Why You Should Give A Hoot: NC State and Wake Forest are poised to renew one of Tobacco Road's oldest rivalry, an annual tradition that began at the end of the 19th century. The Demon Deacons come into the game reeling, losers of three of their last four, including Saturday's 56-7 obliteration at the hands of Clemson.
If Wake has any hope of achieving mediocrity in 2013, it'll have to begin this weekend against an opponent it hasn't lost to in Winston-Salem since 2001.
For now, the Wolfpack is a notch above the Deacons, getting to 3-1 with last week's rout of Central Michigan. It also lost to Clemson, but just by 12 in a game that could have been closer had it not been for a
Why NC State Might Win: In some respects, this is an ideal opponent for the Pack, which is still trying to find itself on offense.
Against Wake Forest, which features one of the most feeble attacks in the FBS, State can run its attack without being forced to play catch-up. The Pack wants to move at a hastened pace under new head coach Dave Doeren, building on the momentum from last week's 48-point, 483-yard outburst.
Why Wake Forest Might Win: The lone silver lining this fall in Winston-Salem has been the play of the defense, which held all but Clemson to no more than 24 points, despite being on the field too much.
The Deacons are 12th nationally in takeaways and 37th in pass defense, which could neutralize the arm of Pack QB Pete Thomas. NT Nikita Whitlock is a wrecking ball on the interior, while corners Merrill Noel and Kevin Johnson are doing a solid job of limiting plays over the top.
Who To Watch Out For: The Deacon O-line is in disarray, ranking 96th in sacks allowed. Here comes State, which already has 37 stops for minus yards, led by LB Robert Caldwell and a smattering of active defensive linemen.
- Wake Forest will have to concern itself with NC State WR Bryan Underwood, who'll hurt the opposition in myriad different ways. He can be a game-changer, catching passes or taking handoffs.
- Thomas needs to get his act together ... and quickly. The one-time backup has only thrown one touchdown and five picks since replacing Brandon Mitchell in the opener. However, Mitchell is off crutches, and his once-broken left foot has healed so quickly that he could be available for next week's date with Syracuse.
What Will Happen: History favors Wake Forest. Momentum and talent are on NC State's side. It's a rivalry game at BB&T Field, so it'll be close throughout, with the defenses largely in control. The Pack D will help snap the road losing streak in this series, halting Deacon QB Tanner Price in his attempt to rally his team late in the final quarter.
Prediction: NC State 24 … Wake Forest 20
Line: NC State -8.5 o/u: 47
Must See Rating: (5 5 shut down this week due to lack of government funding – 1 Rachel vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off … 3 Rachel vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off) … 2