Marshall at NC State
Saturday, 3 pm PT - ESPN3
CRIS Opener: NC State -20 O/U 54
CRIS Current: NC State -24.5 O/U 55
Complete opposite results for these teams in Week 1 as NC State clearly won the box score and lost to South South Carolina while Marshall lost the box score but managed to beat Miami-Ohio. The Thundering Herd’s 31-26 win was propelled by 99- and 97-yard kickoff return touchdowns plus a 72-yard pick six. Aside from that, Marshall mustered 10 offensive points and 267 total yards. The most troubling aspect is the fact that their rushing attack was non-existent with only 67 true rushing yards on 24 carries (2.8 ypc). Defensively they had issues as well allowing Gus Ragland to throw for 298 yards and gain 429 overall. Those numbers are 67 and 62 yards above Miami’s averages last season and they are 56 and 79 more than Marshall allowed in 2016. The offseason chatter about a much improved defense did not happen last Saturday against a decent but not overwhelming MAC offense.
NC State meanwhile was victimized by a game opening 97-yard kickoff return touchdown by South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel and a pair of long TD passes (34 and 39 yards). Outside of those passes, South Carolina’s much heralded sophomore quarterback Jake Bentley and the Gamecocks offense managed just 173 yards on 48 total plays for a miserable yards per play average of 3.6. The Wolfpack held every statistical edge including +17 in first downs (29-12), +49 in total plays (99-50), +258 in total yards (504-246), +13:22 in TOP (36:41-22:19) and they threw for 415 yards. The game ended with NC State failing on 4th-and-goal from the 6-yard line and they also missed a 29-yard field goal.
Expect the backwards results to reverse themselves this weekend as Marshall figures to have a difficult time running on the Wolfpack’s front seven and protecting Chase Litton. On the other side, Ryan Finley should have his way with the Marshall secondary and it’s also likely that Dave Doeren’s group will focus on establishing more of a ground game this week. Laying the asking price of -24.5 is a bit over a what my power ratings suggest is a comfortable threshold (-21.5) but this one does set up nicely for an “under.” The current number of 55 allows some leeway in this matchup which if the fundamentals play out, should land somewhere in the 38-10 range.