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Early Preview – N.C. State

Posted by cuorange on July 28, 2009

Game 10 – November 14, 2009 – Carter Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC

Record O St Rtng Pts/Gm O Yds/Gm O D St Rtng Pts/Gm D Yds/Gm D
6-7 7 23.5 329 7 26.3 391

After being shut out by South Carolina to start the season and then only scoring only 3 points on offense in the third game against Clemson, the Wolfpack hit their stride in the second half of the season scoring at least 21 points in 7 of their final eight games (including bowl game).

This is Tom O’Brien’s third season in Raleigh and this team is beginning to look more and more like the Boston College teams of O’Brien’s past.

Sophomore Russell Wilson is the heart and soul of the Wolfpack offense. Though only completing 54.5% of his passes, Wilson only threw 1 interception (and 17 TDs) in 275 attempts. Wilson is also a rushing threat with 388 net yards on the ground.

The Pack loses leading rusher Andre Brown (787 Yds), but return Jamelle Eugene and Toney Baker (injured in ’08), along with freshman Brandon Barnes. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that this group will be improved.

The losses at WR are minimal and the group will be experienced. The Pack has a game breaker in Owen Spencer who averaged 22.3 yards per catch on 31 receptions while scoring 5 TDs.

N.C. State loses two full time starters off the OL, as well as 2 other part time starters. OL is the typically the strength of O’Brien coached teams and I expect that this group will be improved.

While losing two starters off the DL, the Pack return 7 experienced linemen and this will be the best DL N.C. State has had in years.

The loss of one starting linebacker is offset with the return of 3 experienced players and the recovery of Terrell Manning who was injured in ’08.

The secondary loses two of four starters, but returns seven players that started at one time or another and is an experienced group.

The Skinny: 5 straight victories against the Pack has the Tigers teaming with confidence. The problem is that both of N.C. State’s lines will be solid, if unspectacular. Clemson has the advantage at RB, WR, DL (very slight) and DB. State has the advantage at QB and OL (does this sound familiar?). LB is probably a wash.

Early Conclusion: N.C. State’s line play bottles up the Tiger’s offense and Russell Wilson makes enough plays in Raleigh. This game will remind Clemson fans of the slugfests when O’Brien was at Boston College.

N.C. State 20 Clemson 16

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