Ga Southern Eagles vs. North Carolina State Wolfpack Pick-Odds-Prediction 8/30/14
Ga Southern Eagles (1-0) at North Carolina State Wolfpack (3-9)
College Football: Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 12:30 pm (Carter-Finley Stadium)
The Line: North Carolina State Wolfpack -21.5 -- Over/Under: 53 See the Latest Odds
The Georgia Southern Eagles travel to North Carolina to play the NC State Wolfpack in the first week of the college football season.
Georgia Southern made the transition from FCS to FBS, so the Eagles were not eligible to make the FCS playoffs last season. However, the Eagles played well, finished with a 7-4 record and a huge win over the Florida Gators to complete their 2013 campaign. Georgia Southern averaged over 35 points per game while producing over 450 yards per game. This season, Willie Fritz comes over from Sam Houston State and is the Eagles new head coach. Fritz will have eight starters from 2013 to work with in 2014. QB Kevin Ellison will be the leader of the offense, finishing with 756 yards passing and 886 yards rushing last season, while splitting time with Jerrick McKinnon. Ellison will be the leading returning rusher, but three running backs also tallied playing time last season. Tray Butler, Nardo Govan, and Irving Huggins will split time along with a duo of freshmen. The offensive line will return four of five starters from 2013, but will have to deal with a new offensive scheme.
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Defensively, the Eagles return 7 starters from last year. The defensive line will have to replace two starters, while the leading tackler LB Edwin Jackson will return after recording 92 tackles and 2 sacks last year. The secondary unit that returns three starters, including FS Matt Dobson will be very good this year. This Georgia Southern team could make some noise against some of the major conference teams in 2014.
The North Carolina State Wolfpack finished the season with 8 straight losses after starting the year 3-1. This was the Wolfpack’s worst record since 2006 under Chuck Amato and they went winless in conference play for the first time since 1959. The awful 2013 season broke a streak of three straight seasons of going to a bowl game. The offense loses both of the guys who started at quarterback in 2013 Brandon Mitchell and Pete Thomas, to graduation and transfer, respectively. This, however, may be a blessing as both under-performed in the role last year and it hands the keys of the offense to Florida transfer Jacoby Brissett, who sat out last year due to transfer regulations. At running back, the top three backs from 2013 all return in the form of junior Shad Thornton, sophomore Matt Dayes and senior Tony Creecy. The group at wider receiver returns three guys who caught at least 22 balls in 2013 in senior Bryan Underwood and sophomores Marquez Valdez-Scantling and Jumichael Ramos. Underwood is expected to be the leader of the receiving group and has already indicated a good understanding with his new quarterback by hauling in two long touchdowns in the spring game. The offensive line at NC State is big and experienced. They have five returning players with at least 10 career starts. Of those players, only one weighs in at less than 300 pounds and three of them are 6’ 7” or taller.
The only unit that impressed on the defense in 2013 was the defensive backfield, who showed good ability despite the fact NC State lacked an effective pass rush. The unit combined for only 9 interceptions, but they looked as good as a 3-9 team could expect from their backfield. The rest of the NC State defense is in mediocre shape at best. The defensive line was dominated in the run game by opposing offenses, giving up an average of 5.02 per rush attempt and 26 touchdowns. Overall, it will be interesting to see how the Wolfpack bounce back from a terrible 2013 season.
North Carolina State will have its hands full in their home opener as they will go up against an impressive rushing attach. The Wolfpack struggled last season against the rush and they will be tested in their first game. Meanwhile, Brisset will make his first start for North Carolina State and should have a good day against a weak Georgia Southern defensive front and secondary. I think the Wolfpack will get the win in this one, but I wouldn’t lay more than 3 touchdowns. However, I do think this will be a high scoring game and the over is a good play.