Richmond had its own reason to celebrate on the opening weekend, blanking VMI, 34-0. The always-dangerous Spiders improved by five wins to go 8-3 a year ago.
Why Richmond Might Win: The Spiders play disciplined, assignment football, led by defensive linemen Kerry Wynn and Evan Kelly. They yielded just 174 total yards in Week 1, and will be facing an NC State offense that'll be using backup QB Pete Thomas for at least the next month. You can never overlook a Danny Rocco-coached team.
Why NC State Might Win: The Pack will have its biggest advantage at the point of attack, when Richmond has the ball. State played well defensively on Saturday, which was somewhat overshadowed by the 40 points it scored. The D-line, comprised of Art Norman, T.Y. McGill, Thomas Teal and Darryl Cato-Bishop, is one of the sneaky-good front walls of the ACC.
Who To Watch Out For: How does the role of rookie RB Matt Dayes change now that Shadrach Thornton's suspension has been lifted? Dayes debuted by turning 17 carries into 84 yards and three scores.
- It's a good thing Thomas spent the entire offseason thinking and preparing as if he was going to be the Pack starter. Now he is.
- The biggest concern on Saturday for the new-look NC State secondary will be containing Richmond WR Ben Edwards. The All-CAA performer caught seven balls for 95 yards and a touchdown in Week 1.
What Will Happen: This is a very tricky potential trap game for NC State. The joy of last week is behind them, and Clemson is waiting in the on-deck circle. Richmond will be prepared on Saturday, remaining close behind the effort of its defense.
However, the Pack will find a way to wiggle out of an FCS upset, spearheaded by the play of the improved up-tempo offense.
Prediction: NC State 33 … Richmond 23
Line: NC State -23
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann - 1 Total Divas) … 2