The N.C. State Wolfpack will look to pick up their first win this season when they host the Marshall Thundering Herd this week. Kickoff is set for 6:00 EST on Saturday, September 9 at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina. The game can be seen on the ACC Network.
The Wolfpack have been made 24-point favorites in this matchup. That’s up slightly after N.C. State opened as 22-point favorites. The over/under for the game is set at 55 points. Click here for a full list of Week 2 betting odds and links to game previews.
Marshall vs N.C. State Game Preview & Betting Odds
N.C. State began the season with high expectations but suffered a tough-luck loss in the season opener. The Wolfpack more than doubled South Carolina in both total yards and first downs. However, they couldn’t translate that statistical domination into enough points or enough stops on defense to knock off the Gamecocks.
Marshall’s season opener had a much different result. Keion Davis returned the game-opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. He returned another kickoff for a touchdown late in the 2nd quarter. The Thundering Herd also benefited from a 72-yard pick-six from Chris Jackson in the 3rd quarter. With three of their four touchdowns coming on defense and special teams, Marshall was able to hold off Miami (Ohio) for a 31-26 win.
But while the win is good news for Marshall, the Thundering Herd failed to answer many of the questions surrounding their offense. Marshall accumulated just 267 yards and 15 first downs on offense. Those stats are not promising for a team heading into a matchup with a stout N.C. State defense that held South Carolina to similar numbers last week.
Free College Football Against the Spread Pick: Marshall +24
I have little doubt that N.C. State will win this game. But I’m not sure the Wolfpack have the kind of offense that can blow out a team like the Thundering Herd. That’s why I lean more toward Marshall in this matchup.
Even with an experienced offensive line, the Wolfpack weren’t too impressive running the ball last week. To be fair, they faced an SEC defense. But South Carolina’s defensive line isn’t as big and strong as your typical SEC defense. Marshall is solid in the front-7, holding Miami (Ohio) to just 3.1 yards per rush last week. They should keep N.C. State’s running game in check, forcing quarterback Ryan Finley to make plays down the field.
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Finley was forced to throw the ball 64 times last week, 20 more passing attempts than his previous career high. I wouldn’t expect him to throw as many times this week, but more could be asked of him if the Wolfpack can’t get their running game going. If that’s the case, it’ll take Finley out of his comfort zone and prevent N.C. State from imposing its will on Marshall.
On the other side of the field, Marshall quarterback Chase Litton had a solid season opener and brings two years of starting experience to the table. The Thundering Herd struggled to run the ball last week and probably won’t have better luck against a stout N.C. State defensive line. However, the Wolfpack are still inexperienced in the secondary, opening the door for Litton to make some throws downfield and create big plays that could help Marshall keep the game close.
After the Thundering Herd needed two kickoff returns for touchdowns and a pick-six to win last week, there’s little chance they’re able to knock off N.C. State this week. However, N.C. State may not have the offensive firepower to blow out Marshall. Unless the Wolfpack score a couple defensive touchdowns, I don’t see them beating the spread in this game.