After each weekend of the season, I am going to track how our future opponents' seasons are unfolding while also keeping track of how past opponents react to not having us to kick around anymore.
How to read the post: A capsule for each Pack opponent, including the team's record and most recent result, is listed under the heading "Week 1," "Week 2," "Week 3," etc. based on what week during the season that the Pack plays that opponent. The future/past opponent is listed in bold.
Week 1: #18 Florida (3-0) 37, #23 Tennessee (2-1) 20
Florida scored 24 unanswered points and won going away as UT's Tyler Bray was once again exposed by an SEC defense. Bray completed just 50% of his passes for an average of 5.8 yards per attempt and was picked twice. The Vols' stay in the AP Top 25 was a short one.
Week 2: UConn (2-1) 24, Maryland 21 (2-1)
The Fighting Edsalls somehow live a charmed life even in a loss, as they miraculously turned a mere 205 total yards into 21 points without a defensive or special teams score. Alas, it was not enough, and Maryland joined a number of its league mates in falling from the ranks of the unbeaten.
Week 3: N. C. State (2-1) 31, South Alabama (1-2) 7
A bit of controversy and a lackluster second half took the joy out of this almost blowout. Mustafa Greene was suspended for the game with no explanation coming from Tom O'Brien, who also burned Manny Stocker's redshirt year so the true freshman could hone his taking snaps from center skills. If you're going to play him, at least let him run the offense! The Jaguars won the second half 7-3, so they will always have that.
Week 4: The Citadel (3-0) 52, Appalachian State (1-2) 28
The Bulldogs growled out to a 31-0 advantage en route to their second straight win over a top-10 FCS opponent. With all that's gone right for the Wolfpack lately-Cat Barber committing, Rodney Purvis freed, lollering through the implosion of the Carolina Way, to name a few-Saturday's game reeks of the good karma equalizer known as #ncstateshit. I'm going to start drinking now.
Week 5: Miami (2-1, 1-0) 38, Bethune Cookman (2-1) 10
Duke Johnson scored on a 95-yard kickoff return, a 50-yard reception, and runs of 1 and 28 yards to garner ACC freshperson of the week honors. He fast.
Week 6: #4 Florida State (3-0, 1-0) 54, Wake Forest (2-1, 1-1) 0
So much for the key Atlantic division showdown as the Seminoles showed why they are a trendy national champion pick in dismantling the Deacons. Florida State outgained its foe 612-126 and led 38-0 at intermission before breaking out some good sportsmanship in the second half.
Week 7: Bye
Week 8: UConn (2-1) 24, Maryland 21 (2-1)
The Terps are 119th in the NCAA in passing yards per game and 102nd in rushing, yet somehow they are averaging more points per game (21.3 to 20.7) than the Wolfpack. Even if Maryland manages to keep scoring a point for every 12 yards it gains (by comparison, State is needing nearly 17 yards to generate a point), it will have trouble keeping up with Geno Smith in Morgantown Saturday.
Week 9: #19 Louisville (3-0) 39, North Carolina (1-2, 0-1) 34
Teddy Bridgewater had his way against the reeling Heels, staking the Cardinals to a 36-7 lead at intermission with 3 first half scores, but the teams seemingly switched jerseys at halftime, and a 20-point Fedora Express explosion in the 4th quarter made a game of it before Andrew Johnson preserved the victory, breaking up Bryn Renner's 4th-down pass in the endzone with under two minutes to play. Renner threw for 363 yards and 5 scores in the losing effort.
Week 10: Georgia Tech (2-1, 1-1) 56, Virginia (2-1, 0-1) 14
The Yellow Jackets averaged nearly 10 yards per play in the rout of the Hoos, who are in N. C. State territory after 3 games on the ground (109th in the country in rushing). Not a good day for ACC teams in Virginia, as Va. Tech's upset loss at future conference foe Pittsburgh left just FSU and Clemson unbeaten in the league.
Week 11: #4 Florida State (3-0, 1-1) 54, Wake Forest (2-1, 1-1) 0
The Deacons joined the Terps, Hoos, and Hokies in falling for the first time. Wake Forest was 1-for-16 on 3rd down, averaged 3.5 per pass attempt, and 1.2 per rush. I take what I said last week about Tanner Price not missing Chris Givens back. Price has but one TD pass all season, and it came against Liberty. The Seminoles have posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1980 and are allowing 1.0 points per game.
Week 12: #11 Clemson (3-0) 41, Furman (0-3) 7
Making his 2012 debut, Sammy Watkins had a 58-yard touchdown run as the Tigers slowly pulled away from in-state FCS foe Furman, which is winless on the season. Clemson did what State could not do to open the season-beat a middling SEC foe-but it's hard to get a handle on just how good the Tigers are after wins over cupcakes Ball State and the Paladins. Saturday night's early season battle in Tallahassee will likely decide the Atlantic, the ACC title, and possibly a shot at the national championship, and it will surely tell us what kind of team Clemson really is. The oddsmakers are not believers, as FSU opened as better than a two touchdown favorite.
Week 13: Northwestern (3-0) 22, Boston College (1-2, 0-1) 13
Chase Rettig continued his development into a respectable quarterback, throwing for 291 yards, but the Eagles managed just 25 yards on the ground on 21 carries. Meanwhile, Northwestern ran for 293 yards and tallied 560 yards of total offense in what would have been a blowout save for the Wildcats being forced to settle for, count ‘em, 5 field goals.