This could be anyone's game

December 27, 2011 

When N.C. State has the ball

Rushing: The Cards rank 10th in the country against the run, but they haven't exactly faced Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker and Barry Sanders this season. UNC's Gio Bernard broke the 100-yard mark against them, which gives N.C. State's improving ground game hope it can be effective. Edge: Louisville

Passing: Mike Glennon started the season hot and ended it the same way after an early November lull. Eight of Glennon's 28 touchdown passes came during the past two games. Senior T.J. Graham (39 catches, 641 yards) has shown he's more than just a good return man. Edge: N.C. State

When Louisville has the ball

Rushing: Dominique Brown and Victor Anderson are capable backs for the Cardinals, but N.C. State's defense shut down some good backs during November and has been especially good with linebacker Terrell Manning in the lineup. Edge: N.C. State

Passing: Freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is coming off his best passing game (241 yards, three touchdowns). However, Louisville's leading receiver, freshman Michaelee Harris, is expected to miss today's game with a knee injury. The Wolfpack led the NCAA with 24 interceptions, including 11 from cornerback David Amerson. Edge: N.C. State

Special teams

Wil Baumann has been a major upgrade at punter for N.C. State, and Graham remains one of the best returners in the league. However, kicker Niklas Sade has struggled from outside 40 yards (2-for-6). Senior Chris Philpott does the punting and kicking for the Cardinals and has missed only one field-goal attempt since missing two at UNC on Oct. 8. Edge: Louisville

Intangibles

Both teams finished the season strong, with N.C. State winning five of seven and Louisville five of six. The Cardinals start 10 freshmen and are ahead of schedule in coach Charlie Strong's second year, but they will have to overcome a more experienced team to handle the Wolfpack. Edge: N.C. State

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service