The Deacs have put up some huge offensive stats in back to back road games over the last 2 week, and now they head home to Winston-Salem to take on the 19th ranked NC State Wolfpack (7-3). Now that the Deacs are bowl eligible, the next couple of games will go to decide just what kind of bowl we end up in. A win against State would go a long ways towards helping Wake establish themselves as the 3rd place team in the Atlantic Division. If the Deacs want to get the win, they will need to be mindful of these players to watch:
Offense: Jaylen Samuels | Senior, H-Back | #1
Jaylen Samuels is one of the most versatile players in the ACC; The Pack line him up all over the field on offense in order to get him the ball in space. He’s basically NC State’s Swiss Army Knife. They put him the backfield and hand the ball to him, they put him at tight end and run quick passes or shovel passes to him, they put him out wide and throw quick screens — basically he can go anywhere on the field and do anything. On the year, he’s run the ball 58 times for 284 yards (4.9 avg) and 9 TDs. As a receiver, he leads the team in receptions with 61 for 502 yards and 4 TDs. Combined, he has accounted for 786 total yards and 13 of the Wolfpack’s 37 offensive touchdowns (that’s 35% for those of you who aren’t Will Hunting). Samuels can present a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses because he catches passes like a tight end but runs like a running back. He falls into that small gap where he can be too fast for linebackers and too big for defensive backs. The Deacs will need to make sure they know where he lines up and who is responsible for him on every single play, or he will likely end up having a big day.
Defense: Bradley Chubb | Senior DE | #9
If you’re a fan of college football, you probably know that Bradley Chubb is an absolute nightmare to opposing QBs and O-lines. Coming off a 10 sack, 21 tackle for loss season in 2016, which garnered him 3rd Team All ACC honors, he was ranked by Sports Illustrated as the 14th best player in college football. He has followed that up with another incredible season this year. Through 10 games, Chubb is 4th in the nation in sacks with 10 and 1st in the nation in tackles for loss with 21.5. In his last game against Boston College, Chubb recorded 2.5 sacks, giving him 26 total sacks for his career and making him the all time sack leader at NC State. His play this season has gotten him all the way up to #7 on Mel Kiper’s Big Board for the NFL draft, so he will likely be going in the top 10 next year. With the way Chubb specializes in getting into the backfield and throwing offenses off schedule, the Deacs will need to do everything they can to minimize his impact on the game.