North Carolina State Wolfpack Vs. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Free Pick 8/31/13

North Carolina State Wolfpack Vs. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Free Pick 8/31/13
2013-08-31 11:30:00 EDT

The North Carolina State Wolfpack and Louisiana Tech Bulldogs face off in the first week of the 2013 college football season.

The North Carolina State Wolfpack finished 7-6 overall last season and 4-4 in the ACC. In 2013, the Wolfpack welcome in a new head coach, Dave Doeren, who comes over from Northern Illinois. Doeren led Northern Illinois to a 23-4 record in two seasons by using a version of the spread offense. Doeren will be reunited with offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who served as Northern Illinois’s coordinator in 2011 before spending last season under Bret Bielema at Wisconsin. Junior QB Pete Thomas, a transfer from Colorado State, is in line to replace Mike Glennon at quarterback. Running backs Tony Creecy and Shadrach Thornton will share time in the backfield. Thornton led the Wolfpack in rushing last season with 694 yards, despite not taking a snap in the first three games. There are questions on the offensive line, where four starters from last year need to be replaced. Bryan Underwood, Quinton Payton, and Rashard Smith, who are all veteran receivers, will excel in the new offensive scheme. Defensively, the new defensive coordinator, Dave Huxtable, will need to find new starters at three linebacker spots and three more in the secondary. Senior CB Dontae Johnson, who can play either corner or safety, will be the Wolfpack’s best playmaker on a defense that ranked 83rd against the pass last season. The linebacker unit will be boosted by the return of senior LB D.J. Green. The front four will have three returning starters, including potential NFL players in junior tackles Thomas Teal and T.Y. McGill. The Wolfpack may not be one of the best teams in the ACC this season, but no team should take this squad lightly.

The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs finished the year 9-3 overal,l but did not receive a postseason bid, despite beating Illinois and Virginia. The Bulldogs were arguably the most exciting college football team last year in victory or defeat. The Bulldogs scored 57 points against Texas A&M, which is as many points as Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi State combined. In 2013, Skip Holtz comes in as the new head coach as Louisiana Tech moves over to Conference USA. The offense will change, but it won’t change much as they will utilize multiple receivers and continue to thitem for as many yards as any team in Conference USA. The personnel changes are massive, starting with quarterback, where Texas Tech transfer Scotty Young will lineup. The offensive line will be full of new players except for the lone returner,  Matthew Sheppard, who will play at guard this season. Sophomore RB Kenneth Dixon is fresh off the finest season by a freshman back in FBS history, with 1,194 yards and 27 rushing touchdowns. The defensive line will be the strength of the defense in 2013, as they return three starters and will start four seniors. On a team undergoing some major changes, this level of continuity and experience cannot be overvalued. The bad news is that things start to fall apart as you move to the back seven, where the Bulldogs return only a single full-time starter from a year ago, junior CB Le’Vander Liggins. Liggins and sophomore Bryson Abraham, a five-game starter last season, give the Bulldogs adequate experience at cornerback and significant hope for the future.

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This game sets up to be a high scoring affair. The Bulldogs were one of the most exciting offensive teams last year, while their defense allowed teams to run up and down the field. N.C. State will look to put up points in bunches with new head coach Dave Doeren and his spread offense. I think N.C. State has a significant edge on defense, but the two offenses should put up at least 30 points apiece. I would lean towards taking Louisiana Tech getting almost two touchdowns, but I think the over is a great play.

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Mitch Wilson's Free Pick:
OVER 62 (highly rated play)
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Mitch Wilson

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