East Carolina (@8.0) vs NC State (@1.08)
26-08-2019

Our Prediction:

NC State will win

East Carolina – NC State Match Prediction | 26-08-2019 12:00

Nothing really went well for the Pirates on either side of the ball, as they allowed the Bearcats to rack up over 600 yards of total offense while only managing to accumulate 303 total yards of their own. The lone bright spot offensively was WR Mydreon Vines, who scored a beautiful 71-yard touchdown on his only reception of the game. QB Holton Ahlters certainly didnt have his best game, throwing for 184 yards and a touchdown while also getting picked off once. East Carolina has now lost four out of their last five games after a lopsided 56-6 loss to Cincinnati in Week 13. The ground game was an absolute disaster, as RB Trace Christian was ECUs leading rushing with just 25 yards on six carries. As a whole, East Carolina is currently averaging just 24.5 points per game (98th overall).

The NC State Wolfpack have tried 21 field goals this year and made 18, which is 17th in college football. NC State is 113th in the country in punt returns with 10. They have returned 17 kicks for 352 yards on special teams, which puts them 108th in kick return yardage. Their punters have accumulated 1,714 yards on 41 punts, averaging 42 yards per punt. Their kickers have a field goal percentage of 86%. They've totaled 85 punt return yards and average 8.5 yards per return, which is 67th in D-1. The Wolfpack average 21 yards per kick return and they are 74th in the nation in all-purpose yards with 5,440. That ranks them 59th in the NCAA in punting average. NC State kickers have made 100% of their extra points, going 43 for 43 this season.

That ranked them 101st in the NCAA in punting average. They totaled 104 punt return yards and averaged 7.4 yards per return, which was 83rd in D-1. East Carolina Pirates kickers made 97% of their extra points, going 28 for 29 last season. Their punters accumulated 3,322 yards on 84 punts, averaging 40 yards per punt. East Carolina was 95th in the country in punt returns with 14 last season. They returned 41 kicks for 714 yards on special teams, which put them 40th in kick return yardage. Their kickers had a field goal percentage of 91%. The Pirates averaged 17 yards per kick return and they were 73rd in the nation in all-purpose yards with 5,791. The East Carolina Pirates tried 22 field goals last year and made 19, which was 18th in college football.

The East Carolina Pirates are 110th in Division 1 in points scored with 270. Holton Ahlers has thrown for 1,785 yards this season. On the ground East Carolina has run for 1,525 yards as a team, which ranks 110th in the country. They've run 402 times, averaging 3.8 yards per carry as a rushing unit. He has completed 127 passes on 263 attempts for a completion percentage of 48.3%. As a team they have accumulated a total of 270 1st downs this year, placing them 36th overall as an offensive unit. They have run 944 plays this season for 4,869 yards, which ranks them 21st in the nation in total offense. The Pirates have been penalized on offense 56 times for 527 yards so far this season, which has them 113th in the nation in penalties. He averages 6.8 yards per pass attempt and 7.2 adjusted yards per throw. The Pirates average 5.2 yards per play, which is 104th in college football. His quarterback rating this year is 118.1.

NCAAF Vegas Game Preview & Free Pick: NC State vs East Carolina

Obviously, that means NC State will be looking for different results with the same set of players. On the other side of the ball, there is a little bit of optimism regarding the NC State defense. This unit struggled last season, especially against the pass. However, the Wolfpack were young in spots a year ago and return eight starters. But keep in mind that this same group of players held East Carolina to three points at the end of last year.

He helped turn The Citadel around in two seasons and then led James Madison to an FCS national championship in 2016. In his three seasons at James Madison, Houston was 37-6, so the Pirates will feel like theyre in good hands. Its now up to Mike Houston to turn things around in Greenville. Houston has a big job ahead of him, but he brings a winning pedigree.

