Here are five things you should know about North Carolina State heading into tomorrow afternoon’s matchup.
The last time the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and North Carolina State Wolfpack met was the Jackets ACC finale in 2019. The Yellow Jackets took down the Wolfpack in that game 28-26 at Bobby Dodd Stadium, an exciting game that earned the Jackets their third and final win of the season.
One year later, both teams are improved from their 2019 selves though the record may show it more so for the Wolfpack than the Yellow Jackets. Entering Saturday afternoon, the Wolfpack are 7-3 on the season and are winners of three straight.
That being said, this Wolfpack team may not be as strong as they appear record-wise and certainly are a team the Yellow Jackets could takedown on Saturday. Here are five things to know about the Wolfpack entering the game.
No.1: The Wolfpack have nearly given up more points than they’ve scored this season…
I’m not sure how often you could say this but with their 7-3 record this season, the Wolfpack have a point differential of +5. Additionally, the Wolfpack are allowing more yards per game than they’re totaling offensively.
By using the Pythagorean expectation, the Wolfpack are likely closer to a 5-5 team this season than they are a 7-3 team. You look at their schedule and that’s also evident. Three of their wins (Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, and Liberty) have come by three points or less. Their only convincing wins of the season came against Virginia, Florida State, and Duke. While it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly Virginia is this season, it’s fair to say Florida State and Duke are the two worst teams arguably in the conference. Don’t get me wrong, on paper NC State is the better team than Georgia Tech, but they’re also not as strong as their record shows.
No.2: They have a formidable backfield duo
The Yellow Jackets have a pretty good backfield as Tech fans already know but NC State has a strong one themselves led by the duo of 1,285-yards and 11 touchdowns. Knight, himself is nearing 1,000 total yards on the season at 837 yards thanks to 698 rushing yards and 139 receiving yards on 19 receptions. They also have talented sophomore Jordan Houston, who is having a bit of a down season after a strong freshman season, he has just 115 yards and two touchdowns on 115 carries this season.
The Yellow Jackets are coming off their best defensive effort in terms of stopping the opposing rushing attack this past weekend against Duke but they’ll need an even better performance on Saturday against the Wolfpack.
No.3: Bailey Hockman is playing extremely well of recent but is turnover prone
Bailey Hockman was the Wolfpack’s starting quarterback to start the season but was benched after two weeks for Devin Leary. Unfortunately for Leary, he’d go down with a season-ending injury just a few weeks later, handing the job back over to junior Hockman. Once Hockman got the starting job back he began to turn around his play but over the last four weeks, Hockman has seen his play go to another level. Over those four games, he has totaled 980-yards and nine touchdowns. That being said, he has thrown four interceptions and is averaging one interception per game this season, which will be something to watch on Saturday.
No.4: They’ve been undisciplined this season…
It’s no secret that Georgia Tech has discipline issues on the field this season but so has NC State through their 10-games. The Wolfpack are averaging 8.2 penalties per game this season including committing 14 penalties just two weeks ago against Liberty, they’re also averaging 76.8 yards of penalties per game. If the Yellow Jackets can take advantage of NC State’s disciplinary issues, they’ll have greatly increased their chances of taking down the Wolfpack.
No.5: NC State has historically struggled against the Yellow Jackets…
All-time, these two teams have met 30 times in history and the Yellow Jackets have won the overwhelming majority of those games with a 20-10 record against the Wolfpack. Furthermore, the Jackets have won each of the last three against the Wolfpack dating back to 2011 including a 56-23 victory over the Wolfpack in 2014 at Carter-Finley Stadium. The last time NC State beat the Yellow Jackets came all the way back in 2010 and the last time they did so at home against Tech was in 2000. Overall, the Jackets are 9-6 when taking on the Wolfpack in Raleigh.