PUT PRESSURE ON THE BULLDOGS
Nothing will disrupt a triple option attack more than an opposing offense that is putting up points consistently.
One of the biggest ways NC State can help out its defense is to put together some time consuming drives and then close out those drives with points. The need to keep pace with the opposition can put a lot of pressure on a triple option offense and those systems aren't nearly as effective when they're forced to play from behind.
So far in 2012 The Citadel has performed extremely well defensively. They've given up 21 points per game and rank 40th nationally in scoring defense. The Bulldogs most impressive defensive outing was against Georgia Southern. They came in to their game with The Citadel as one of the top offenses on the FCS level but were held to just 21 points.
Clearly State will provide a much bigger challenge offensively but just a year ago, The Citadel gave South Carolina all they wanted in a mid-season matchup.
The Pack looked strong offensively for two quarters last week against South Alabama before shutting it down to some degree in the second half. This very well may be a game where State needs to keep the pedal down throughout, put points on the board and at the very least, not allow The Citadel to dictate the game through their rushing offense. If the Pack is able to have success on offense then there's a very good chance that will translate over to the defense.
ACCOUNT FOR NO. 77
NC State fans may remember the name Chris Billinglea. He's a guy that the Wolfpack showed quite a bit of interest in while still in high school. However, the Pack never offered and Billingslea ended up at The Citadel.
Now a redshirt senior, the 6-5, 265 defensive lineman has played his way onto some NFL watch lists and is a player that NC State has to be aware of. He was the Southern Conference player of the week after week one and has tallied 19 tackles, one sack, two pass breakups and a forced fumble through three games.
Billinsglea will very likely come into the game looking for something to prove so the Wolfpack must account for him and make sure he's not allowed to make plays that could result in momentum swings.
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF MATCHUPS
When NC State's wide receivers go up against The Citadel defensive backs they should have a distinct advantage in athleticism and speed. Quinton Payton, in particular, should be able to take advantage when he's matched up against CB Sadath Jean-Pierre (5-10) or S Davis Boyle (5-10).
Tobais Palmer and Bryan Underwood should also be able to exploit the Bulldog secondary with their speed although giving QB Mike Glennon time to set up is key.
The Citadel comes in to the NC State game having notched just four sacks through three games so this is clearly a contest where the offensive line should be able to give Glennon the time to go down field.
Physically, the Pack has the size to open holes in the Citadel front four but to date, accomplishing that has been easier said than done. Certainly State will hope to take a step forward on Saturday evening and show some progress with their rushing attack.