Syracuse football opponent preview: What to know about NC State

first_imgSyracuse (2-2) begins conference play Saturday at North Carolina State (3-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast), which is coming off an upset victory at then-No. 12 Florida State. Since joining the ACC, the Orange is 1-3 against the Wolfpack, its lone win coming in 2013 at Carter-Finley Stadium. Overall, Syracuse is 1-9 against NC State since the teams’ first meeting in 1972.Here’s what you need to know about NCSU for Saturday afternoon’s game.All-time series: North Carolina State leads, 9-1Last time they played: The Wolfpack invaded the Carrier Dome on Nov. 12 of last year and beat Syracuse, 35-20. Matt Dayes ran for 108 yards and three touchdowns. Zack Mahoney replaced Eric Dungey at quarterback because Dungey was held out after suffering a concussion in the previous game at Clemson. The Wolfpack had possession for more than 41 minutes in the win.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe North Carolina State report: NC State received 26 votes in the AP Preseason Top 25 poll and is coming off back-to-back-to-back wins against Marshall, Furman and FSU, after a season-opening loss to South Carolina.Last year, the Wolfpack finished 7-6 and won the Camping World Independence Bowl. NC State took soon-to-be national champion Clemson to overtime in a 24-17 road loss. This week, NCSU received the most Top 25 votes of unranked teams.In 2017, NC State’s best weapon is its front seven, which owns the country’s 11th-best rushing defense (3.1 yards allowed per rush). NCSU also ranks 15th in passing offense (314.8 yards per game).In four starts, Wolfpack redshirt junior quarterback Ryan Finley has connected on 74.2 percent of his passes and eight touchdowns. He averages 304.2 yards per game after a 2016 campaign in which he threw for 3,059 yards, the sixth-best mark in school history. He’s very accurate — he led the nation in completion percentage through the first five games of 2016 — and thrives on short passes.Jaylen Samuels leads the team in catches, with 38. He also leads NCSU with three receiving touchdowns. The 5-foot-11, 236-pound senior entered 2017 ranked sixth in school history with 31 career touchdowns. As a sophomore in 2015, he was a First Team All-ACC selection and Third Team All-Americans.On the ground, juniors Nyheim Hines and Reggie Gallaspy have 63 and 34 carries, respectively, for a combined four touchdowns. Hines also returns kickoffs, for which he ranks fifth in school history in kickoff return yards. It’s a dynamic NCSU offense that will challenge Syracuse’s much-improved defense.How Syracuse beats NCSU: Contain Finley. It will also be key for the SU defense not to sag too much and allow short passes, as it has at times this year. That’s how Finley thrives.The Syracuse offensive line will also have to protect Dungey, because NCSU has a potent front seven that could mitigate any run game SU has and force the SU offense to depend solely on Dungey’s arm.A road ACC win against a team of NCSU’s caliber would be a big boost to Syracuse, and cut SU’s magic number for bowl eligibility to just three with seven games on the schedule.Player to watch: Bradley Chubb, defensive end, No. 9This should provide an idea of how intrusive Chubb can be for opposing quarterbacks: When asked how to block the senior defensive end, Dino Babers said, “IDK.” The 6-foot-4, 275-pound All-ACC candidate entered 2017 ranked 12th in school history with 34 tackles for loss. His 16 career sacks rank 10th. Babers said he thinks Chubb, who has 8.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble this year, is better than LSU’s Arden Key, a First Team All-SEC honoree. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 29, 2017 at 11:28 am Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21last_img