CFN's Take: NC State vs. South Alabama

The NC State Wolfpack (3-0) looks to sweep its non-conference schedule when it travels to the South Alabama Jaguars (2-1). College Football News breaks down the pairing below in the NC State vs. South Alabama prediction and game preview.

Why You Need To Care
NC State continues to coast through a soft non-conference schedule, with the true measure of this team’s potential not coming until ACC play begins. The Pack has buried Troy, Eastern Kentucky and Old Dominion by no less than 24 points each, allowing for plenty of reps for the backups. South Alabama got a big boost with last weekend’s overtime upset of San Diego State on the road.

Why NC State Will Win
The USA defense is improving, yes, but still rebuilding. In the Jags’ lone game with an FBS team, Nebraska, they allowed 561 yards. The Pack will be a tall order, especially now that RB Shadrach Thornton has rejoined QB Jacoby Brissett and RB Matthew Dayes in the backfield.

Why South Alabama Will Win
The Jaguars are coming off their best game of the season, outgaining the Aztecs, 511-305. Xavier Johnson outplayed Donnel Pumphrey in the battle of the backs, while UAB transfer Cody Clements has provided a steady hand at quarterback.

Player Who Matters
The Pack defense has taken care of business up to this point, allowing 2.2 yards a carry. South Alabama, though, could provide a stiffer challenge. Johnson has emerged out of left field as a playmaker, while athletic TE Gerald Everett is becoming a downfield weapon for Clements. Fortunately for State, it’ll enjoy an edge at the line of scrimmage.

What’s Going To Happen?
Heading on the road to face an improving South Alabama team could be a tricky spot for NC State. And the Pack will be tested early. But the ability to grind out yards between the tackles, with the fresh legs of Brissett, Dayes and Thornton, will wear down the Jaguar defense over the final two quarters.

NC State vs. South Alabama Prediction
Prediction: NC State 37, South Alabama 21, Line: NC State -16.5, o/u: 54

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