With high expectations of the season to come, NC State kicks off their 2022 campaign on the road against in-state rival East Carolina. The Wolfpack enter the game ranked in all preseason polls and feature talented QB Devin Leary, an experienced offensive line in front of him, and a bevy of talented receivers. On the other side of the ball, State welcomes back a wealth of experience across the entire depth chart, while also featuring one of the best linebacking groups in the country.
The Pirates, meanwhile, also feature a highly talented QB, an experienced offensive line group, and a deep and experienced defense. Holton Ahlers is one of just two active QBs among all 130 FBS programs to enter the season with career marks of over 10,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards. East Carolina also features something NC State does not: an experienced and productive rushing attack, led by Keaton Mitchell and Rahjai Harris.
ECU will also have the benefit of a packed and raucous home crowd, creating an atmosphere that will test the nerves of the Pack.
Can NC State silence the Greenville crowd and work their way to the first victory of what will hopefully be a memorable (in the good way) 2022 season? Or will the Pirates pump the brakes on the Wolfpack hype train while boosting their own with a season-opening upset?
Each BTP contributor provides their score prediction below, plus a quick blurb on their predicted outcome. Here we go!
Prediction: 33-19 (W)
Comment: “beep boop beep“
Prediction: 30-20 (W)
Comment: “State opens up a double-digit lead in early 2nd quarter and ECU never gets back to a single possession game, but keeps it close enough to have Pack fans sweating a bit“
Prediction: 45-17 (W)
Comment: “This is probably a little too optimistic, but as soon as the bulletin board material started coming out of Greenville on Monday my nervousness left and I started feeling really good about the Pack’s chances. The Pack will be up 38-3 after the 3rd quarter and ECU will score a couple of TDs against the backup defense.“
Prediction: 38-27 (W)
Comment: “Extreme Carolina brings out the steel chairs and tables early, State is busted open but responds back with its offense, and defense puts the game away by the third, the Pirates get some garbage time shots in to beat the 11.5 spread against 3rd stringers“
Prediction: 31-23 (W)
Comment: “Never feel super confident going to Greenville. This team will be quite good, but might take a minute to get rolling. ECU will not back down, though, so hold on to your butts“
Why is this so hard?
Prediction: 34-17 (W)
Comment: “The sun is our friend.“
Prediction: 28-10 (W)
Comment: “State does the plodding thing on offense, but the defense takes care of business.“
Prediction: 27-13 (W)
Comment: “I won’t be surprised if the environment results in a slow start offensively, but the defense will be fine, and so will State, in the end.“
BTP Staff Cumulative Prediction: 34-19 (W)
Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments!