Syracuse at NC State
Time: 7 PM CST (THURS), ESPN
Spread: NC ST -3.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
NC State fell 13-31 to FSU last outing. It entered that game with a 3-1 mark, and the Wolfpack at 3-2 stands in 5th place in the ACC right now. The Wolfpack hosts visiting Syracuse Thursday night at 7 PM CST on ESPN, and NC State is 3.5-point favorites at college football bookmaker 5dimes.
NC State has not really settled in at quarterback. Bailey Hockman attempted 40 passes against FSU, but he completed just 21 of those while throwing only one touchdown and averaging just 5.2 yards-per-completion. Devin Leary and Matthew McKay both saw brief opportunities, and the pair combined to throw 7 of 12 for 74 yards between them, though neither managed a touchdown.
NC State running back Jordan Houston has been consistently good. He averaged 6.8 yards-per-carry on his nine attempts against the Seminoles, and he accounted for 61 of the team’s 88 rushing yards. The freshman is averaging 7.1 yards-per-attempt this season and he has caught six passes for 28 yards, as well. His best outing thus far came when he attempted eight rushes for 72 yards and a touchdown in the 41-0 pounding of Western Carolina.
It is still unclear if NC State is looking to move away from McKay and turn to Hockman. McKay was decent. He completed just 57 percent of his looks but he threw three TDs to just one interception and only suffered three sacks while starting. Emeka Emezie has been NC State’s top receiver. He has 281 yards on 28 catches and one touchdown. Four other receivers have 100 yards or better, and tight end Cary Angeline leads the team in touchdowns (two) with 13 catches for 184 yards, as well.
The Syracuse Orange are 3-2 after consecutive victories over Western Michigan and Holy Cross, non-FBS opponents. This week it faces a tougher NC State team, and Syracuse is 1-1 on the road coming off a three-week homestand that saw the Orange fall badly to Clemson.
It was pounded by Maryland, as well, having fared poorly against both FBS opponents it has taken on thus far.
Syracuse quarterback Tommy DeVito has been very good. His 63.5 percent completion ratio has been great, and he has thrown 11 TDs and five interceptions. Most troubling is that he has been sacked 18 times through five games, and he has lost 112 yards on those plays. The OL has to provide much better protection, but DeVito also must act quickly and do so without picking up (any more) INTs.
The Orange backfield has been moderately successful, but also quite mediocre. Syracuse averages just 3.4 yards-per-rush and no backfield option with significant attempts averages any better than Moe Neal’s 4.4 per. Neal has rushed 72 times already for 317 yards and he also leads the team in TDs with three. Abdul Adams is the No. 2 back with 193 yards, and DeVito ranks No. 3 on the team in rushing yards, but he also averages a woeful 1.6 yards-per-rush having attempted 46 for a total gain of just 73 yards, though he does have a TD to his credit.
Syracuse has rushed for seven TDs and it has thrown for 11. Tristhton Jackson has been dominant as the top receiver. He has 24 catches for 394 yards and five of the 11 receiving touchdowns. Tight end Aaron Hackett has been a great end zone target, too. He has three TD catches but just 12 on the year for 101 yards. Syracuse averages 11.4 yards-per-completion, and with 198 rush attempts and 110 completed passes, the Orange is striking a nice balance.
Can it get it together and win its first game over an FBS team this week, though?