North Carolina State Wolfpack (4-6, 3-5 ATS) at No. 16 Virginia Tech Hokies (7-3, 4-5-1 ATS) Lane Stadium Blacksburg, V.A. Saturday November 21st, 3:30PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: North Carolina State Wolfpack +19.5/Virginia Tech Hokies -19.5
The No.16 ranked Virginia Tech Hokies will host their last game of the season from Lane Stadium this Saturday against the North Carolina State Wolfpack. The Hokies are 7-3 overall and 4-2 in the ACC. Even though Virginia Tech is out of the ACC Championship picture they can still very likely end the year with a 10 win season if they can take care of some inferior opponents to end the regular season and get a bowl victory. North Carolina State on the other hand is just trying to battle back from their disappointing 4-6 season and become bowl eligible. The Wolfpack were blown out last week by Clemson 43-23 after letting C.J Spiller run wild. The loss over Clemson was the 5th loss in 6 games given up by North Carolina State and they are in a desperate situation to turn the tide back around this Saturday.
The reason North Carolina State has found them selves in the losing column in recent weeks could be blamed a lot on the defensive side of the ball. The Wolfpack have allowed a horrific 42 points per game over this disappointing 6 game stretch of recent weeks. One of the contributing problems to the defenses inability to stop anyone from scoring has been the offensive turnovers. North Carolina State has given the ball away 15 times in their last 5 losses North Carolina State holds the worse turnover margin the ACC at -10 and that certainly does not help matters when the defense is struggling.
The Wolfpack offense does possess the ability to move the football through the air. QB Russell Wilson has put up solid numbers this season throwing 26 touchdowns with 10 picks averaging 254 yards per game during the process. WR Owen Spencer has been a lethal threat on the outside. Despite only having 24 catches, Spencer leads the team with 561 yards averaging an impressive 24 yards per catch. The Virginia Tech defense has one of the best defenses in the ACC so it will be critical for Spencer and WR Jarvis Williams to manufacture some big plays. Tailback Toney Baker has played fairly well averaging 5 yards per carry with 633 yards on the season. It is no secret that the Hokies run the ball extremely well, but it will really help the North Carolina State offense if Baker can pick up some first downs on the ground keeping Virginia Tech offense on the sidelines.
The big strength from the Hokies comes from the defense that is allowing just 16 points per game good enough for 14th nationally. The main strength of the defense comes from the secondary. Virginia Tech ranks 1st in the ACC and 5th in the country allowing just 159 yards per game. It will be the pass defense that should cause the biggest difference this Saturday. If Virginia Tech’s pass defense can stop QB Russell Wilson, I’m not sure the Wolfpack have the resources to beat the Hokies on the ground.
On offense the Hokies rank 2nd in the ACC averaging 197.9 yards per game on the ground. There may be no other freshman in the country having such a big impact than running back Ryan Williams. Williams has posted 1,235 yards on the season with 11 touchdowns averaging 6 yards per carry. The difference in Williams and some of the other young tailbacks around the country is that he posting huge numbers against some really talented defenses. Williams will surely get the work load this Saturday, but QB Tyrod Taylor will play big factor as well.
Taylor has 12 touchdowns with only 3 picks this season for 1,720 yards. Taylor has really used his legs in recent weeks to inflict some damage rather than his arm. Taylor has racked up 140 plus yards on the ground in the last two games and expect him to do more of the same on some designed plays from the shotgun formation. This will spread the North Carolina State defense out and allow both Taylor and Williams to rack up big chunks of yardage. Of course the passing game could win it for Virginia Tech, but it just will not be needed this Saturday.
Jay’s Pick – Virginia Tech -19.5