After making it through the first fortnight of the 2022 season undefeated, NC State looks ahead to its next match up: the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
After scraping by against East Carolina in week one, NC State seemed to relieve a lot of frustration in week two against Charleston Southern, routing them 55-3. Quarterback Devin Leary scored six touchdowns against them, with two on the ground and four through the air. NC State’s defense also looked a lot stronger, with way fewer missed open field tackles. However, this game should be taken with a grain of salt, as Charleston Southern is likely NC State’s weakest opponent this season.
The Red Raiders come into Raleigh this Saturday also standing at 2-0. They are coming off of a thrilling double overtime victory against the (at the time) twenty-fifth ranked Houston Cougars. After allowing a field goal at the start of double overtime, quarterback Donovan Smith scored the game winning touchdown scrambling from the nine yard line, securing a 33-30 victory. Smith threw the ball fifty-nine times, completing thirty-six of them for 350 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Granted the game did last for two extra overtime periods, but that is still a lot of passing.
What NC State needs for victory:
NC State has to show what its defensive secondary is made of. Luckily, everyone on defense should be returning this weekend. If the secondary does its job in defending the passing game, a Texas Tech win will be very difficult. Keep in mind, Donovan Smith is a dual threat quarterback, but NC State has done a great job defending dual threats in recent memory. With Payton Wilson returning this week, the entire linebacking core should be on the field and ready to stop the quarterback running game.
What Texas Tech needs for victory:
By far the number one advantage for Texas Tech heading into this weekend is this: NC State nearly always loses to non-conference power five teams. Last time NC State defeated a non-conference power five team in the regular season was in 2003 against none other than Texas Tech themselves. In nearly every one of them in recent memory, it seemed like whatever could go wrong for NC State did go wrong. The key for Texas Tech to win this game is to lure NC State’s secondary into committing defensive penalties, and to blanket NC State’s receivers on defense. If those two things happen, it could be a long night for NC State football.
This game will most certainly dictate how the remainder of the season will go, as this will be NC State’s true test of the year. NC State as of now is a ten point favorite in this match up, but that means absolutely nothing on the field. NC State will be wearing its black uniforms underneath brand new red stadium lights in Carter Finley this Saturday. It will be an electric atmosphere and should be a incredibly fun game.