In Cincinnati's 28-14 season-opening loss at Fresno State on Sept. 4, the Bearcats' defense gave up four long TD passes by Bulldogs quarterback Ryan Colburn. Meanwhile, Cincy QB Zach Collaros got sacked eight times. If State's defense is for real and Russell Wilson was simply flat last week, the Wolfpack should capitalize in both areas. Wolves, 27-21.
Special teams favor Cats
Untimely special-teams errors cost N.C. State against Central Florida, as the Wolfpack gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown and saw Jeff Ruiz boot a 14-yard punt in a critical situation in the fourth quarter. On the other side, the Bearcats' Pat O'Donnell has downed six of his 12 punts inside the 20-yard line, and Jacob Rogers has five touchbacks in 10 kickoffs.
Why was Butch Jones a logical coach for Cincinnati to hire after Brian Kelly left for Notre Dame? Jones followed Kelly at Central Michigan and led that team to two Mid-American Conference titles and three straight bowl games. The Bearcats are hoping he will have similar success at Cincinnati.
QB seeks improvement
Coach Tom O'Brien has said repeatedly that N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson still has a lot of improving to do after spending the spring and summer playing baseball. Wilson's numbers against Central Florida (10-for-30, 105 yards) confirm that assertion. N.C. State can't afford to have Wilson fail to complete two-thirds of his passes tonight.
Player to watch
JR., QB, 6-0, 216
The first-year starter's running ability concerns the N.C. State staff as much as his passing ability. On Saturday, speedy freshman backup quarterback Jeff Godfrey eluded the Wolfpack pass rush to lead Central Florida to two touchdowns, and the Wolfpack hopes Collaros won't be able to do the same thing.
Collaros isn't a bad passer, either. He has completed 60.2 percent of his passes for three touchdowns, with no interceptions.
By the numbers
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