CFN's Take: NC State vs. Georgia Tech

CollegeFootballNews.com breaks down this weekend's NC State-Georgia Tech contest.

Georgia Tech (6-2) at NC State (3-5) 7:00 PM EST ESPNU Saturday November 4
Why to Watch: Despite getting hammered at Clemson two weeks ago, Georgia Tech was still sitting atop the ACC Coastal Division but needed the win over Miami to cement its status.  One 30-23 hard fought victory later, and Tech has all but punched its ticket to Jacksonville as the Coastal champs. It would take losing two of its final three games against the Tobacco Road schools – NC State, UNC and Duke – to get knocked out of the championship game.  Knowing that they can possibly ruin Georgia Tech’s season and stay in the hunt for a bowl game, the Wolfpack will show up a bit more inspired than they were last week at Virginia in a 14-7 loss.  After a stellar ACC conference start, including wins over Boston College and FSU, the Wolfpack have lost three key games in a row and are now fighting for its post-season life with a trip to Clemson next week.
Why Georgia Tech Might Win: Reggie.  Ball.  Up and down only begins to describe how Ball has played in his four years as the starter, but he proved through much of this season that he’s still the ultimate key for this entire team even when he’s not playing his best.  At Clemson, he was injured early, couldn’t find Calvin Johnson, and the offense went nowhere in the 31-7 loss.  Last week against Miami, he started three of 16 before completing eight of his last eleven passes including a touchdown.  Georgia Tech’s offense will ride Ball’s arm and leadership to Jacksonville for the ACC championship game, but will need his legs this week in Raleigh to beat the Wolfpack.
Why NC State Might Win:  Clemson blitzed Georgia Tech’s defense for 342 rushing yards.  Last week, Miami RB Javarris James ran for 113 yards, averaging nearly six yards per carry.  Sensing a theme here?  State’s running back twosome - Andre Brown and Toney Baker – is as talented as any duo in the league, but the Wolfpack have been forced to abandon the run in comebacks.  These two should pound away at the Yellow Jacket defensive front early in the game to get them involved right away creating a myriad of problems for defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta’s fast, but lithe, defense.
Who to Watch:  As State will focus on establishing the running game early, Georgia Tech linebackers KaMichael Hall and Philip Wheeler will be in the spotlight as they’re still smarting from the problems against the Clemson backs.  The two star linebackers have combined for 111 tackles this season, and they’ll both need a monster game to quell any run game effectiveness for State while forcing State QB Daniel Evans to win the game.
What Will Happen:  Georgia Tech RB Tashard Choice will have another 100 yard rushing game and Ball will be a 150 yards passing/50 yards rushing dual threat.  The combination of Choice and Ball will force State to again abandon the running game and rely on Evans to carry the offense.  That’s when Tenuta’s zone dog scheme will cause all kind of havoc for the sophomore signal caller, who hasn’t seen pressure like what he’s going to see from this week.
CFN Prediction:
Georgia Tech 24 … NC State 14 ... Line: Georgia Tech -6.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Running with Scissors)
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