Both the Virginia Tech Hokies and the NC State Wolfpack will be looking to rebound from difficult losses as they face each other Thursday night at Carter-Finley Stadium.
Virginia Tech (2-5, 1-3 ACC) had a week to reflect on its 20-14 loss to the Miami Hurricanes. The Hokies have lost four consecutive games, which is tied for the longest streak in 30 years.
No. 24 NC State (5-2, 1-2) also was on a bye last weekend after coming off an Oct. 15, 24-9 loss at Syracuse. Once considered possible favorites to win the ACC, the Wolfpack will now need a lot of help even to reach the conference championship game in Charlotte.
Thursday will be the 51st meeting between the Hokies and Wolfpack. Virginia Tech holds a 28-18-4 edge in the series. Since joining the ACC, the Hokies are 5-1 against the Wolfpack.
Virginia Tech at No. 24 NC State
When Virginia Tech Has the Ball
Virginia Tech's offense has struggled all season. The team is tied for 115th nationally in scoring offense (19.1 ppg) and sits 116th in total offense (321.9 ypg).
Wide receiver Kaleb Smith is a playmaker for the Hokies. He has 28 catches for 428 yards and two touchdowns in seven games this season.
Virginia Tech also uses multiple running backs in its offense with Keshawn King and Malachi Thomas. King has rushed for 259 yards and two touchdowns, while Thomas has 125 yards on the ground along with a touchdown.
The Hokies will be facing an NC State defense that is allowing 16.9 points per game, good for second in the ACC and 14th in FBS.
When NC State Has the Ball
The Wolfpack will have to continue their season without the ACC Preseason Player of the Year under center.
Quarterback Devin Leary will miss the remainder of the season with a torn pectoral muscle. He suffered the injury in the victory against Florida State on Oct. 8.
Starting in Leary's place is Jack Chambers, a graduate transfer from Charleston Southern. Against Syracuse, Chambers completed 18 of 30 passes for 160 yards.
With 12 days between his last game, NC State head coach Dave Doeren said Chambers should be more prepared heading into the game against Virginia Tech.
"You can't change a lot in three days of practice," Doeren said. "It was nice to study what we've done well and things we can do differently. We do have a quarterback who can do some things and we want to utilize that."
NC State is not the same team without Leary, but its offense and defense should be good enough to contain the struggling Hokies.
Virginia Tech has not looked great outside of victories against Boston College and Wofford. Not only have the Hokies lost four straight games, but they also have not even been close to winning any of them outside of the six-point loss against Miami.
The Wolfpack's defense will be the difference here, as they are one of the best in the ACC. That, along with the NC State running game of Jordan Houston and Demie Sumo-Karngbaye, will be enough to get the team a home victory and earn bowl eligibility.
Prediction: NC State 34, Virginia Tech 16
Podcast: Complete Week 9 Preview, Predictions, and Picks Against the Spread
— 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, Pro Player Insiders, and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.
*Price as of publication.