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Three Guarantees For West Virginia vs. NC State

The Mountaineers return home to face NC State this weekend

Champs Sports Bowl - West Virginia v North Carolina State Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Running The Ball Will Be A Slog

N.C. State Wolfpack have switched from a 4-down front that they’ve run for the longest time under Dave Doren to a 3-down front and due to that switch in personnel they brought in former West Virginia Mountaineers defensive coordinator Tony Gibson to aide in the transition. One immediate benefit of the transition has been a run defense that ranks 4th nationally with 49 yards allowed through two games. Opponents are rushing for 1.02 yard per carry and have not scored on the ground against the ‘Pack. The Mountaineers rushing attack, which was expected to be a source of offense the new coaches could lean on, has struggled in all phases, with O-Line block, with wide receiver blocking and with hesistant running backs. The combination has led to a team that ranks 129th (out of 130 teams) in rush offense, averaging 1.14 yards per carry and is the only team that hasn’t broken a 10-yard run this season.

The Secondary Will Be Tested

Despite losing of the best quarterbacks to ever play for their program in Ryan Finley, the Wolfpack have not missed a beat in their passing game. Sophomore Matthew McKay threw for a calm 200 in the season opening win and then efficiently carved up East Carolina for 308 yards. McKay has been good at spreading the ball around as well. Nine (9) different receivers have caught at least two passes. Junior Emeka Emezie leads the team with 9 catches, while senior Tabari Hines leads the team with 110 yards. Hines is also the big play threat for the Wolfpack. He already has a 48-yard catch and has been averaging over 15 yards per catch.

Neal Brown Will Have The Team Ready

Fans and analysts like to talk about a “coachable win”, a game where the team won but made mistakes so the coaches are able to keep the players focused. That sounds good but often winning masks deficiencies. Getting your butt kicked is when most people wake up and realize changes are necessary. Neal Brown has already started the process, switching out Tevin Bush for Winston Wright and giving Briason Mays a chance to start at center. The rest of the team is going to respond. Brown is too good of a coach to let a mediocre status quo go on for too long. He has already recognized that changes are necessary and I fully expect the players to respond to the tougher love they got this week.