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NC State vs Virginia in 1-2-3

What I’m thinking about with this game

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 31 NC State at UConn Photo by Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One Thing I’m Worried About

  1. Virginia’s offense has had its woes, but it has also been pretty explosive - especially in the passing game. The Cavaliers rank 6th in the country in Explosiveness, and that ranking jumps up to 2nd if you exclude garbage time data. Against an NC State defense that has surrendered a ton of big plays, and narrowly avoided disaster on several others by sheer luck, that’s not a good omen.

Two Things I’m Confident In

  1. The Cavs might be explosive, but that’s a bit deceiving. Offensive Explosiveness measures the result of successful plays (successful plays are gaining at least 50% of yards to go on 1st down, 70% on 2nd down, or 100% on 3rd and 4th down). Virginia hasn’t had a lot of those. The Wahoos offense ranks 131st (out of 133 FBS teams) at Success Rate. If the Wolfpack defense can avoid giving up the big plays, the Virginia offense will derail itself.
  2. NC State’s offense seemed to click last week. Some complained that the offense only scored 31 points (defense and special teams each chipped in a TD) against an overmatched opponent, but the offense was efficient and productive when they had the ball. The running game clicked, Brennan Armstrong was accurate with the ball, and things went well. The Wolfpack should carry that momentum into this game.

Three (More) Stats You Should Know

  1. Virginia is allowing an average of 5.1 points to opponents on drives that cross the Virginia 40 yard line. That ranks 129th in the country. Sadly, NC State’s defense ranks not much better at 125th allowing 4.7 points per opportunity.
  2. UVA’s offensive line has struggled to create success in the ground game, ranking 125th in non-garbage-time opponent Stuff Rate (percentage of plays stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage) and 130th in Line Yards.
  3. Brennan Armstrong is Virginia’s all-time leading passer by both passing yards (9,034) and passing TDs (58). He ranks second among UVA QBs in total TDs responsible for, having totaled 78 across passing and rushing; he finished behind Shawn Moore (55 passing TDs, 28 rushing TDs).