Defensive Keys To The Game: Louisville

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Here are some defensive keys to the game for NC State as they prepare to face Louisville.

It seems like a very simple strategy but against a team like Louisville that has a running quarterback, it's extremely important.

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is dynamic running with the football. He has rushed for 314 yards and four touchdowns already this season, and leads the Cards in rushing by 114 yards. Last week he was outstanding against Stamford, totaling 212 passing yards and 184 rushing yards.  He is the rushing game right now for Louisville, and that's part of the reason why he's the starting quarterback.

The field will be wet and conditions sloppy... NC State has to be able to get Jackson on the ground because he will be looking to run the football more often than not.

Priority No. 1 for NC State has to be tackling. The Wolfpack can't yield any big plays due to poor tackling.

We've touched on it a bit already, but NC State has to make the Cardinas one-dimensional by stopping Jackson and the ground game.

While Jackson is effective running with the football, he hasn't proven to be an efficient passer. He is completing 60% of his passes, but he has thrown just two touchdowns with four interceptions.

Fact is, Louisville doesn't want him throwing the football a lot. He attempted just 22 passes in last week's win over Samford.

It all starts with stuffing the run.  If NC State can limit Jackson and tailbacks Brandon Radcliff and Jeremy Scott, the Wolfpack defense should be stout because it might be tough for Jackson to win the game with his arm.

NC State has done a great good job of taking care of the football this season, as they have committed just one turnover, the second-fewest in the country.  However, they must force more turnovers.

The Wolfpack has struggled doing so in spurts, although they forced a few last week at South Alabama.

Lamar Jackson is making his first true road start.  He has four interceptions in limited time already this season.  The crowd will be rowdy... is he ready for that environment?

NC State must win the turnover battle, and it all starts with the defense forcing Jackson and the Cardinals to turn the ball over.

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