Here's The Deal … NC State and Georgia Tech are both coming off pivotal wins, with a chance to double down in Atlanta this Saturday. The Wolfpack has been the early surprise of the ACC, sweeping the first three games, including a nationally televised rout of Cincinnati last Thursday night. The cautious optimism currently surrounding the start of the season will shift to unbridled enthusiasm with a road win against the defending champs this weekend. The Yellow Jackets rebounded swiftly from their awful loss to Kansas a week earlier to hold off Coastal Division rival North Carolina, 30-24. The win sent a poignant message that, while Tech may not be as consistent as a year ago, it'll still have to be dealt with in the conference race.
Why NC State Might Win: In one of the best quarterback battles of Week 4, the Pack might have an edge with Russell Wilson, who's coming off a 333-yard, three-touchdown effort. He does so many things well, including spreading the ball around to Jarvis Williams, Owen Spencer, and TE George Bryan. He'll be facing a Georgia Tech defense that's been very soft the last two weeks and particularly beatable through the air. The NC State defense, on the other hand, is exceeding expectations, stuffing the run and getting backfield pressure from linebackers Audie Cole and Terrell Manning.
Why Georgia Tech Might Win: As stingy as NC State has been, the Yellow Jackets' triple-option always presents unique challenges for a defense. QB Joshua Nesbitt and his backfield partners have begun to click, hammering the Carolina D for 372 yards and six yards a pop in Chapel Hill. Tech has begun to unleash B-back Anthony Allen, who's coming off his first 100-yard game of the month, and shifty A-back Roddy Jones. When this attack starts playing downhill, especially at Bobby Dodd Stadium, it's like trying to slow down a locomotive.
What To Watch Out For: While Tech will be content to run the ball 60 times, it's always plotting when it can catch a defense off guard with a play-action pass. It's one of the little-used, yet lethal, weapons in head coach Paul Johnson's arsenal. Nesbitt is coming off his most consistent game of September as a passer, and will be looking for the right time to get the ball in the hands of Jones and WR Stephen Hill.
What Will Happen: While NC State is capable of hanging with Georgia Tech from wire-to-wire, actually beating the Yellow Jackets on the Flats is an entirely different situation. Tech will buckle on defense, but consistently get bailed out by Nesbitt and the relentless running game. The Wolfpack defense has clearly made strides in the right direction, but it still lacks the depth and girth on the inside to withstand the 60 minutes of pounding it's going to endure.
CFN Prediction: Georgia Tech 31 … NC State 27 … 5Dimes.com Line: Georgia Tech -8.5
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