>NC State vs. West Virginia
West Virginia ranks second in the FBS in scoring defense at 12.8 points, second in rush defense at 85.1 yards and third in total defense at 251.3 yards. The squad ended the regular season playing some of its best football, allowing four touchdowns over the last four games.
The Mountaineers also have a skilled quarterback in Geno Smith, who was second in the Big East with 2,567 passing yards and 23 touchdowns, both second most in school history behind Marc Bulger’s 3,607 yards and 31 TDs in 1998. Smith threw for a career-best 352 yards in the finale. He has one interception in his last five games. The running game is led by Noel Devine, who has had a rough senior season, rushing for only 886 yards and six touchdowns, far fewer than what was expected after last season’s nearly 1,500 yard and 14 touchdown season.
That defense will look to stop a North Carolina State offense that was second in the ACC with 32.6 points per game. The unit revolves around Russell Wilson, who led the conference with 3,288 passing yards and 26 touchdowns.
Wilson, who finished two points shy of Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor for All-ACC first-team honors, had eight 300-yard passing games and attempted 60 passes in the regular-season finale. The junior is also a dangerous runner, rolling up 394 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground.
Prediction: N.C. State 31, West Virginia 27