Bowl, but it used to go by other names you might be familiar with: Cheez-It, Camping World, Russell Athletic, Champs Sports, Tangerine, Micron PC, Carquest, and Blockbuster (the last three were when the bowl was in Miami).
Below is an updated list of 15 bowl projections, with 12 of the 15 picking NC State to go to the Pop-Tarts Bowl.
(The three above the line have changed their projections since my last bowl projections post on 11/28.)
The Athletic – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Kansas State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
CBS Sports – Pop-Tarts Bowl vs. Oklahoma State – January 1st – Tampa, FLA
College Football News – Pop Tarts Bowl vs. Kansas State – December 29th – Jacksonville, FLA
OddShark – Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl – NC State vs. Rutgers – December 28th – New York City, New York
Covers.com – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Oklahoma – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
USA Today – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Oklahoma State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
247Sports – Pop-Tarts Bowl vs. Kansas State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
Athlon – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Kansas State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
ESPN – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Oklahoma State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
ESPN – Gator Bowl – NC State vs. Tennessee – December 29th – Jacksonville, FLA
Sporting News – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Oklahoma – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
Fox Sports – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Oklahoma State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
Action Network – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Kansas State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
College Football Network – Sun Bowl – NC State vs. USC – December 29th, El Paso, TX
Betting Pros – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Kansas State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
NC State to Have an In-Home Visit with Coastal Carolina Transfer QB Grayson McCall
According to ON3, NC State is set to make an in-home visit with Coastal Carolina Transfer Quarterback Grayson McCall this weekend.
McCall was the Sun Belt Player of the year in 2000, 2021 and 2022. He didn’t play the final 5 games of the season due to injury this year, and prior to injury, the numbers weren’t on par with prior years. It was also his first year with Tim Beck as Coastal’s head coach.
After last season, McCall entered the Transfer Portal, and there was speculation that he would transfer to Auburn. In the end, McCall pulled his name out of the portal.
I was interested to see how the Wolfpack coaches would fill the QB void. Would you go get a 4 or 5 star Quarterback who has been stuck in a backup roll with numerous years of eligibility, or would they go get an elite graduate transfer with one year remaining?
McCall is one of the Top-7 Quarterbacks that have entered the Portal thus far.