NC STATE +3.5 3.3% PLAY
I'm not one for a revenge role, but I think it definitely sticks here. NC State Sr. DE Chubb, "Yeah we definitely remember it." Chubb was referring to Louisville's beat down of NC State a year ago. Junior RB Hines says, "We really didn't show the world what NC State is capable of." This is a very big game and it's at home as the lone Thursday night college football game. Louisville went up big last year 44-0, but it's worth noting that NC State's head coach Dave Doeren even admitted that his team wasn't over what had happened the previous week at Clemson. The previous week at Clemson their kicker missed a 33 yard field goal that would have won the game and honestly Clemson might have been in a different spot at the end of the year. It's hard to play back to back road games in the ACC. It's even harder when you are coming off an OT Loss, and even harder when you almost upset the defending ACC Champions on the road. Louisville got started so fast last year and you could just tell NC State was not into it.
I think this year will be different and there are several reasons why. For one Louisville is not as explosive offensively. Louisville's offensive line is not as good this year and they don't match up well against NC State's talented front which is 10th in the nation in run defense. NC State actually held Louisville's rushing attack in check a year ago as they averaged just 3.7 ypc. However, Louisville is actually throwing more this year which is just an indication that they are in tighter games. In fact, since this match-up a year ago Louisville is just 6-4 vs. FBS opponents. Louisville is in trouble I think as they should be without their top WR Jaylen Smith (wrist) once again which turns things over to two young players in Fitzpatrick a sophomore and Dawkins a freshman.
NC State is more balanced offensively and their QB is limiting turnovers which will be a key going into this game. Ryan Finley turned it over 3 times in this game last year and he has yet to throw an interception this year. Purdue and North Carolina had 7 passing TD's against this Louisville secondary and I think Finley is a bit better completing 71.9% of his passes 1403 yards 9 TD's and 0 INT's. He was impressive on the road against FSU completing 23-33, 2TD's, 0 INT's which showed great improvement from his game against them last year. Louisville is ranking 91st in opponent QB rating and although they get their best defender in the secondary back I think they will have issues keeping NC State out of the end zone when it matters. Louisville has allowed a 72% TD percentage in the red zone on defense while NC state's defense comes in at 38% TD's allowed. This will be the difference in the game in my opinion as they'd rather score TD's than allow their kicker to kick. This along with NC State's ability to win the turnover margin as they are +6 on the season compared to Louisville's -2.
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