With the full force of Bowl Season in swing, NC State heads a couple hours and change west to Charlotte to take on former ACC foe Maryland. With the series between the two schools dead even at 33-33-4 and no future matchups currently scheduled, there is more than just a bowl trophy on the line at Bank of America Stadium.
The Terrapins enter the game riding the backs of a strong passing attack and a good-not-great defense. That passing attack, led by Taulia Tagovailoa, will be without four of its top pass catchers in the game due to three NFL draft opt outs and a transfer. Tagovailoa is talented enough to make plays even without his top options, though.
Special teams has been the real strength for Maryland, with phenomenal performances from kicker Chad Ryland (3rd team PFF All-Big Ten) and punter Colton Spangler (a Trenton Gill-esque 45.0 yards/punt average). The Terps like to take more chances on kick returns, too, with decent results.
For the Wolfpack, the 2022 season has not gone as hoped, but the team has withstood a barrage of injuries to put themselves in a position to reach nine wins for the fourth time in the last six seasons. Among the hardest hit position groups are the quarterbacks, and there is a question about whether it will be Ben Finley or M.J. Morris leading the Pack on Friday afternoon. Regardless of offensive personnel, NC State is sure to lean heavily on one of the nation’s top defenses and their own spectacular special teams unit.
Can the Wolfpack find enough offensive firepower to top the Terps in Charlotte and bring home the program’s first bowl title since 2017? Or will Maryland overcome their slew of opt-outs and transfers to take home the trophy and the series lead?
Each BTP contributor provides their score prediction below, plus a quick blurb on their predicted outcome. Here we go!
Prediction: 21-26 (L)
Comment: “beep boop“
Prediction: 23-20 (W)
Comment: “State’s first and last possessions of the game end in Chris Dunn FGs. Defense holds steady. Everyone is happy.”
Prediction: 24-17 (W)
Comment: “Let me talk to ya...Twerps are down a number of pass catchers, with no known opt outs on defense our secondary should hold strong while our LBs and DL feasts...Morris plays solidly, and YEAH we break the tie against Maryland”
Prediction: 27-20 (W)
Comment: “State defense does well to hold Cancer at bay. Chris Dunn seals his career and the game with a late kick.”
Why is this so hard?
Prediction: 20-16 (W)
Prediction: 23-17 (W)
Comment: “unc sucks”
Prediction: 31-24 (W)
Comment: “Give me one last Thayer Thomas trick play TD for the road.”
BTP Staff Cumulative Prediction: 24-20 (W)
Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments!