NC State vs. Texas Tech: Final thoughts and prediction
Fresh off a blowout win against Charleston Southern, NC State will play host once again this week as Texas Tech heads into Carter-Finley Stadium.
It’ll be a prime-time game, as NC State will be looking to get a big Power 5 win with ACC play now just a few weeks away. Texas Tech is coming off a thrilling double-overtime victory over a ranked Houston team, which has earned the Red Raiders some votes in the most recent Associated Press poll.
Here’s what to expect under the lights at Carter-Finley come Saturday:
The Red Raiders
Texas Tech is off to a 2-0 start, and the Red Raiders are receiving votes in the AP poll after a thrilling double-overtime victory over Houston.
Tech started the season off as expected, beating Murray State 63-10. But then at home against a then-No. 25 Houston team, the Red Raiders pulled off a slight upset with a 33-30 win against the Cougars.
With a first-year head coach in Joey McGuire, it has been a good start despite some injuries for Texas Tech. Starting quarterback Tyler Shough left the Murray State game with injury, but Donovan Smith has been decent in his stead. Smith, who played a lot at the end of last season, rushed in the winning touchdown against Houston.
Running back Tahj Brooks is off to a really hot start with 4 touchdowns already to his name. The Red Raiders also have 4 players already over 100 receiving yards.
Defensively, the Red Raiders have been stout in stopping the run. Texas Tech ranks 12th nationally in rushing defense, with only 68.50 yards allowed per game. The passing defense hasn’t been bad, either, as Houston’s high-flying attack managed just 266 yards through the air.
Texas Tech isn’t the toughest challenge in the world for the Pack, but the Red Raiders are proving early that they might be better than people thought they would be.
Dave Doeren referred to NC State’s 55-3 win against Charleston Southern as a “low-stress day,” and that’s exactly what it was.
After a tough Week 1, the Wolfpack did pretty much everything right against the Buccaneers. Devin Leary was fantastic. Demie Sumo-Karngbaye showed out again. A ton of receivers got involved. And the Pack’s defense allowed just 3 points, which came thanks to a short field after the Pack’s lone turnover of the day.
In terms of how a Football Championship Subdivision game can go, NC State got everything out of Saturday’s win that it needed to. It addressed some issues, got depth players in and didn’t suffer any injuries.
Considering the geographic and conference separation between the two, NC State and Texas Tech actually have a fairly robust history.
The teams have played each other 5 times, with NC State holding a 4-1 advantage in the series. The last game came in 2003 in Raleigh, a 49-21 win for a Philip Rivers-led Wolfpack. The Pack won in overtime in Lubbock the year before, and it also took both games of a back-to-back in 1992 and ‘93.
Texas Tech won the first meeting in Lubbock in 1952. The Pack and Red Raiders will complete this scheduled series in Texas in 2027.
NC State is searching for its first nonconference Power 5 win in the regular season under Doeren, and it will have the benefit of doing it under the lights at Carter-Finley Stadium.
It’ll be a rowdy environment in Raleigh, as the highly touted Wolfpack will look to handle its business against the somewhat surprising Red Raiders.
The line for this game opened about NC State -9 but has shifted to a double-digit Wolfpack edge, as the Pack now is sitting at -10.5 at most books. It should be a good battle and good test for NC State, but one the Pack ultimately wins at home.