RALEIGH — N.C. State center Camden Wentz said Monday that he thinks the Wolfpack can score 50 points against any team in the country.
Such talk has to send chills down the spines of many ECU football fans.
But for some other Pirates followers, maybe Wentz's words create a sense of hope entering Saturday's game in Greenville between the longtime rivals.
Those are the ECU folks already working on the assumption that 51 or more points are a must in almost any ECU game.
With a 3-2 overall record, Ruffin McNeill's first Pirates team has been the September/October surprise of Conference USA with a 3-0 league record and a racehorse offensive system.
But in doing so, the team's defense is surrendering points and yardage at such an alarming rate that there could be some comfort in the thought of a team with Russell Wilson passing and a small army of catchers maybe settling for 50 points.
It's for sure that through five wins and what could have been a sixth against Virginia Tech, the Pack offense rates as the most explosive ECU has had to face yet.
Wilson already is closing in on 2,000 passing yards in addition to his 17 touchdown tosses. Add in a potent kick return unit and an above-average rushing attack, and it's easy to understand why Tom O'Brien's team is averaging 37.5 points per game.
ECU's defense can counter with a bucket of gasoline for that sort of firepower.
After Saturday's dramatic 44-43 win at Southern Miss, the Pirates are giving up an even 42 points per game. But that was with Memphis getting only 27 in the second game.
In two games against ACC opponents - State will be the third - ECU has lost 49-27 at Virginia Tech and 42-17 at North Carolina.
Even so, there will be at least 50,000 fans in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Jimi Hendrix will be blaring, the purple smoke will be swirling and the Pirates people on and off the field will be in full-frenzy mode.
In other words, it's State vs. ECU, and given the option O'Brien probably would accept a 7-6 win, stay home and rest his team for an Oct. 28 visit from Florida State that will go far in determining the ACC's Atlantic Division championship.
"I think it's a pretty big deal for them [Pirates] to play us and try to beat us," Wentz said.
Ah, yep, big fella, you might say so.
There's a chance many people in the house Saturday would take those three wins over Southern Miss, Memphis and Tulsa and trade straight up on the spot for any sort of escape - ugly or otherwise - against the Pack.
Wentz, a sophomore, was careful to preface his remarks by pointing out that he's from Marietta, Ga., and got all jacked up earlier this season for a game at Georgia Tech. He has an appreciation for the mental approach that North Carolina high school products on both sides will take into the game.
It'll be a lively afternoon at The Big Fick - whether there are 100 points or zero on either side of the scoreboard at game's end.
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