NC State Wolfpack at South Florida Bulls Preview


On Saturday afternoon when the NC State Wolfpack (2-0) meet  the  University of South Florida Bulls (1-1) in  Tampa, Florida, the crowd at Raymond James Stadium should expect an exciting game.

The   Bulls under second year head coach Willie Taggart sport a balanced offense and a nationally ranked defense. The Bulls defense thrives off opportunistic play that ranks them fourth in the nation in takeaways with eight in 2 games.  Led by sophomore  linebacker Nigel Harris, the defense  limited the Maryland Terps  last week to a mere 2.9  yards per rushing attempt and forced six turnovers. Harris alone had nine tackles, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a sack against the Terps.

Sep 6, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; South Florida Bulls running back Marlon Mack (5) runs the the ball during the first half against the Maryland Terrapins at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The USF offense is averaging 188.5 yards rushing led by true freshman Marlon Mack who is getting an astounding 7.6 yards per carry. This week the Wolfpack should expect to receive an even larger dose of Mack and company as the offense will surely attempt to nurse the clock and protect their ailing  quarterback  Mike White.

White, a sophomore, injured his arm last  week on the  first play of the  Maryland game. Reports are that White suffered a slight fracture on his non-throwing arm and will probably play on Saturday. Then again coaches have been known to  hedge the truth a  little when it comes  to injuries, so the Pack should also be prepared  for USF’s capable backup Steven Bench.

More from North Carolina State Wolfpack

Last week  against   Old Dominion  the  Wolfpack  had  to  mount  yet  another second  half  comeback to secure the win. This week the opposition talent level increases and Dave Huxtable’s young defense will be severely tested. In two games the Wolfpack defense has given up an average of 471 yards per game with 221 of those yards given up on the ground.

Thus  far second year  head  coach  Dave Doeren’s  regime has had mixed reviews  against  so-called lesser opponents.  The offense, while statistically fine, has to start performing better in the first half. The running duo of Shadrach Thornton and Matt Dayes has been a success along with the steady quarterback play of Jacoby Brissett.

They will have to continue to improve as #1 ranked Florida State is only two weeks away.

Saturday’s game will be only the third meeting between the two teams with each having won once in the series.

Prediction: NC State 24- USF- 13