Friday Night Lights: North Carolina State Invades Blacksburg

Oct 9, 2015

Clemson at NC State Thursday September 19, 2013(photo by Jack Tarr 2013)

Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer has taken the Hokies to 22 consecutive bowls, but that streak could be in jeopardy following losses to both East Carolina and Pittsburgh. The Hokies’ offense has been fairly decent this season, averaging 5.4 yards per play and 12.1 yards per point against teams that would combine to allow 5.0 yards per play to mediocre offensive squads.

The problem has been a disappointing defense under coordinator Bud Foster that is giving up 24.2 points per game and 355 total yards at 5.7 yards per play to teams that would combine to average just 5.5 yards per play.

The Hokies are also 1-2 SU and ATS at home this season where they are allowing 367 total yards at 6.0 yards per play. Foster’s defense will be tested tonight by a very good North Carolina State attack that is averaging 39.6 points per game and 428 yards at 5.8 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 5.3 yards per play.

The Wolfpack are also 2-0 SU and ATS on the road where they are averaging 50.5 points per game and 510 total yards at 6.9 yards per play and 10.1 yards per point. Overall, North Carolina State’s offense is 0.5 yards per rush attempt, 0.7 yards per pass attempt and 0.5 yards per play better than average, which is potent enough to move the ball in Blacksburg tonight.

North Carolina State Offense vs. Virginia Tech Defense:

  • +1.1 yards per rush attempt advantage
  • +0.8 yards per pass attempt advantage
  • +0.7 yards per play advantage overall

The Wolfpack will enjoy success on the ground against an underperforming Virginia Tech front seven that is giving up 198 rushing yards per game at 5.0 yards per carry. What North Carolina State does not get credit for is its outstanding defense that is limiting opponents to a mere 13.6 points per game and 226 total yards at 4.2 yards per play.

Overall, the Wolfpacks’ stop unit has been 1.1 yards per rush attempt, 0.4 yards per pass attempt and 0.7 yards per play better than average in 2015. Virginia Tech is averaging just 4.8 yards per play over its last three games, and the Hokies’ ground game as been non-existent over than span (3.1 yards per rush play).

From a technical standpoint, North Carolina State is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games and 3-1 ATS in its last four road games as an underdog, whereas the Hokies are 3-7 ATS in their last ten home games, 3-8 ATS in their last eleven conference affairs and 1-4 in their last five October games. Let’s also note that Virginia Tech is 7-15 ATS as a home favorite, while coach Beamer is 1-5 ATS at home following a home loss.

Conversely, Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren is 13-8 SU and ATS on the road in his coaching career, including a perfect 5-0 ATS during his tenure in Raleigh. My math model suggests that the wrong team is favored – take the points with the Wolfpack.