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