This is not meant as a knock on N.C. State, a short-handed team that is much better at avoid stupid mistakes two years into the Tom O’Brien era than it ever was under Chuck Amato.
But the Wolfpack are a statistical disaster.
They are good at kickoff returns and net punting, and possess a positive turnover margin.
And that’s about it for the positives.
The NCAA has rankings for 17 categories for its 120 major-college programs. N.C. State is 80th or worse in 11 of them —- including every offensive measurement except sacks allowed.
This, of course, makes them an ideal team to take down Maryland tomorrow in the muck at Byrd Stadium.
Here’s the rundown:
* Maryland run offense vs. N.C. State rush defense. The Terps rank 51th nationally with 161.6 yards a game. The Wolfpack ranks 85th nationally while yielding 165.4 yards a game.
That’s a pretty narrow range. Maryland ran the ball better last week against Wake Forest, and the decision to start Bruce Campbell at left tackle helps the Terps’ athleticism. With lousy weather expected, Maryland might need to surpass its season average to succeed against the Wolfpack.
* Maryland pass offense vs. N.C. State pass defense. The Terps rank 65th nationally with 210.4 yards a game. The Wolfpack ranks 105th nationally while yielding 259.3 yards a game.
This is where the crummy weather really hinders Maryland. Chris Turner, fresh of shredding Wake Forest, could have been in line for another huge day. Maybe he still is. But Mother Nature might have other ideas, much to the benefit of the Wolfpack.
* N.C. State run offense vs. Maryland rush defense. The Wolfpack rank 114th nationally with 91.0 yards a game. The Terps rank 58th nationally while yielding 134.7 yards a game.
Somehow, Maryland gets to meet a worse rushing team than a week ago. The Wolfpack faces serious issues with its offensive line, and neither Andre Brown nor Jamelle Eugene have ripped off a run longer than 18 yards this season. However, State is coming off a season-high 157 yards rushing against Florida State, so perhaps this isn’t as lopsided as it appears.
* N.C. State pass offense vs. Maryland pass defense. The Wolfpack rank 80th nationally with 193.4 yards a game. The Terps rank 91st nationally while yielding 234.3 yards a game.
Another passing edge nullified by bad weather. A shootout between Turner and State quarterback Russell Wilson would have been fun. That’s plenty of incentive to hope for calm winds. But from the looks of things, the elusive Wilson could do just as much damage on the run tomorrow as he might through the air.
—- Patrick Stevens