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Wake Forest vs. North Carolina State: Statistical Preview

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Can the Deacs get their first ACC win of the season?

Grant Halverson

All data through 11/8.

Wake Forest Offense vs. North Carolina State Defense
Side S&P+ Passing S&P+ Rushing S&P+ Success Rate
Wake Forest Offense 74.9(126th) 79.6 (117th) 50.5 (128th) 25.2% (128th)
NC State Defense 95.3 (82nd) 99.5(67th) 95.7 (83rd) 44.4%(95th)

This side of the ball is a battle of bad vs. ugly. Wake Forest now only has the 3rd worst offense in FBS, while North Carolina State has a defense that is well-below average and is allowing over 30 points per contest. Wake Forest has the worst offensive success rate in the country, meaning they stay "on schedule" on only 25.2% of their plays. The good news for Wake Forest, is that State's defense is one of the worst in the country at preventing offenses from staying on schedule. Wake's offense has struggled for a number of reasons this season, but mostly because of their inability to generate positive yardage and first and second downs. If this team is in 3rd and long situations all day, then it won't be pretty. If they can consistently get a handful of yards on early downs, then they have a chance to convert 3rd downs and sustain drives.

Wake Forest Defense vs. North Carolina State Offense
Side S&P+ Passing S&P+ Rushing S&P+ Success Rate
Wake Forest Defense 101.0 (58th) 106.6 (53rd) 105.0 (56th) 38.8% (43rd)
NC State Offense 107.2(37th) 104.3 (60th) 128.0 (15th) 48.1% (17th)

This side of the ball, however, is a battle of strength vs. strength. North Carolina State's offense is dependent upon their ability to consistently run the ball and stay on schedule. Unfortunately for Wake Forest's defense, State is quite good at this. They have a success rate of nearly 50%, which means that they have a standard down on nearly half of their plays. This is nearly twice the rate as Wake Forest's offense. For Wake's defense to be successful they need to get stops on 1st and 2nd down to force State to pass the ball on 3rd down. Jacoby Brissett is a good passer, but he padded his stats during their ridiculously easy non-conference schedule. It's also much easier to pass on standard downs than on passing downs. Brissett has had this luxury due to State's strong rushing attack. If Wake Forest can force State into obvious passing situations, then I believe Kevin Johnson and our secondary can take advantage.

Unfortunately for Wake Forest, I think our complete lack of offensive production will simply be too much to overcome. I think Wake will play hard and cover the ridiculous 17 point spread, but will ultimately come up short.

Wake Forest 17

North Carolina State 20

Am I wrong? Let me know.