CFN's Take: NC State vs. Maryland

College Football News takes a look at tomorrow's contest against Maryland.

Maryland (5-6) at North Carolina State (5-6)   12:00 PM  GamePlan

Why to Watch: Both teams are trying to reach .500 for the season, with different motivations. The Terps are trying to avoid a third losing season in the past four, a skid that killed a talented, athletic team with high hopes after a great beginning. North Carolina State, meanwhile, is gunning for its fifth win in six games as it looks to finish off the regular season with a huge turnaround. The winner will be bowl eligible and should find a place somewhere. It might be a trip to Boise, but a bowl game is a bowl game and neither of these teams would look a gift trip in the mouth.

Why Maryland Might Win: The Terps are doing it lately with passing, which is a bit of a switch, since they were originally trying for balance with backs Keon Lattimore and Lance Ball, who weren’t able to get any traction in last week’s loss to Florida State. They should find more room against the Wolfpack’s 82nd rated run defense that’s improved over the last few weeks, but still hasn’t been a consistent brick wall. The Terps are fairly stout stopping the run thanks to big-tackling junior linebackers Erin Henderson (116 stops) and Dave Philistin (110), and State isn’t exactly cranking out huge yards. Maryland has also done a good job of forcing turnovers this year with a plus-six margin. Winning the turnover battle might not be a must to win, but it would certainly do wonders on the road. State isn’t afraid to give the ball away.

Why North Carolina State Might Win: Last week’s 38-18 loss to Wake Forest notwithstanding, the Wolfpack has closed the season in fine fashion and can put an exclamation point on the campaign with a win. If Jamelle Eugene struggles on the ground, as he did last week against Wake after an impressive stretch, expect Daniel Evans to take over, not such a bad thing of late. State’s defense has become tougher and tougher to solve in the last several weeks thanks to a revamped secondary and improvement across the front four. Especially tough against the pass, State should stuff the Terp running game while playing into Maryland’s current strength, QB Chris Turner’s passing yards.      

Who to Watch: State’s improvement on defense has been the main reason for the resurgence, but so has the increased role of Evans. Through the first six weeks of the season he attempted just 82 passes and struggled to get his starting job back. Since then, he has thrown at least 40 times in all five games and hasn’t been shy about pushing it deep. Last week he struggled some with 56 tries, but he has thrown eight TD passes during that stretch and had a pair of 300-yard games. He’s not always the most efficient passer, but he can get the ball downfield and won’t be afraid to take chances, for good and bad.

What Will Happen
: The Wolfpack may have taken a step backward last week, but it’ll bomb its way back on track while completing Maryland’s collapse.

CFN Prediction: NC State 24 … Maryland 20 ... Line: NC State -1.5
Must See Rating: (5
The inside of your eyelids after eating two pounds of turkey  - 1 The inside of a gym with every 120 calories equaling a mile on the treadmill) ...2.5

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