One Thing I’m Worried About
- That Louisville offense, obviously. The Cardinals feature the 3rd ranked offense in the country in terms of Explosiveness and the 4th ranked offense in Success Rate. So not only is Louisville effective at keeping the chains moving, they’re also going to pop some big time plays on you just because they can. The Achilles heel of the NC State defense is the propensity to give up the big play. In that regard, this is a terrible matchup for the Wolfpack.
Two Things I’m Confident In
- Having already played Georgia Tech, Murray State, Indiana, and Boston College, NC State is going to be the toughest opponent Louisville has faced to date. The Wolfpack have outpaced each of Louisville’s previous four opponents in the majority of the last five recruiting cycles and feature an experienced team. That should play into the Wolfpack’s favor.
- Louisville hasn’t played a true road game yet. Yes, they played Georgia Tech in Atlanta and Indiana in Indianapolis, but neither of those were true road games and neither of those fan bases are as raucous as that of NC State. Carter-Finley Stadium will be the toughest test of grit and nerves for the Cardinals.
Three Stats You Should Know
- Journeyman Louisville QB Jack Plummer currently ranks 6th in the FBS in QB Rating with a 189.8 rating over 97 pass attempts. That rating is 30 points higher than any other career mark in Louisville history for QBs with more than 14 pass attempts.
- NC State’s offense is 24th in the country in Stuff Rate and 34th in Line Yards, meaning the Pack’s O-Line has been solid at creating opportunities for State’s running game.
- On the other side of the ball, NC State’s defense ranks 19th in Stuff Rate and 33rd in Line Yards, meaning the D-Line has been every bit as good at stopping the opposing run game. State’s defense also ranks 20th in Power Success, which is the ability to stop an opponent at running on a 3rd or 4th and 2 yards or less.
Since this is typically a more stats-oriented series on a more stats-oriented site with a more stats-oriented community, I’d like to point out this excellent article from collegefootballdata.com about measuring field goal kicking efficiency and kicker value. The lead photo is of Carter-Finley Stadium, and as you can probably guess from that, Christopher Dunn features in the article.
You should definitely click on the link and give the article a read, it’s 100% worth it, but essentially these are the two points I want to bring up from it:
- Christopher Dunn was worth +19.0 points on field goals last year versus an FBS average kicker. Keep in mind that 2022 NC State had five wins with a total margin in those games of 16 points. Dunn was 11-for-12 in those games (including nailing a pair of kicks from beyond 50 yards) while opposing kickers were 3-for-7. It’s an easy argument that Dunn being better than his counterparts alone was the difference between an 8-5 and 3-9 season.
- If you have an average kicker, unless you’re facing 4th & 10 at the opponent 40 yardline or worse on down and distance from closer, you should just go for it on 4th down.