Wake Forest takes on #22 NC State in Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh on Thursday night, a place where the Deacs haven't won since the 2006 ACC Championship season.
The Deacs are 4-5 and things aren't looking good for the Deacs after losing quarterback Sam Hartman for the season against Syracuse on Saturday. The Wolfpack are 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the ACC, meaning they are headed for another bowl game.
The offense is led by senior quarterback Ryan Finley, who was a preseason outside candidate for the Heisman Trophy and was named to the preseason All-ACC team. He is 198-292 for a 67.8 completion percentage on the year. Finley has thrown for 2490 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions on 8.53 yards per attempt on the season. He has a QB rating of 153.4 on the season (by comparison, Sam Hartman’s is 125.2). Finley plays the entire game pretty much every game, as backup quarterback freshman Matthew McKay has one pass attempt on the year, a completion for 37 last week against Florida State.
The run game is led by senior running back Reggie Gallaspy, who has 138 carries for 554 yards and 9 rushing touchdowns on the year. He averages 4 yards per carry. The second leading rusher is freshman running back Ricky Person, who has 66 rushing attempts for 301 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns on the year. He averages 4.6 yards per carry. Senior running back Brady Bodine is also a factor, as he has 22 carries for 116 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. He averages 5.3 yards per carry. Freshman Trent Pennix has 22 attempts for 68 yards.
Finley isn't much of a dual threat, as he has 21 rushing attempts for 33 yards and averages 1.6 yards per attempt. McKay has the only other rushing touchdown on the year, but averages negative yards on his 2 rushing attempts.
The receiving corps is led by senior Kelvin Harmon, who was named to the preseason All-ACC team. He has 50 receptions for 831 yards and 5 touchdowns, and averages 16.6 yards per reception. Junior Jakobi Meyers is the second leading receiver with 52 catches for 541 yards and 2 touchdowns, and averages 10.4 yards per catch. Sophomore Emeka Emezie, who Wake fans will remember fumbled at the goal line last year and caused an outrage among State fans over Wake not having a goal line camera for that game that is still ongoing, has 28 receptions for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns, and averages 12.9 yards per reception. Freshman Thayer Thomas has 23 catches for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns and averages 11.6 yards per catch. Sophomore C.J. Riley has 15 catches for 202 yards and a touchdown, and averages 13.5 yards per catch. Cary Angeline, Person, and Pennix also have touchdown receptions.
The Wolfpack appear to have finally found an answer to their kicking woes of recent years in freshman Christopher Dunn from North Davidson High School and Lexington, North Carolina. He has made all 30 of his extra point attempts on the year, and is 14-17 on field goals with a long from 44 yards.
NC State defeated James Madison 24-13, Georgia State 41-7, Marshall 37-20, Virginia 35-21, and Boston College 28-23 for a 5-0 after their game with West Virginia was cancelled due to Hurricane Florence. They then lost two straight games, getting blown out at #2 Clemson 41-7 and falling at Syracuse 51-41 before defeating Florida State 47-28 last weekend.
North Carolina State averages 32.5 points per game, 457.3 yards of total offense per game, 322.9 passing yards per game, 134.4 rushing yards per game, 3.8 touchdowns per game, 2 passing touchdowns per game, 1.8 rushing touchdowns per game, 37.3 rush attempts per game, 36.9 pass attempts per game, 25 completions per game, 3.6 rushing yards per play, 8.8 passing yards per play, 6.2 yards per play, 24.3 first downs per game, 13.9 passing first downs per game, 7.8 rushing first downs per game, 5.3 offensive penalties per game, 50.8 offensive penalty yards per game, 0.6 fumbles per game, 0.8 interceptions per game, and 1.4 turnovers per game.
The Wolfpack’s offense will look to have a field day against the Deacons’ defense, which hasn't been able to stop much of anyone all season.