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THE COLUMN: Virginia at NC State Complete Preview

Wahoos vs. the Wolfpack

TIME: 12:20 PM (EST)

DATE: September 29th, 2018

LOCATION: Carter-Finley Stadium | Raleigh, NC


The Lowdown

The above was my actual reaction when I heard that VPISU was dropping the ball against an Old Dominion team that was founded in 2009. Dickie V’s follow up tweet was pretty golden too. Shoutout to the Monarchs.

Also, in case you missed it, Bryce Perkins hurdled some people last week as the Cavaliers took care of business against a Louisville team still figuring out life post-Lamar-Jackson. There were many positives that came out of the game but Virginia’s defense stood out in particular. Everyone looked sharp as they flustered the Cardinal offense all day, creating two interceptions and one fumble recovery. On the day, Louisville had only 148 yards in the air and 66 yards on the ground. Unfortunately, the Hoos lose a key piece in their defense this week as Coach Bronco Mendenhall announced that Jordan Mack will miss the next six weeks with an injury.

This week, the Cavaliers face their toughest test on the season so far against NC State. The Wolfpack have a steady quarterback in Ryan Finley who currently has his team fourth in country in passing yards (370.5) and will test Virginia’s secondary all day. NC State is an intriguing team, though, as they’re still a somewhat untested at 3-0. So far, they have beaten a FBS-caliber James Madison team, Georgia State, and Marshall but had to cancel their game with ranked West Virginia due to Hurricane Florence. As 7.5 point underdogs, Virginia will have a lot to prove in a tough away game.

The Statistics

from Danny Neckel

The Good

Category UVA Category NC State
Category UVA Category NC State
3rd Down Offense 9th (55.2%) 3rd Down Defense 81st (39.5%)
Points Allowed 22nd (16.8) Points Scored 52nd (34)
Rushing Defense 27th (113.8) Rushing Defense 117th (107.7)

The Bad

Category UVA Category NC State
Category UVA Category NC State
Points Scored 59th (32.5) Points Allowed 9th (13.3)
3rd Down Defense 56th (36%) 3rd Down Offense 4th (58.5%)
Passing Defense 41st (183.3) Passing Offense 4th (370.7)

Hoo’s Hoo?

Virginia Cavaliers

Dillon Reinkensmeyer, C

Last year, Dillon Reinkensmeyer appeared in all 13 games and started 11 of them . . . as a freshman. He was an integral part of the offensive line helped Kurt Benkert be the first Cavalier to throw over 3,000 yards in a single season. He remains a key piece of the offensive line this year, especially after it was announced that backup center Tyler Fannin was out for the season.

Virginia Cavaliers

Charles Snowden, OLB

Third-year Charles Snowden had perhaps his best game as a Cavalier last week against Louisville. He recorded an interception, a sack, a fumble recovery, and led the team with eight tackles. Despite making his first collegiate start this year against Richmond, Snowden has been a defensive presence in each game and has big upside as a linebacker for the Hoos. Now with Mack out for six weeks, Snowden should have even more chances to shine.

Virginia Cavaliers

Hunter Pearson, K

Last week, Virginia place kicker A.J. Mejia missed a 32 yard field goal which put him at one of four on the season for them. Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall elected to put in freshman Hunter Pearson who then proceeded to make two field goals and three extra points. While Virginia’s defense stifled Louisville all-day, Virginia will undoubtedly have close games that will rely on a steady kicker. Look for Pearson to start again this weekend.

NC State

Ryan Finley, QB

Now a senior, quarterback Ryan Finley has been a stud for the Wolfpack. He has a completion rate of 63% which ranks second in NC State history only to Philip Rivers. Finley has thrown from over 3,000 yards for the last two seasons and is already over 1,000 yards passing for this year (keep in mind that NC State had to cancel a game too). Look for Virginia’s secondary to be tested all day.

NC State

Kelvin Harmon, WR

Junior Kelvin Harmon is the go-to guy for Ryan Finley, echoing the days of the Rivers-Cotchery connection. Last week, Harmon tallied 1017 yards on 69 catches and last week, he lit up Marshall with six catches for 150 yards. Finley does spread the ball around quite a bit to other receivers but seems to favor Harmon. Virginia cornerbacks will need to make sure to contain him.

NC State

Jarius Morehead, S

Last year, NC State had a superstar in Bradley Chubb on their defense. With him (and three other defensive linemen) getting drafted into the NFL, the Wolfpack defense understandably is a little weaker this year. Their secondary is headlined by Jarius Morehead who was their second leading tackler with 80 stops. He also recorded a pick-six last week against Marshall.


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October 30th, 1965 | NC State 14-0 Virginia