ECU is easily as bad, if not worse, than both of those defenses. The Wolfpack have now won back to back games after hitting a bit of a rough patch in late October/early November. The Pirates also may have some difficulty scoring more than 20-24 points themselves in this matchup, as the Wolfpack have certainly been well above average against both the run and the pass this year. They managed to score 52 points against Louisville in Week 12 and 47 against Florida State in Week 10. While they have struggled a bit on offense against quality defensive teams, they certainly have had no problem with teams ranked outside of the top 80 schools nationwide in terms of scoring defense.

The Wolfpack ran for 1,860 yards as a team last year, which ranked 96th in college football. As a team they accumulated a total of 315 1st downs last year, placing them 20th overall as an offensive unit. They ran 980 plays last season for 5,931 yards, which ranked them 9th in Division 1 in total offense. The NC State Wolfpack were penalized on offense 60 times for 581 yards last season, which had them 111th in the country in penalties. NC State averaged 6.1 yards per play, which was 41st in college football. They ran 484 times, averaging 3.8 yards per carry as a rushing unit. They were 31st in the nation in points scored with 439.

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NC State vs East Carolina Game Preview & Betting Odds

Their punters totaled 2,076 yards on 49 punts, averaging 42 yards per punt. The NC State Wolfpack attempted 26 field goals last season and made 23, which was 5th in D-1. Their kickers had a field goal percentage of 89%. They returned 20 kicks for 411 yards on special teams, ranking 108th in kick return yardage. Wolfpack kickers made 100% of their extra points, going 51 for 51 last year. That placed them 48th in Division 1 in punting average. They accumulated 140 punt return yards and averaged 9.3 yards per return, which was 60th in college football. The NC State Wolfpack averaged 21 yards per kick return and they were 38th in the country in all-purpose yards with 6,482. NC State was ranked 93rd in the nation in punt returns with 16 last year.

That ranked them 67th in college football. Opposing offenses completed 267 passes on 454 attempts against the NC State defense last season, placing them 112th and 111th in Division 1. The NC State Wolfpack pass defense also gave up a total of 3,394 yards through the air, which was 114th overall in total pass defense. They surrendered a total of 5,104 yards on D, which was 76th in the country. They were 49th in the nation in points allowed on defense with 324. The NC State Wolfpack rush defense allowed 406 attempts for 1,710 yards last year, putting them in 26th place in D-1 against the run. The Wolfpack were ranked 82nd in yards per play allowed with 5.9. NC State committed 88 penalties for 698 yards on the defensive side of the ball last season.

There are a number of capable replacements waiting to take the spot of the teams departed playmakers. But the cupboard is far from bare at NC State. The only real question is at quarterback, as Matthew McKay and Florida State transfer Bailey Hockman are both expected to play early in the year. Theres also the issue of how bad the Pirates were defensively last year. That may actually give the Wolfpack an edge, as itll force East Carolina to spend time preparing for both quarterbacks. Even if the ECU defense returns seven starters, they lost some of their best playmakers from a year ago, and that was from a team that gave up 37 points per game in 2018.

The East Carolina pass defense also surrendered a total of 3,241 yards in the air, which was 105th overall in total pass defense. That placed them 118th in college football. They gave up a total of 5,278 yards on D, which was 83rd in D-1. Opponent offenses completed 238 throws on 384 attempts against the East Carolina Pirates defense last season, ranking them 72nd and 53rd in the nation. East Carolina was 114th in the country in points surrendered on defense with 448 last year. The Pirates had 95 penalties for 862 yards on defense last year. The Pirates were 100th in yards per play allowed with 6.1. Their rushing defense gave up 475 attempts for 2,038 yards last season, putting them in 62nd place in the country against the run.

East Carolina doesnt have a whole lot of expectations heaped on them this season, so at least initially the coaching staff should have plenty of freedom to experiment if they so desire. Ill take NC State. That said, the Wolfpack should have plenty of stability coming into this one and I see it as a big victory. As for NC State, theyre something of an afterthought in the ACC and will likely be looking up at Clemson, Syracuse and Florida State in the standings while fighting off a plucky Boston College team.