CFN's Take: NC State vs. South Florida

College Football News takes a look at Saturday's contest against South Florida. NC State (2-2) will be looking to upset the nationally-ranked Bulls (4-0).

South Florida (4-0) at North Carolina State (2-2), 7:30 EST, ESPNU

Why to watch: North Carolina State rose up and knocked East Carolina from the ranks of the unbeaten last Saturday with a 30-24 upset win. It’ll try to do the same to South Florida this weekend. It was the first signature win in the Tom O’Brien era and something the Wolfpack can build upon going forward. If State can overachieve for a second straight week, it can start seriously thinking about making a run at bowl eligibility in November. South Florida remained unbeaten with a win at Florida International, but it was a lot tougher than anyone could have imagined. The Bulls have won their last three games by eight points or fewer, a disturbing trend that could catch up to them over the final eight games. At No. 13 in the AP poll, they’re the highest ranked Big East team, but head coach Jim Leavitt knows his team has flaws that need to be addressed.

Why South Florida might win: N.C. State’s 109th-ranked offense is going to have a whale of a time trying to score on the Bulls. South Florida has the nation’s No. 12 defense, a speedy unit that will put non-stop pressure on Harrison Beck, who’s replacing injured Russell Wilson at quarterback. The Wolfpack offense is predicated on establishing the run, which no one has done successfully versus USF. The Bulls are allowing just over two yards a carry and have yet to allow more than 76 yards in a game. With offenses fixated on DE George Selvie, others such as NT Terrell McClain and DE Craig Marshall, are stepping up and making stops.

Why NC State might win: The Wolfpack D may not have as many recognizable names as South Florida, but it’s been every bit as feisty this month. State has already created a dozen turnovers, second only to Wake Forest in the ACC, and has been able to get consistent pressure up front with ends Willie Young and Shea McKeen. If the Pack can force QB Matt Grothe into mistakes, the talent gap between these two schools will be erased.

Who to watch: South Florida LB Tyrone McKenzie has been playing like a man possessed since the season began. He’s making plays all over the field, and has registered at least one tackle for loss in all four games. He’ll be keeping a close watch on Wolfpack RB Andre Brown, who was one of the heroes on Saturday, powering his way to 73 yards and the game-winning touchdown.

What will happen: South Florida is going to struggle to shake North Carolina State, a program that’s been playing much better of late and will be energized by the Carter-Finley crowd. The Bulls will survive another close call, snuffing out a Wolfpack drive for the tying touchdown late in the final quarter.

CFN Prediction
: South Florida 28 … NC State 16... Line: USF -8

Must See Rating: (5 Debate No. 1 - 1 The 2008 Primetime Emmys) … 4

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