DE: Markus White (6-4, 264, Sr): 26 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 5.5 TFL
DE: Brandon Jenkins (6-3, 250, So): 34 tackles, 7 sacks, 11.5 TFL
DT: Jacobbi McDaniel (6-0, 298, So): 15 tackles, .5 sacks, 2.5 TFL, 1 INT
DT: Everett Dawkins (6-2, 285, So): 22 tackles, 2 sacks, 5 TFL
DE: Jeff Rieskamp (6-3, 245, Jr): 16 tackles, 2.5 TFL
DE: David Akinniyi (6-4, 262, Sr): 17 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 TFL
DT: Natanu Mageo (6-3, 285, Sr): 16 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 TFL
DT: J.R. Sweezy (6-5, 293, Jr): 25 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFL
Advantage: FSU. The FSU front four has put more pressure on the QB and exceeded expectations. Jenkins is quietly having a monster season and could reach double digit sacks. White has been coming on every week. The 'Noles have more depth inside.
Solid ACC unit for NCSU, but there is no one here who needs to be game planned for. There is good size and reasonable depth. This unit will have to step up against an outstanding FSU Offensive Line.
Nigel Bradham (6-2, 240, Jr): 44 tackles, 2 sacks, 2.5 TFL
Kendall Smith (6-0, 242, Sr): 45 tackles, 2 TFL
Mister Alexander (6-3, 227, Sr): 22 tackles, 3 TFL
Nate Irving (6-1, 231, Sr): 52 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 9 TFL
Terrell Manning (6-3, 224, So): 40 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 6 TFL
Audie Cole (6-5, 239, Jr): 37 tackles, 4 sacks, 7.5 TFL
Advantage: Push. Smith has been much better as a senior while Alexander has shined at times. Bradham is having a solid season thus far, but more is expected out of him. The unit is much improved and there is quality depth with Christian Jones, Vincent Williams, Telvin Smith, and Jeff Luc itching to get on the field. FSU's tackling has been much better in 2010 and the LBs have been a big part of that.
This is the strength of the average NCSU defense. Each of the backer's is very active in the backfield and they are the ones who will be pressuring Ponder. Irving is having an All-Conference type of season and Manning brings a world of upside. They are not as deep as FSU.
Two very good units here in this one.
CB: Greg Reid (5-8, 185, So): 35 tackles, 2 INT, 2 TFL
CB: Xavier Rhodes (6-1, 210, Fr): 24 tackles, 1 INT, 2 sacks, 3.5 TFL
S: Nick Moody (6-2, 228, So): 25 tackles, .5 sacks, 2.5 TFL
S: Terrance Parks (6-2, 218, Jr): 19 tackles
DB: Mike Harris (5-11, 183, Jr): 20 tackles, 1 INT
DB: Lamarcus Joyner (5-8, 183, Fr): 13 tackles, 1 INT
CB: David Amerson (6-3, 285, Fr): 21 tackles
CB: C.J. Wilson (5-11, 179, So): 21 tackles, 2 INT
S: Earl Wolff (6-0, 201, So): 44 tackles, 1 INT, 1.5 TFL
S: Brandon Bishop (6-2, 210, So): 27 tackles, 3 INT
DB: Dontae Johnson (6-3, 184, Fr): 19 tackles
Advantage: FSU. Both units have struggled at times, but are on the upswing with youngsters who are talented. There is more raw talent at FSU and that is the biggest difference. Coach Mark Stoops has done a tremendous job not only as DB, but as DBs coach as well---these guys are getting better weekly.
NCSU has more height and both Wolff/Bishop are hitters. Bishop is a Florida product from Boca Raton. Reid helps FSU in special teams and he has big play ability. He will face a tough match-up vs. the size of the NCSU wide-outs. Both Harris and Joyner have been coming on. Moody has upped the level of his play and there were some signs vs. BC that Parks was going to join him.
Both teams have struggled with missed tackles in the secondary, thus PREVENTING the big play(both run or pass) will be the biggest key defensively.
Florida State is giving up 16.1 points per game and those numbers are slightly skewed due to a poor performance vs. Oklahoma. They have been light's out for much of the time since then barring a few loose plays vs. BC early in the game.
North Carolina State is giving up 23.1 points per game and has given up 33 to East Carolina, 17 to BC, 41 to VT, and 28 to GT the last four week's. They are incapable of stopping FSU, but they are good enough to keep the explosive 'Pack offense in the game.
There is not as much depth at NCSU and that could be a big factor in this one(although both come off a bye). In the end, it is hard to see the Wolfpack keeping the 'Noles under 30. The FSU defense won't shut down the 'Pack either, but seem more capable of getting critical stops. Nice size edge here to the FSU defense.