Notre Dame vs. NC State prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Fighting Irish and Wolfpack on Saturday in Raleigh, NC.
Notre Dame vs. NC State Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 8 – Noon ET
Where: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC
TV Broadcast: ABC
After a wild start that featured a 23-13 Fighting Irish (2-3) lead with 10:06 left in the FIRST quarter, Brian Kelly’s squad held Syracuse to just seven points in the second half in a 50-33 win last Saturday. Quarterback DeShone Kizer threw for a career-best 471 yards, and the Irish snapped a two-game losing streak in the first game since Kelly fired defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. ND still allowed more than 30 points for the fourth time this season and 489 yards to Syracuse’s up-tempo spread offense.
Meanwhile, the Wolfpack (3-1, 1-0 ACC) won their league opener for the first time under fourth-year head coach Dave Doeren, as Wake Forest was a 33-16 victim last week. Ryan Finley threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns, while Matt Dayes ran for 125 yards and a score.
These teams have met just once in their history, and it occurred in the 2003 Gator Bowl. NC State won that game 28-6 behind two T. A. McLendon touchdowns and the arm of Phillip Rivers. Notre Dame was in its first season under Tyrone Willingham and was ranked as high as No. 4 before losing to Boston College and USC.
What To Know About Notre Dame
Kelly promoted Greg Hudson to the defensive coordinator role after VanGorder was let go, and he was more involved on the defensive side of the ball leading up to the game against the Orange. More players saw time on the field, and the Irish toyed with alignments as well. Kelly also moved cornerback Luke Cole to nickelback. ND still has major issues in the secondary because there are four freshmen seeing significant time, and we saw the Orange connect for some big plays. However, the tackling was improved from the previous weeks, particularly the disaster against Duke.
What to Know About NC State
The Wolfpack recorded 527 total yards against a Demon Deacons defense that came in No. 12 nationally against the run and No. 20 in scoring defense. It was the third straight season that the Deacons lost to the ‘Pack by a double-digit margin. They finished with four sacks and have nine in the past two games. Doeren’s squad did, however, have a real problem with penalties last week. The Wolfpack committed thirteen penalties for 144 yards, both season highs, so that must be cleaned up if they want to be an upper-tier ACC squad.
Offense: Even. Kizer and the Irish are more than capable of turning out big play after big play, but do not sleep on this very balanced NC State unit.
Defense: NC State. The Wolfpack didn’t have to fire their defensive coordinator this season.
Special Teams: Notre Dame. ND had its second blocked PAT returned for a 2-point conversion this season in the win last week over the Orange.
Coaching: Even. Kelly has ripped his players far too often this season, while Doeren is looking for his signature win in Raleigh.
Intangibles: NC State. It’s Notre Dame at home. That still carries weight.
Matchup To Watch
Equanimeous St. Brown vs. NC State secondary
ND’s sophomore wide receiver from Anaheim, CA, could find a lot of open grass this week against an NC State secondary that let Wake Forest receiver Tabari Hines catch nine passes for 125 yards. St. Brown has gone for at least 75 yards in each game and has six touchdowns on the season. Against Syracuse, he recorded 182 receiving yards and two scores. He’s a big-time talent that should be able to have yet another productive week.
Spread: Notre Dame -2.5
Notre Dame vs. NC State Prediction
The Irish will be able to move the ball rather effectively against the Wolfpack defense, and Doeren’s offense should have no problem doing the same to the Irish. I think this is an ND group that is finally coming together a little bit, and the defense will make one key stop (I know, it’s hard to imagine) late in the game to escape with a win.
Notre Dame vs. NC State Score Prediction: Notre Dame 37, NC State 31