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NC State game predictions: Week 4 vs. UConn

Ethan McDowell09/22/22
Article written by:On3 imageEthan McDowell


NC State v Miami
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 23: Head Coach Dave Doeren of the North Carolina State Wolfpack stands with the team during the National Anthem prior to the game against the Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

NC State‘s preseason hype took a brief hit after its one-point win over East Carolina, but, as the start to the college football season showed, all that mattered was leaving Greenville with a win. The Wolfpack took care of business in each of its three games — a trio of unique challenges that have helped the program build momentum as the nation’s No. 11-ranked team.

This Saturday, the Wolfpack will play under the lights for the second consecutive week after defeating Texas Tech by two scores in Week 3. UConn travels to Raleigh in the midst of one of the deepest rebuilds in the country, one week after a 59-0 loss to Michigan.

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Here are The Wolfpacker’s predictions for this Saturday’s matchup against UConn:

Matt Carter’s prediction for NC State vs. UConn

Not many NC State football fans probably remember much about the first time the Wolfpack and Connecticut played each other back in 2003 in Carter-Finley Stadium. 

In that game, future NFL quarterbacks Philip Rivers and Dan Orlovsky squared off, with the Pack jumping out to a 24-10 lead going into the fourth quarter. Orlovsky then led a UConn rally that tied the game, and the Huskies had a chance for the upset late.

Instead, former NC State linebacker Freddie Aughtry-Lindsay, now a nickels coach for the Pack, picked off Orlovsky at the Wolfpack 44-yard line and returned it for a pick-six with just 5 seconds left. NC State won 31-24 in a game that was not televised.

However, there is video evidence of the play:

Few people could watch the 2012 meeting in Connecticut, either. It was broadcast on SNY-Big East Network, and those who couldn’t view the game did not miss much. Persistent wind limited the teams to a combined 497 total yards during a 10-7 NC State win.

The goal for the NC State offense is to top that yardage mark Saturday and win by a significantly more comfortable margin than either of those two earlier contests in a game that should be a bit more accessible since RSN will televise the 7:30 p.m. contest.

Those Connecticut teams were respectable. Orlovsky’s squad was 4-2 when they traveled to Raleigh and would not lose a game the rest of the year on the way to a 9-3 record. The Pack was just a 4.5-point favorite in Connecticut in 2012. That Huskies team would beat Maryland, then still in the ACC, on the road a week later.

This Connecticut roster would be happy to match the most wins in a season since 2015 for the program — 3. 

The prediction is NC State wins big.

Prediction: NC State 45, Connecticut 7

Previous Predictions: 

Week 1NC State 34, East Carolina 17 (actual: NC State 21, East Carolina 20)

Week 2NC State 48, Charleston Southern 7 (actual: NC State 55, Charleston Southern 3)

Week 3: NC State 30, Texas Tech 17 (actual: NC State 27, Texas Tech 14)

National Coatings

Ethan McDowell’s prediction

The outcome of this game should never be in doubt. The Wolfpack is significantly more talented than the Huskies, and the home field winning streak at Carter-Finley Stadium will more than likely extend to 13 after Saturday night’s showdown.

While the program is entirely focused on the game against UConn, the Pack’s matchup with Clemson looms around the corner. The defense looks ready. It’s an experienced and talented group that executed extremely well against Texas Tech. It should be able to completely shut down the Huskies and continue to build momentum going into the program’s first ACC test.

The main thing I will be watching for this Saturday is the production from the Wolfpack’s outside receivers. Devin Carter did not record a target against Texas Tech. For someone with his experience and skill level, that should not happen.

I hope to see Darryl Jones, Keyon Lesane and Carter more involved in the offense Saturday. It will be difficult to defeat the ACC’s best programs if the passing offense is mostly limited to the slot and running backs. The Pack has talent at the position, and Devin Leary is more than capable of getting the ball to them, but they just need to continue building chemistry to unlock the true potential of this offense.

Overall, this game is pretty straightforward. The Wolfpack should win by quite a lot. Stay healthy, build upon the momentum that has the Pack nearing a top-10 ranking and leave Carter-Finley Stadium with a dominant win.

Prediction: The Wolfpack 52, Connecticut 6

Previous Predictions: 

Week 1NC State 38, East Carolina 10 (actual: NC State 21, East Carolina 20)

Week 2NC State 52, Charleston Southern 6 (actual: NC State 55, Charleston Southern 3)

Week 3: NC State 35, Texas Tech 20 (actual: NC State 27, Texas Tech 14)