Cincinnati Bearcats (1-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. North Carolina State Wolfpack (2-0 SU, 1-0 ATS), Week 3 College Football, 7:30 p.m. EST, Thursday, September 16, 2010, Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, N.C.
by Ryno, Professional College Football Handicapper of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Cin -1.5/NC St. +1.5
NC State is off to a nice start at 2-0, but the Wolfpack will have their first real test at home when they host Cincinnati on Thursday. Cincinnati, coming off a banner season, lost its first game of the season but rebounded last week and is looking to add a quality road win to its resume.
NC State started its season with a 48-7 home win over Western Carolina and a 28-21 road win at UCF. The Wolfpack fell down 7-0 early before putting up 48 straight points. NC State QB Russell Wilson threw four touchdown passes in the first and second quarters to put the Wolfpack up 28-7. He finished 21-for-31 passing for 306 yards and those four touchdowns. The Wolfpack ran the ball 36 times for 133 yards while passing the ball a total of 38 times, so they had a very balanced offense. NC State’s defense shut down Western Carolina, allowing only 103 passing yards and 86 rushing yards.
Last week, the Wolfpack won 28-21 at UCF. They held a 28-7 lead after the third quarter before nearly letting UCF come back and tie the game. The Wolfpack failed to score a point on offense in the second half. In that game, Wilson really struggled, completing just 10-of-30 pass attempts for 105 yards and a touchdown. The Wolfpack totaled 139 rushing yards on 37 carries. They allowed 95 rushing yards and 213 passing yards. The reason they won the game was the turnover battle. The Wolfpack committed zero turnovers while forcing five of them. In their first game, they also committed no turnovers and forced one.
Cincinnati opened its season with a 28-14 loss at Fresno State. Cincy QB Zach Collaros, who filled in nicely for an injured Tony Pike last season, was 24-for-41 for 219 yards and two touchdowns, one passing and one rushing. Neither team could run the ball well. The Bearcats had 15 rushing yards and Fresno State only had 49. Cincy allowed 296 passing yards. The game was tied at 14 at the half but the Bearcats couldn’t score in the second half. Each team had one turnover.
Last week, the Bearcats won 40-7 over Indiana State. They scored 28 points in the third quarter to pull away. Collaros was 11-for-17 for 130 yards and two touchdowns in the air, and ran for 32 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Cincy RB Darrin Williams ran the ball 13 times for 117 yards. John Goebel had 75 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries. They allowed 161 passing yards and 93 rushing yards. Cincy committed two turnovers and forced one.
NC State doesn’t have a great offense. Wilson looked great against Western Carolina but then he struggled mightily against UCF, a team that is not nearly as strong as Cincinnati. The Wolfpack will have to shut down the dynamic Cincy offense to win this game. The Bearcats can run the ball and pass it, and they have a dynamic QB in Collaros. If they can shut down Collaros, the Wolfpack will have a chance to win the game if they can score some points.
Cincinnati is 0-5 ATS in its last five games following an ATS loss and 0-5 ATS in its last five games following a SU win. The Bearcats are 0-5 ATS in their last five non-conference games and 0-7 ATS in their last seven games overall. NC State is 4-0-1 ATS in its last five September games and 8-2-2 ATS in its last 12 games following an ATS win. The over is 4-0 in Cincy’s last four games following an ATS loss but the under is 8-1 in Cincy’s last nine Thursday games. The over is 11-2 in NC State’s last 13 games overall.
Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I like the Wolfpack to win a close game.