NC State (3-1) at Wake Forest (2-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 5, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: BB&T Field (31,500) -- Winston Salem, North Carolina. Television: RSN. Home Record: NCST 3-1, WF 1-1. Away Record: NCST 0-0, WF 1-2. Neutral Record: NCST 0-0, WF 0-0. Conference Record: NCST 0-1, WF 0-2. Series Record: NC State leads, 63-37-6.
GAME NOTES: The NC State Wolfpack hit the road for the first time this season as they get set to face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in Atlantic Coast Conference play at BB&T Field.
NC State opened its campaign with four consecutive home games and won three of them, with the lone exception a 12-point loss to third-ranked Clemson on Sept. 19. Most recently, the Wolfpack cruised to a 48-14 win over Central Michigan this past Saturday.
Meanwhile, Wake Forest enters the week looking to get back to .500 after getting dismantled at Clemson, 56-7. The Demon Deacons' victories have come against Presbyterian and Army, while they dropped a close two-point decision at home to ULM (21-19).
NC State leads the all-time series with Wake Forest, 63-37-6. The Wolfpack won last year's meeting in Raleigh, 37-6.
NC State scored 28 unanswered second-quarter points to pull away from CMU. Bryan Underwood tallied 148 yards and a touchdown on five catches, while Shadrach Thornton powered the ground game with 71 yards and a score on 13 carries. Pete Thomas completed 14-of-20 passes for 244 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The offensive balance was split evenly between the run and the pass, as NC State finished with 239 rushing yards on 52 attempts as a team (4.6 ypc).
Through four games, the team boasts four 100- yard rushers, led by freshman Matt Dayes with 190 yards (4.5 ypc) and four TDs. Thomas has completed 64 percent of his throws (226.5 ypg) but has only one touchdown against five interceptions.
The 'Pack defense set the tone early against CMU. On the Chippewas' second play from scrimmage, NC State senior linebacker D.J. Green stepped in front of a pass and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown to stake his team a quick 7-0 lead. Green was one of three players to notch an interception for the hosts. The Chippewas were never able to settle into any kind of offensive rhythm, as they finished with only 13 first downs and 259 yards of total offense. They also converted only 2-of-12 third downs and made only one trip into the red zone. Senior linebacker Robert Caldwell led the way with seven tackles, including 2.5 for loss, while Juston Burris broke up three passes.
To say Wake Forest has struggled offensively would be quite the understatement. Through four games, the unit ranks 105th nationally in scoring offense (18.4 ppg) and 114th in total offense (316.0 ypg). Last week's loss at Clemson was about as lopsided as it gets. Excluding their final possession just before halftime, the Demon Deacons had seven first-half drives result in six punts and one score. By then, Clemson had built a 35-7 lead, making the outcome all but official. Tanner Price threw for only 125 yards and a touchdown on 14-of-22 passing, while backup quarterback Tyler Cameron's 21 rushing yards represented a team-high.
The Tigers scored touchdowns on their first three possessions against the Demon Deacons and never looked back. The first score came on a 64-yard pass less than a minute into the game, and the Wake Forest defense would also surrender a 75-yard scoring strike midway through the opening frame. All told, Clemson went on to rack up 27 first downs and 573 yards of total offense for the game. After giving up a combined 63 points in their first four games, the Deacs simply had no answer for the high-powered Tigers. Brandon Chubb finished with a a team-high nine tackles in the loss. He has logged a team-high 36 stops on the season.
Both of these teams faced nationally-ranked Clemson in recent weeks, and while the end results were the same, the level of competitiveness varied greatly in those respective games. Use that as a barometer for this matchup despite Wake's homefield advantage.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: NC State 38, Wake Forest 17
10/02 10:34:53 ET