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Duke vs. NC State Football Prediction and Preview

Blue Devils head to Raleigh to take on the Wolfpack

After their tough loss to Virginia Tech in Week 2, the NC State Wolfpack have rebounded nicely during the last couple of weeks.

 

NC State is on a two-game winning streak after defeated Virginia last week, 38-21. Now they will host their rival, the Duke Blue Devils, who got their first win of the season last weekend.

 

On the road, Duke was able to claim victory in the Carrier Dome against the Syracuse Orange 38-24 behind a potent rushing attack. Now they hope this can be the beginning of a long winning streak of their own after the Blue Devils lost their first four games of the season.

 

Saturday will mark the first time Duke and NC State have played each other since 2013. It will also be the Blue Devils' first trip to Carter Finley Stadium since 2009. Duke holds the edge in the series 41-36-5.

 

Duke at NC State

 

Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 17, at 3:30 p.m.

TV: ESPN3

Spread: NC State -4.5

 

When Duke Has the Ball

In its victory over Syracuse, Duke was able to take a lot of pressure off quarterback Chase Brice. The Blue Devils rushed for a total of 363 yards and two touchdowns.

 

Deon Jackson led the way with 169 yards and averaged 5.6 yards per carry. Mataeo Durant also had a ton of success on the ground as he registered 163 rushing yards and two touchdowns at a 7.1-yards per carry clip.

 

Now Duke will face an NC State defense that's 45th against the run this season, allowing 159.3 yards per game. In their win over the Cavaliers, the Wolfpack allowed just 82 yards on 29 carries. NC State's defense can generate a lot of pressure; they're tied for 11th nationally with 12 sacks through four games.

 

When NC State Has the Ball

The Wolfpack offense has been the team's bright spot this season. They're averaging 34.3 points per game, which is 25th in the nation. NC State is also racking up 402.5 total yards per game, although that's a less impressive 46th.

 

Despite the win over Virginia last week, quarterback Devin Leary struggled as he completed 11-of-25 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns against one interception. But the Wolfpack offense was able to get help from their rushing attack in the way of Zonovan "Bam" Knight.

 

On 18 carries, Knight rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns. He also averaged 6.4 yards per carry on the season. NC State will face a Duke team that's giving up an average of 160.4 yards per game on the ground. The Blue Devils also rank third-worst in the FBS in turnover margin (-2.20).

 

Final Analysis

 

Duke turned the ball over four times against Syracuse but was still able to win the game by two touchdowns. It is difficult to believe that could happen against this potent NC State offense. The good news for the Blue Devils is the Wolfpack's defense hasn't been impressive this season.

 

This game will likely be a shootout and could come down to who wins the turnover battle. That's where the Wolfpack have the advantage. If they're up late, Knight should receive a lot of carries late to put the game away.

 

Prediction: NC State 41, Duke 30

 

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.

 

(Zonovan "Bam" Knight photo by Gene Galin/NC State Athletics)

Event Sport: 
College Football
Event Date: 
Saturday, October 17, 2020 - 15:30
Event Location: 
Carter-Finley Stadium, 4600 Trinity Rd, Raleigh, NC 27607
Away Team: 
Home Team: 
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