North Carolina State will host Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) September 6 12 at Carter-Finley Stadium. The Eastern Kentucky Colonels are members of the Ohio Valley Conference which participates in the Football Championship Series (FCS).
Both teams will enter the game coming off blowout wins: The Wolfpack defeated Troy 49-21 and the Colonels defeated Valparaiso 52-10.
Defensively, NC State can expect to see an assembly line of rushers as the Colonels used six running backs on their way to 130 yards rushing against Valparaiso. In the passing game, EKU also used three quarterbacks who went 23-for-36 for 283 yards and two touchdowns. The Colonels’ Jeff Glover, who stands 6-foot-5, could be a problem for the Wolfpack’s secondary if his quarterback has time to throw. Glover caught five passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns last week. The NC State defensive front should be able to disrupt the timing of EKU’s passing attack, and I don’t see their running game being able to get on track.
Tale of the tape
NC State Eastern Kentucky
1-0 …….. Record …………1-0
Atlantic Coast…… Conference ……..Ohio Valley
Multiple ………Offense…………Pro Style
4-2-5 ……Defense ………..4-3
450.0 …..Total Off/Gm……..410.0
251.0 ..Rushing Yds/Gm….127.0
199.0 ..Passing Yds/Gm….283.0
305.0 ……Total Off/Gm……..220.0
121.0 ….Rush Yds./Gm……38.0
184.0 ..Passing Yds/Gm….182.0
(Stats provided by the NC State Athletic Department)
What needs work
Brissett’s downfield passing: Expect offensive coordinator Matt Canada to ease his quarterback into this phase. Manufacturing easy completions for Brissett early will go a long way toward his completion percentage on passes 15 yards and longer. Start small, but stretch the field when the opportunities arise.
Rush defense: The front seven should be able to tune-up a few problems this week against the Colonels. Granted, they will not face a formidable offensive line and rushing attack, but as coach Doeren said this summer, and I’m paraphrasing, it’s about getting the guys repetitions.
Running back Shadrach Thornton will serve the last game of a two-game suspension when the Colonels come to town.
Bold and Not So Bold Predictions
Final score: NC State 52, Eastern Kentucky 10
Nyheim Hines will have over 175 return yards: Coming off a game which he had no punt returns and two kickoff returns for 52 yards, expect Hines to really shine this week on special teams. I don’t foresee a lot of kickoff returns for the Wolfpack, but I see many opportunities in the punt return phase. Did I forget to mention he will take one to the house for his first career touchdown?
Matt Dayes and Reggie Gallaspy will run for over 250 yards and four touchdowns: Dayes was the Wolfpack’s workhorse last week, rushing for 128 yards. True freshman Gallaspy chipped in with 50 yards. Expect more of the same from Dayes, and Gallaspy will record his first 100-yard game and touchdown.
The Wolfpack’s rush defense will allow 75 yards or fewer this week. To make it even sweeter, I’ll throw in under 200 yards of total offense for Eastern Kentucky.