North Carolina State
College Football Pick
Dave Doeren is in his Fourth season as head coach at N.C. State. There has been some hope in Raleigh but not a lot of return on that hope. Things started on a good note in Week 1 for the Wolfpack as they defeated William & Mary 48-14.
Especially impressive in his performance was graduate-transfer Ryan Finley. In his first start since coming over from Boise State, Finley completed 17-of-21 attempts for 174 yards and two touchdowns. It was tight early — tied 7-7 after the first quarter — but Finley led the way to the Wolfpack pulling away in taking a 28-7 halftime lead for all the separation they would need.
Finley has the luxury of having players around him that can get involved in both the passing Game and the running Game. Matthew Dayes was N.C. State’s leading rusher with 138 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries. He also caught two passes for 18 yards. Jaylen Samuels was the leading receiver with five receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown. He added five carries for 24 yards. Nyheim Hines was also a factor in both categories as he caught 4 passes for 42 yards and ran the ball three times for 8 yards.
The Wolfpack is without Jacoby Brissett acting as its starting quarterback from the last two seasons. But if Finely is going to lead the N.C. State offense to success he’s going to need the help of all the playmakers around him, just as they did against William & Mary.
East Carolina has a graduate-transfer starting quarterback of their own. Philip Nelson was even more impressive in his debut than Finley as ECU defeated Western Carolina with ease, 52-7.
Nelson threw for 398 yards and five touchdowns, while running for another touchdown to lead the way for the Pirates. Nelson threw his touchdown passes to Zay Jones, Anthony SCott, Jimmy Williams and Quay Johnson. Jones caught one touchdown but led the way among the receivers with 180 yards on 10 receptions. SCott was also impressive with 90 yards on nine receptions, while catching two touchdown passes.
The Pirate running Game was also very effective. While he was the second-leading receiver, SCott also was the leading rusher for ECU. He ran the ball 11 times for 120 yards and another touchdown. James Summers was also involved, gaining 95 yards on 10 carries.
Prediction: This one feels like it can go either way. ECU has certainly had a knack for beating ACC opponents in recent years. since 2013, ECU has gone 5-1 against ACC teams, including a 2013 win over N.C. State 42-28 in Doeren’s first year with the Wolfpack. Look for points to be scored in this one early and often. Doeren is in need of getting this one pretty bad to reach 2-0 on the season.
In a Game like this, we will gladly side with the home dog in a Game they could very well win straight up. East Carolina +4.5