North Carolina State is hoping to get back on the winning track after three consecutive losses, including back-to-back blowout defeats against ranked teams. The Wolfpack will need to win two of their final three games to become bowl eligible. NC State comes in with a 4-5 overall record and a 1-4 record in ACC play while Louisville is trying to get back above the .500-mark in conference play after taking a blowout loss of their own last week. Will the Wolfpack cover the number at home against Louisville on Saturday?
Cunningham, Becton injured in loss to MiamiLouisville was trounced 52-27 versus Miami last week but even more concerning for the Cardinals is the status of starting quarterback Micale Cunningham. Cunningham completed 12-of-18 passes for two touchdowns and one interception while adding a score on the ground before exiting the game in the second half with an apparent injury. Javian Hawkins ran for 91 yards and dynamic wide receiver Tutu Atwell caught six balls for 142 and a score in the loss. Louisville actually outgained Miami 496 to 449 on the day but three turnovers and costly penalties (14 for 121 yards) proved to be too much for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals also lost a key piece of their offensive line in the game against the Hurricanes, as starting left tackle Mekhi Becton left the game in the first quarter and did not return. Becton, a 6-foot-7, 369-pound junior is considered to be one of the top offensive line prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft and is also one of the team’s most vocal leaders in the locker room. He is considered day-to-day with a foot injury but if he isn’t available on Saturday, Louisville should have an obvious replacement. Talented sophomore Adonis Boone is expected to fill in for Becton after allowing just one sack in three quarters against a talented Hurricanes’ front.
If Cunningham is unable to go on Saturday, the Cardinals will turn to freshman quarterback Evan Conley, who has seen action in each of the team’s last five games. Conley helped lead Louisville to victories against Wake Forest and Boston College while showing a penchant for coming up big in clutch moments. He’s more of a pure passer than Cunningham but still has a lot of maturing to do at the college level. Conley has thrown for 582 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions while completing 57.1 percent of his passes this season.
Louisville is scoring 32.1 points and averaging 450.3 yards of total offense per game. On defense, the Cardinals have given up 34.1 points and 438.6 yards of total offense per game, including 180 yards per game on the ground.
Leary hoping to build confidence after a pair of tough startsNC State dropped its third straight conference contest last week, losing at home 55-10 to No.5-ranked Clemson. Freshman quarterback Devin Leary completed only 14-of-29 passes for 166 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions, as the Tigers bolted out to a 42-0 halftime lead. The Wolfpack actually had a fair bit of success running the football, as fellow freshman Zonovan Knight carried the ball 12 times for 139 yards and a score to finish as one of the few bright spots on the day. The Wolfpack were outgained 549 to 290 and they lost four fumbles on the day to make matters worse against one of the top teams in the country.
Another NC State turnover: Devin Leary gets picked off by Amari Henderson...https://t.co/AvIhKQ0ADl— Decaf Metcalf ☕ (@FTBeard11) November 2, 2019
Leary is expected to be under center again the week. The freshman gunslinger didn’t have much of a chance to build confidence after making the first two starts of his career against ranked ACC opponents. He comes in with 651 passing yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions this season but is only completing 44.1 percent of his passes.
The Wolfpack have been ravaged by injuries this season, forcing an already young team to play even younger players. Things got worse for NC State on Saturday, as freshman linebacker Payton Wilson was forced out of the game with a shoulder sprain. The defense comes in allowing 28.7 points and 382.9 yards of total offense per game.
- Cardinals are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games vs. a team with a losing home record.
North Carolina State
- Wolfpack are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 conference games.
- Wolfpack are 1-6 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Wolfpack are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games overall.