North Carolina State-Old Dominion
Start Time: 7:00 P.M. ET, Saturday, Sept. 19
Location: S. B. Ballard Stadium, Norfolk, Virginia
Records: Old Dominion 2-0, North Carolina State: 2-0. North Carolina State leads the overall series 1-0.
Live Stats: here.
Betting Line: Old Dominion +19. Over/Under: 58.
Old Dominion Outlook: The Old Dominion Monarchs have looked good in rolling to a 2-0 start with wins over Eastern Michigan and Norfolk State to start the season.
The Old Dominion offensive game plan so far has been to give the ball to running back Ray Lawry (59/438/6TD) and watch him work. Lawry is the nation's leading rusher after two weeks and is rushing the ball at 7.4 yards per carry on the season. Zach Pascal (8/69/0TD) has looked good with limited carries as well. The rush offense as a whole is running at 5.7 yards per carry and 283.5 yards per game. Shuler Bentley (30-54/306/1TD) has been solid in the passing game, but his accuracy needs to improve when the Monarchs face tougher foes this season. Nick England (5/59/0TD), Marques Little (5/48/0TD), and Pascal (5/8/0TD) are the only receivers with five or more catches on the season.
Defensively, the Monarchs have struggled versus the run game in giving up 5.1 yards per carry to the opposition for 177.5 yards per game. This has not hurt them as much as one would expect with the pass defense holding opponents to an identical 177.5 yards per game, but only 4.9 yards per pass attempt. TJ Ricks (19 tkl, 1 tfl), Aaron Young (17 tkl, 1 tfl, 1 INT) and Justice Davila (14 tkl) have been the leaders for a defense that has 13 tackles for loss and four sacks while giving up only 355 yards per game to opponents.
North Carolina State Outlook: The Wolfpack have proven that they can score lots of points and put up large numbers on offense in jumping to 2-0.
Led by a running game that averages 225 yards per game and 4.2 yards per carry, North Carolina State is averaging 42 points per game after two weeks of action. Matthew Dayes (48/242/5TD) leads the way for the running game. He has more than double the number of carries of the teams second leading rusher. Dayes will get the ball early and often. The Wolfpack are no slouch in the passing game as quarterback Jacoby Brisset (38-45/412/3TD) is connecting on 84.4% of his passes on the season. Jumichael Ramos (10/140/1TD) and Jaylen Samuels (10/98/TD have been the beneficiaries of Brissett's accuracy with almost half of the teams
The North Carolina State defense has been excellent in two games, giving up only 208.5 yards per game and only 10.5 points per game. Running the ball versus this defense has been a no go with opponents being held to 3.2 yards per carry and only 78 total yards on the ground per game. Passing has been slightly more successful with a 6.2 yards per pass attempt average, but that is on only 42 total passes. B.J. Hill (7 tkl, 3 tfl, 1 sack) Bradley Chubb (7 tkl, 1 tfl), and Hakim Jones (7 tkl, 1 tfl) have been excellent for the Wolfpack defense.
Prediction: The biggest storyline heading into this game is whether running back Ray Lawry can continue his streak of 200 yards games. He currently sits at three straight heading back to the 2014 season finale. North Carolina State is the much better team in this matchup and should control the trenches on both sides of the ball. The only way the Monarchs can pull the upset is for the defense to force turnovers and Lawry continue his spectactular play. Wolfpack wins after pulling away in the second half.