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Cincinnati Bearcats vs. NC ST Wolfpack

Betting Line: NC ST -2

ESPN Thursday Night Football

9/16/10

This week's Thursday night ESPN primetime game will feature the spread offense of Butch Jones and the Cincinnati Bearcats (1-1) VS the NC State Wolfpack (2-0). This will be each team's first game against a BCS conference team this season. The Bearcats, who lost to Fresno St before rebounding to destroy Indiana St, will need to find some form of consistency on both sides of the ball. Against Fresno St the offense started fast jumping out to a 14 to 0 lead while the defense, which was the big question at the beginning of the season, started with three straight three and outs along with a turnover. However, after the fast start the offense fizzled out and the defense was torched through the air. Against Indiana St the Bearcat offense started slow only putting up 12 points in the first half. The defense seemed to be clicking again early as they forced a safety and only allowed seven points all game. The offense exploded in the third quarter for 28 unanswered points and the Bearcats pulled away for a 40 to 7 victory. It seems as though the Bearcats wanted to pass as much as they did last season early but will now put more faith in their running game. Bearcat running backs rushed for over 100 yards and 2 touchdowns against Indiana St.

The Wolfpack this season has started out with two straight wins lead by the air attack of Russell Wilson who has passed for 411 yards and five touchdowns while not throwing any interceptions. These numbers could be deceiving because 306 of those yards and four of those touchdowns all came in a blowout over Western Carolina. If Wilson has a problem with consistency look for the Wolfpack to go to the ground game and give the ball to running backs Dean Haynes and Mustafa Greene who have 24 and 23 carries respectively on the year. Through two games each have two touchdowns but neither have eye popping numbers on the ground. Haynes has 118 and Greene has 90. The Wolfpack defense could be a key factor in this game. They forced five turnovers against Central Florida and forced one against Western Carolina. If Cincinnati quarter back Zack Collaros makes some of the bad decisions he made against Indiana St the NC St defense will surely capitalize on them.

With all that being said it will come down to which team can play a more consistent football game. If the Bearcat offense comes out and clicks look for the Bearcats to put up big numbers on the scoreboard like they have in previous years. If the Bearcat secondary plays like they did against Fresno St then it could be a very high scoring game depending on which Russell Wilson shows up. These teams seem very closely matched and we don't expect either team to run away with it. The Bearcats and Coach Jones both will be looking for a quality win and to gain respect while NC St will be looking to protect their perfect record and their home field. Carter-Finley Stadium will be rocking and this game will definitely be a good one. The Wolfpack defense could be exposed playing a high powered offense. Look for the Bearcat offense to come out and score early to try to take the crowd out of the game.

NC State pulled an upset hosting the Pittsburgh Panthers of the Big East last year. They have a much easier task with what looks like a depleted Cincinnati team. The Bearcats still have to prove their offensive line can protect the QB. Look for NC State to keep pressure on Collares. NC State -2

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