week 6: louisville at nc state preview, prediction
By Mike Gilpatrick October 4th, 2017
Louisville Cardinals QB Lamar Jackson drops back to pass against Murray State on Saturday, Sept. 30th, 2017. Jackson is key if the Cards are to defeat the Wolfpack. Photo by Jared Anderson, River City Cards
bright lights and prime time against red hot wolfpack
The lights will be on, and Carter-Finley Stadium will be packed as No. 17 Louisville travels on the road to play the red-hot NC State Wolfpack. The game is Thursday, October 5th, at 8 pm. It will be shown on ESPN, and is arguably NC State's second-most anticipated home game. The game already has a ton of hype, with NC State announcing it as a blackout, and special uniforms debuting for it.
And it is the game that will prove Louisville as a legitimate New Year's Six contender, and could help QB Lamar Jackson reach the top of the Heisman conversation once again. The Wolfpack are a good team. They defeated Florida State 27-21 two weeks ago. Their only loss came on the road against South Carolina. Overall, this game should live up to its hype.
A SOLID TEAM
The Wolfpack have the 8th rushing defense in the nation. They only allow 85.6 yards per game through the trenches. They've only allowed three rushing touchdowns. Their defensive line is also good, they've sacked the opposition 13 times for a loss of 85 yards. 5.5 of the 13 belong to Senior Bradley Chubb, causing a loss of 45 yards.
NC State also features the 33rd offense in the nation. Behind Junior QB Ryan Finley, the Wolfpack had scored nine touchdowns through the air, with Senior RB Jaylen Samuels receiving the bulk of the throws. He has 321 yards through the air, and scored three touchdowns so far. He also is their No. 3 rusher, statistically. Samuels also has five rushing touchdowns, bringing his total to eight.
Junior Nyheim Hines gets the bulk of rushing yards. He has 411 yards so far on the ground, and another three TDs. He also is second in scoring.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
NC State doesn't have many holes. They're a solid football team. It'll take everything Louisville's offensive line has to stop NC State's pass rush. The Cards will rely on more of a passing attack, and the line will need to hold up. It's also unsure if OL Cole Bentley will return for Thursday's game
Expect Louisville FR wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick to have double coverage at times. He's proven to be a lot for defenses to handle, scoring six touchdowns so far, and averaging 17.5 yards per carry. Fitzpatrick will likely be the top receiver, with Jaylen Smith out indefinitely.
Also, expect Lamar Jackson's rushing attack to be limited. Much like the first three games, he will remain in the pocket most snaps.
I also do not expect freshman QB Jawon Pass to play in Thursday's game. It will not be a blowout, and Jackson will play every snap, barring any injury.
This game will be close, likely decided by a touchdown. It all, as always, depends on Louisville's offensive line giving Jackson time to pass. The team will play with more confidence, as they've blown out the last two opponents. Because of the confidence, Louisville will play well on the road, and get the tough win.