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2018

North Carolina State

College Football

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Last year should’ve been better for NC State with loads of talent, but it had too many losses (South Carolina, Wake Forest) that should’ve been wins. Still, the Wolfpack managed a respectable nine wins and finished alone in second place of the ACC Atlantic division. While guys like Bradley Chubb and a number of others left school early for the NFL, big things are expected from this team again. In Dave Doeren’s fifth season, the general thought is that they can be just as good. The Wolfpack didn’t have terrible spring odds to win the National Championship (+24000 at 5Dimes Sportsbook), which places them at third in the division, just ahead of Louisville with an over/under of 7.5 wins.

Hope in 2018 is possible with the return of quarterback Ryan Finley, who completed 64 percent of his passes for 16 TDs and 6 INTs last year. He’s even listed in the spring Heisman odds (+12500) over at 5Dimes. Finley has to improve on last year because the tools around him will mostly be new. The line was great last season only allowing 13 sacks and it’ll be important for them not to take a step back with two starters gone. Reggie Gallaspy (436 yards, 5 TDs) is expected to be the top running back, but a couple freshmen are expected to earn some time, namely Ricky Person. It's the same situation at receiver where do-it-all Jaylen Samuels is gone. Kelvin Harman (993 yards, 4 TDs) should be set for an even bigger season and the same can be said for Jakobi Meyers (56 receptions).

The defense is a slightly bigger concern due to all the talent gone, namely eight starters. This team had plenty of depth last season so a big drop off isn’t expected, but it won’t be easy to allow less than 25 points again. The best news is that the secondary gets three starters back led by Tim Kidd-Glass and Jarius Morehead and that should at least keep the group from getting exploited by top quarterbacks. Germaine Pratt is expected to have a bigger role at linebacker, but the line is the biggest question. Darian Roseboro and Eurndraus Bryant are both seniors and moving into bigger roles that will require them to get to the quarterback often and stop the run. With Chubb gone, it only makes sense that new guys have to step it up.

The first important game for the Wolfpack is the contest against West Virginia, a team expected to have a dynamic offense. If they can win that one, there’s a decent chance NC State opens the season with a 6-0 record, mainly due to two favorable home games to open the ACC season. After that, it’s a bit unknown with a trip to Clemson being an issue, although they get Florida State at home. Due to schedule, nine regular season wins isn’t out of the question, but that requires Finley to improve and the defense not to take a step back. Closing the season with trips to Louisville and UNC won’t be easy, but neither will be impossible, especially with Lamar Jackson gone. The Wolfpack have their quarterback and enough tools on defense to remain relevant and that should allow them to fight in the Atlantic division again. 

 

2018 NC State Wolfpack Football Schedule

Sept. 1 vs. James Madison

Sept. 8 vs. Georgia State

Sept. 15 vs. West Virginia 

Sept. 22 at Marshall

Sept. 29 vs. Virginia

Oct. 6 vs. Boston College

Oct. 20 at Clemson

Oct. 27 at Syracuse

Nov. 3 vs. Florida State

Nov. 8 vs. Wake Forest

Nov. 17 at Louisville

Nov. 24 at North Carolina

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