Defensive Keys To The Game: Eastern Kentucky

Jerod Fernandez and the rest of NC State's defense will look to make plays on Saturday. Here are some defensive keys to the game for the Wolfpack.

NC State Defense vs. Eastern Kentucky Offense

Priority No. 1 for NC State has to be stopping EKU tailback Dy'shawn Mobley, one of the top tailbacks in the country. Mobley was chosen as a preseason All-American this season by Phil Steele, College Sporting News and Athlon. Last season he rushed for 1,491 yards and scored 20 rushing touchdowns. He led the OVC in both categories in addition to producing a league-best eight 100-yard rushing games.

The transfer from Kentucky is really talented, but his health is a question mark as he's been nursing a hamstring injury. He's expected to play but will he be at 100%? He'll be joined in the backfield by a group of running backs, including Florida transfer Adam Lane.

EKU is a run-based team and they are going to run right at NC State, and the Wolfpack has to slow Mobley and the rushing game down if they want to prevent an upset from happening.

Eastern Kentucky values the football... they want to limit turnovers and force them defensively. NC State has to get them off-schedule and force the Colonels to try and win the game through the air.

NC State must try and force quarterback Bennie Coney to make mistakes and also prevent EKU from having any big plays. The goal should be to make EKU score while sustaining drives... limit the big plays that hurt the Pack defense in the opener.

Look for State to try and win on first down. If they can make EKU one-dimensional, that could potentially lead to some turnovers.

This much we know, Eastern Kentucky wants to run the football, and they are going to try and stay on schedule offensively.

NC State has to do the little things to make the Colonels uncomfortable on Saturday.

Sounds easy, but sometimes teams can overlook opponents. NC State cannot do that because Eastern Kentucky is capable of winning this game.

The Colonels are ranked nationally in the FCS polls and have eight starters back on both sides of the ball. They have a game-changer offensively and defensively and are sound fundamentally. EKU will not be a push-over.

However, if NC State plays the way they are capable of playing they should win. That all starts by playing with passion. The defense has to be fired up, aggressive, and locked in from the opening snap. They need to set the tone early, whether it's with a huge sack or a big turnover.

If the Wolfpack defense comes out fired up, that could carry over to the other units and be critical in a victory.

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