The Cincinnati Bearcats and North Carolina State Wolfpack is Thursday’s Game of the Night at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina (7:30, The Score). This will be the first meeting between the schools, the two programs are headed in very different directions. NC State starts of the season 2-0 and is poised to make serious run in a wide open ACC. Cincinnati on the other hand, are what we call “in a rebuilding year” and sit at 1-1, looking up at a stacked Big East.
The Wolfpack again have Junior quarterback Russell Wilson leading the way this season. Wilson has started for the Pack since he was a true Freshman, having a huge jump in his Sophomore season throwing for over 3000 yards and 31 TDs. The Colorado Rockies 140th pick in the 2010 draft had a huge first game in a 48-7 win over Western Carolina, He threw for 306 yards completing 67.7% of his passes-along with 4 TDs. In the Packs 28-21 win at Central Florida, Wilson had a lot quieter affair throwing for 105 yards with only 1 TD. In fact, it was the defense that stepped up versus Central Florida, it had three interceptions, including one return for a touchdown. NC State forced five turnovers in that game. Currently The Wolfpack lead the ACC in total defense (248.5 yards per game), and leads the league in turnover margin.
Cincinnati lost coach Brian Kelly (Notre Dame), star quarterback Tony Pike (Carolina Panthers) and receiver Mardy Gilyard (St. Louis Rams), with Butch Jones, Zach Callaros and Armon Binns to replace them. The former Central Michigan head man Butch Jones didn’t fare so well in their first game of the year going across country where Ryan Colburn and Fresno State lit up the Bearcats for 4 TDs in a 28-14 loss. Callaros looked shaky in this first season opener throwing for 219 yards, completing just over 50% of his passes. The Bearcats lost Southern California transfer Vidal Hazelton with a torn ACL after the Senior caught 6 balls for 63 yards versus Fresno State. Cincinnati played Indiana State at home next, where the run game took off when tailback Darrin Williams on 13 attempts ran for 117 yards. The Bearcats handled Indiana St. 40-7.
The Line: North Carolina State -2