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NC State vs. Virginia Football Prediction and Preview

Cavaliers look to continue their winning ways at home when they host the Wolfpack in ACC play

The Virginia Cavaliers look to extend a nine-game home winning streak on Saturday when they host the NC State Wolfpack.

 

Virginia (1-1) hasn't lost at Scott Stadium since a 23-13 loss to the Pitt Panthers on Nov. 2, 2018. Last weekend, the Cavaliers played the Clemson Tigers tough but ultimately loss 41-23 on the road. The Cavaliers opened their season with a convincing 38-20 victory over the Duke Blue Devils on Sept. 26.

 

NC State (2-1) pulled off a last-minute 30-29 upset last week against then-No. 24 Pitt. The Wolfpack were able to recover from their 45-24 loss at Virginia Tech the previous week. NC State will look to improve to 3-1 in ACC play with a win over Virginia as the Wolfpack opened the season with a close, 45-42 win in Raleigh against Wake Forest back on Sept. 19.

 

NC State leads the all-time series with Virginia 35-22-1, and is 15-11-1 in games played in Charlottesville. This is the first time the Cavaliers are hosting the Wolfpack since 2011 and only the fifth time since the 2000 season.

 

NC State at Virginia

 

Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 10 at 12 p.m. ET

TV: ACC Network

Spread: Virginia -9.5

 

When NC State Has the Ball

Against Pittsburgh, NC State redshirt sophomore quarterback Devin Leary made his first start of the season, and he was the catalyst on the team's game-winning drive. Leary drove the Wolfpack 79 yards in eight plays as he completed a 13-yard touchdown to Emeka Emezie with 23 seconds left to upset the previously unbeaten Panthers.

 

During the game, Leary completed 28-of-44 passes for 336 yards and four touchdowns, while completing 63.6 percent of his passes. For his efforts, Leary was named ACC Quarterback of the Week.

 

Emezie was also named ACC Co-Receiver of the Week as he recorded seven receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns. They will face a Virginia defense that gave up 466 yards and 41 points to Clemson last week. The Cavaliers rank 39th in total defense after allowing 404 yards per game.

 

When Virginia Has the Ball

Despite the loss to Clemson, Virginia's offense was able to gain 417 yards of total offense, which was the most allowed by Clemson in an ACC game since 2017. The Cavaliers also outrushed the Tigers 147-137, including 89 by redshirt sophomore quarterback Brennan Armstrong.

 

Through two games, Armstrong has thrown for 539 yards, five touchdowns, and four interceptions. He also has rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown during the same span. In the loss to Clemson, Armstrong completed 24-of-43 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns. He was also picked off twice.

 

Virginia will be against an NC State defense that allowed 503 yards in their win over Pitt. The Wolfpack are also giving up an average of 461 yards per game, which is 62nd in the country.

 

Final Analysis

 

As bad as NC State's defense has been this season, their offense has been better than expected. The Wolfpack rank 34th in the country, as they're averaging 415.7 yards per game, while ranking 28th in the nation in scoring with 33 points per game. So Saturday's game against the Cavaliers could prove to be an exciting contest.

 

The game should come down to who can make a stop defensively, which is where Virginia could have the advantage. Not only are the Wolfpack giving up 38.7 points per game, but their turnover margin is also -0.67. NC State should keep it close, but Virginia, especially with their defense, which is averaging 3.5 sacks per game, has a slight edge in this one.

 

Prediction: Virginia 34, NC State 31

 

— 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.

Event Sport: 
College Football
Event Date: 
Saturday, October 10, 2020 - 12:00
Event Location: 
Scott Stadium, 1815 Stadium Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903
Away Team: 
Home Team: 
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