Raleigh, NC – Many eyes will be on the 2021 NC State Wolfpack football team this year as folks believe this could be the season the Wolfpack finally get over the hurdle. The start of that process begins Thursday night as NC State hosts South Florida in their season opener, in what should be an amazing crowd at Carter Finley Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and can be seen on the ACC Network.
The Wolfpack are coming off a program record ACC win campaign in 2020, finishing 7-3 in the ACC and 8-4 overall. But the season ended on somewhat of a sour note as NC State fell to 4-6 Kentucky in the Gator Bowl. Dave Doreen begins his ninth season leading the Wolfpack with a 55-46 record overall.
USF heads to Raleigh after year one of the Jeff Scott era. Scott, who is no stranger to Carter-Finley and the ACC, previously served as the offensive coordinator at Clemson. Another familiar face who returns to North Carolina as the projected starter for the Bulls will be former UNC quarterback Cade Fortin, who transferred to USF after his time in Chapel Hill. The Bulls finished the 2020 season 1-8 overall and 0-7 in AAC competition.
- The Wolfpack and the Bulls have met three times on the gridiron, with the Pack posting a 2-1 advantage (0-1 home; 1-0 away; 1-0 neutral). The last matchup was on Sept. 13, 2014, when the Pack won 49-17.
- The Wolfpack returns 20 starters (including 10 on defense) from last season. Every statistical leader (on a per game basis) returns for 2021.
- Nine different players are on 15 different preseason watch lists for national awards (three different players – Grant Gibson, Zonovan Knight and Payton Wilson appear on three lists apiece).
- Six games in 2020 were one-score games. The Pack was 4-2 in those contests.
- Under Dave Doeren, NC State posts a 7-1 record in season openers. This season marks the second
- The Wolfpack has posted a 12-12 record in Thursday night ESPN games, including a 10-7 markat home and a 5-3 mark against top 25 teams.
Inside the Match Up