JUST GET CLOSE TO MIAMI'S AVERAGE
Miami has talent and they have speed. However, what they're lacking is a lot of experience and that's fairly evident on the stat sheets.
Excluding the game with Bethune-Cookman, Miami has given up 120 points in three games (40 points per game average). They gave up 52 points to a Kansas State squad that averages 40 points per game. The Canes yielded 32 points to Boston College, a team that scored just 16 points in their only other FBS game. They gave up 36 points to Georgia Tech which was right in line with the Jacket's average against other FBS opponents.
For NC State, if they can get anywhere near 40 points then you have to think their odds for winning are pretty good. However, history has shown that there have been games where State has fallen flat (particularly on the road) when they should've performed better. In 2010 there was a 13 point letdown at Clemson and a 10 point offensive collapse at Boston College. If the Pack can avoid that kind of showing then they'll be in good shape versus the Canes.
BUILD ON LAST WEEK
NC State had their best offensive output of the year a week ago against The Citadel and they'll hope that effort will set the table for another solid performance against Miami.
After struggling to put together any consistent rushing attack through the first three weeks of the season, State managed to gash the Bulldogs for 282 yards and 20 first downs on the ground.
The Pack's success running the football ultimately set up a very efficient passing attack that mustered 233 yards through the air on 19 of 25 passing.
If the Wolfpack hopes to beat Miami they'll need the same balanced attack on Saturday. They'll need to use the success of a week ago to keep the Cane's offense on the sideline and take advantage of a defense that has struggled to get off the field at times.
The Wolfpack doesn't have to amass 500 yards to be successful but they can't afford another 50-60 yard rushing effort and put themselves into a position where they have to throw the football 80% of the time. With both of your starting tackles unavailable, this is a recipe for disaster and a good way to get run out of Florida.
DOING THE LITTLE THINGS
Through four games it's been somewhat difficult to figure out just what this NC State offense in all about. They couldn't get much of anything going against Connecticut but looked unstoppable against The Citadel. Then again, it was The Citadel so the truth is you don't know if you can really read much into that.
One way the Pack can really help their cause on Saturday is to take care of the things that are in their control- specifically limiting mistakes like unforced penalties, turnovers, missed blocking assignments and dropped passes.
So far this season State has been pretty solid in three of those four areas. They are 49th nationally in fewest penalty yards per game which is respectable. State ranks 34th in turnover margin and is actually much better than that if you take away the Tennessee game. They've also done a much better job of catching passes this year. You've not had anywhere near the dropped balls that dogged them at times in recent years.
The one area that has proved bothersome is the inability to pick up blitzes and being beat off the edge way too often. The Pack has to do a better job of getting in the right protection and making sure they account for extra defenders on obvious passing plays. This could very well mean that State ultimately has to keep a running back or tight end in to help out State's offensive tackles.