The Cardinals have started the year with a smooth 4-1 overall record and they’re third in the Atlantic Division. Their only bump in the road came against the Clemson Tigers where they suffered a 47-21 blow to the chest. They rebounded pretty well when they sent Kent State to home with a 42-3 loss.
NC State also enters the game 4-1 but hold the first place spot in the Atlantic Division. They’re nationally ranked for the first time since 2010. They started off with a close loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks 35-28 but rebounded well with two straight wins against non-conference opponents, and then two straight wins against conference rivals (Florida State and Syracuse). The win over Florida State got the Pack back on the map, but the Clemson game is still out there along with dates at Pitt, Wake Forest, and non-conference, sort of – Notre Dame.
But if they win this game, and with the Tigers having to come to Raleigh, the excitement will start to build around this club.
Oooorrrrr Lamar Jackson will be Lamar Jackson and crush those dreams on national television. Last year, Jackson lit up the Wolfpack for four first-half touchdowns on the way to a 54-13 Cardinals win.
Here’s Why Louisville Leaves With a Win
The Cardinal offense hit the 500-yard mark in four of the first five games, with the only time going under it against Clemson with 433. Jackson’s mobility and legs have a lot to do with that. He has 2,073 yards of offense and 18 touchdowns.
The Cardinals lead the nation in first downs and lead the ACC in passing as well. Jackson has done a little better with staying in the pocket and he get’s mobile when he needs to. He keeps his eyes down field and has been great at spreading the passes around no matter who’s catching them. He’ll definitely have to do just that to cruise past a shaky State pass defense.
Staying on the defensive side of the ball. The Wolfpack are dead last in the ACC in pass defense allowing 285 yards per game. Since the start of the 2015 regular season, Clemson is the only ACC team to beat Louisville. Most defenses haven’t figured out a way to take Jackson’s legs from him. NC State has allowed 85.6 rush ypg (8th in the FBS) so far. If he can dissect this defense, they’ll win.
Here’s Why NC State Leaves With a Win
The giveaways have been an issue for the Cardinals.
Fortunately, they didn’t turn the ball over against North Carolina, and the defense helped pick up the slack with a slew of takeaways against Purdue and Kent State, but the ten turnovers on the season are too many. Way too much. However, its better than last season’s turnover number where they gave it up 32 times.
But the Wolfpack are outstanding and owning the mistake side of things with just two turnovers on the year, ranking first in the ACC in turnover margin, and with no picks.As good as Jackson might be, Ryan Finley is starting to enter into All-ACC quarterback territory with nine touchdowns, no interceptions, and completing 72 percent of his passes.
NC State defensive lineman Bradley Chubb is a unique player. He could have gone in last year’s NFL Draft, but returned to the program for another year, and his intensity and elite play has made him not only the team’s best player but the face of this breakthrough season. Chubb was a dominant force against the Seminoles and expect him to be in rare form on Thursday night against the least sack-able quarterback in America.
The last time the Pack have beat a top 25 team was in 1992. In four years as coach, Dave Doeren has yet to win more than three conference games in a season and suddenly, with his best team, there’s a chance the Wolfpack could be in the mix for a division title.