The North Carolina State Wolfpack opened their season last week with a 24-14 win over the Connecticut Huskies. Last season, State finished their year at 8-5 after a loss to Maryland in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. Dave Doreen is in his 11th season leading the Wolfpack.
While their week one performance against Connecticut was underwhelming, there are high hopes for this team in Raleigh. A lot of that hope is pinned on the shoulder of transfer quarterback Brennan Armstrong. Armstrong is in his 6th collegiate season having spent his first five at Virginia. He has played in 41 college games and passed for 9128 yards and 58 touchdowns. But with Armstrong it is not just about throwing the ball, because he is a dangerous runner. In his career he has rushed for 1369 yards and 22 TDs. Last week against Connecticut he ran 19 times for 96 yards and two TDs to go along with 17-26 passing for 155 yards.
Besides Armstrong, senior Jordan Houston leads the rushing attack. Last week he had 13 carries for 57 yards. Sophomore Michael Allen also could emerge, he looked explosive last week gaining 30 yards on 4 carries.
Kenyon Lesane is the top returning receiver, he had 31 catches and 342 yards a year ago. In week one, freshman Kevin Conception was the Pack’s leading receiver with 4 catches and 36 yards.
This was a good defense in 2022 especially against the run. This year linebacker Payton Wilson, in his 6th season, is a key. He had 10 tackles and an interception last week against Connecticut. The Wolfpack also boasts a pair of solid corners in Aydan White who had four interceptions a year ago and junior Shyheim Battle who has five career picks.
While at Wake Forest Sam Hartman faced NC State three times, going 1-2. In those games he threw 6 TDs and 6 interceptions.
The only time in history that ND has played at NC State was in 2016. That day the Wolfpack prevailed 10-3 in a game literally played in a hurricane as the outer rings of Hurricane Matthew passed over. The conditions that day were so bad that the teams could only manage a combined 3-29 on third down and just over 300 combined yards gained.
The Wolfpack have played Sam Hartman tough and are very good at home. They have won 16 of their last 17 at Carter-Finley Stadium. Notre Dame on the other hand has won 28 consecutive regular season games against ACC opponents. Look for ND’s depth, along with a defense that is playing better than expected and ND’s multiple offensive weapons to wear the Wolfpack down.
So long as the Irish avoid a turnover meltdown, the roll for the Irish should continue, but don’t expect a blowout.
ND is an 8-point favorite and the over/under is 49.5.
The Fighting Irish Preview PIck: ND 31 NC State 17