CFN's Take: NC State vs. Wake Forest

College Football News takes a look at Saturday's contest between NC State and Wake Forest.

NC State (3-1) at Wake Forest (2-2),3:30 EST, ESPNU, Saturday, October 3

Why to watch: North Carolina State did not turn any skeptics into believers with back-to-back wins over Murray State and Gardner-Webb. It might have, however, with Saturday's come-from-behind effort against Pittsburgh. The Pack, trailing 31-17 in the third quarter, rallied for the final three touchdowns behind the wizardry of QB Russell Wilson. And voila, Tom O'Brien suddenly has the hottest ACC team this side of Blacksburg. Wake Forest might have been in the same exact situation, riding a three-game winning streak and coming off an important comeback win, had it not been for some poor execution in overtime. On the doorstep of a victory, the Deacons coughed the ball and the game up to Boston College. Wilson vs. Riley Skinner pits two of the league's best quarterbacks against each other.

Why NC State might win: Wilson has been performing at a different level, throwing four touchdown passes without an interception in each of the last three games. He's elevating the play of his teammates, making Toney Baker a more effective runner and WR Jarvis Williams and TE George Bryan more productive receivers. The Wake Forest defense has been shaky in the presence of better competition, collecting two sacks over the last three games and struggling to stop the pass. While slanted somewhat by those two games with FCS teams, the Pack has the nation's top-rated defense and has yet to surrender more than 300 yards in a game.

Why Wake Forest might win: The Demon Deacons plan to put that Wolfpack defense to the test. They've sported a balanced attack that's spit out more than 425 total yards in each of the last three games. Skinner has been the catalyst over that time, throwing six touchdowns to two picks and maximizing the potential of athletic receivers Marshall Williams, Devon Brown, and Chris Givens. The Chris DeGeare-led line has made great strides from a year ago, leading the conference in fewest sacks allowed.

Who to watch: With the offenses likely to have the upper hand, someone on defense will have to rise up and make a few big plays. A prime candidate to fill the void is NC State DE Willie Young, one of the nation's premier edge rushers, who has 5.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. While the Demon Deacons have done a terrific job of keeping Skinner clean, walling off No. 97 will be their biggest challenge so far.

What will happen: In games with comparable opponents, it's become increasingly difficult to doubt Wilson. He's that much of a variable. Heck, if he can adapt to and solve the Pitt defense by the second half, Wake Forest will be much less of a riddle. In a tight one that'll see numerous lead changes, the sophomore will engineer a second straight victory in the final quarter.

CFN Prediction: NC State 28 … Wake Forest 24 ... Line: Wake Forest -1

Must See Rating: (Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami 5 … The Jay Leno Show 1) … 2.5


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