NC State vs. UConn: Final thoughts and prediction
The last time NC State and UConn played a football game in Raleigh, Wolfpack linebacker Freddie Aughtry-Lindsay had 2 defensive touchdowns during a thrilling 31-24 victory for NC State.
The Huskies were good, finishing that year with 9 wins. But Aughtry-Lindsay stole the show, sealing the victory with a pick 6 against Dan Orlovsky as UConn was driving for a potential winning field-goal attempt.
Things are a lot different now than they were that day in 2003, though. Aughtry-Lindsay is on NC State’s coaching staff, where he leads a super-talented group of nickels. Orlovsky is on ESPN. The Pack is 3-0, looking to be 4-0 heading into ACC play. The Huskies are arguably the worst team in the country.
For NC State, which did a lot of things right in a 27-14 victory over Texas Tech this past weekend, Saturday night’s meeting at Carter-Finley Stadium presents a great tune-up opportunity ahead of a trip to Clemson.
Here’s what to expect:
One quarter into a Week 0 game against Utah State, UConn was leading 14-0. And for a fleeting moment, it seemed like just maybe the Huskies wouldn’t be the total bottom of the Football Bowl Subdivision barrel again in 2022.
But then Utah State rattled off 24 points during the second quarter and won the game 31-20, and it was apparent that UConn still is UConn even with a new coaching staff. Since that 14-0 lead, the Huskies have been outscored 138-20 by FBS opponents. They just lost to Michigan 59-0 as the Huskies mustered a whopping 110 yards of offense.
The Huskies are bad. There’s really no other way of putting it. They’re scoring 15.5 points per game and allowing 35.2. They’re averaging 280.5 yards of offense and allowing 428.5.
Penn State transfer Ta’Quan Roberson was supposed to be the guy at quarterback, but he got hurt in the season opener. Freshman Zion Turner is starting instead, and while he has a strong skill set he doesn’t exactly have help. Defensively, the Huskies have some experience, but that’s about it.
Jim Mora has a history of some success, both at the college and NFL level, and maybe he’s the guy to turn the program around. That’s not going to happen in a year, though, as UConn is going to struggle to win an FBS game once again.
It was all about NC State’s defense last weekend in an important win against the Red Raiders. Aydan White had 2 interceptions, and he returned 1 for a touchdown.
Payton Wilson played a full game and looked good. The Pack completely stifled Texas Tech’s running game. And while the offense struggled with consistency, it moved the ball better than it did in the season opener against East Carolina and did enough to win.
Now it’s all about tuning up the little things as the nonconference season comes to a close against UConn. NC State will get to play the Huskies, while Clemson has to travel to Wake Forest for a tough ACC game. It’s some beneficial scheduling for NC State, which likely will play its most important game of the season next week in Death Valley.
UConn isn’t a Football Championship Subdivision opponent, but it might as well be. The Wolfpack outmatches the Huskies across the board, and this really shouldn’t be a contest.
It’ll be somewhat surprising if UConn scores. The line is between -38.5 and -39.5 in favor of the Wolfpack, and there’s no reason to believe this won’t be the rout it’s expected to be.