If you look at the past numbers, the outcome of Saturday’s game between N.C. State and No. 24 Pittsburgh isn’t up for debate.
Under Dave Doeren, the Wolfpack have not fared well against ranked opponents. N.C. State is 2-17 versus ranked teams since Doeren’s first season in Raleigh (2013).
The two wins both came in the 2017 season, when the roster was stacked with future NFL talent and Doeren led the team to nine wins. That year they went on the road to defeat No. 11 Florida State, 27-21, and beat No. 17 Louisville at home, 39-25, two weeks later.
N.C. State has dropped eight straight games to ranked opponents since 2017. Five of those losses were on the road. One was at a neutral site (Gator Bowl versus Texas A&M in 2018). The Panthers (3-0, 2-0) will be the second straight ranked opponent the Wolfpack (1-1, 1-1) will play on the road. They lost to No. 20 Virginia Tech Saturday night, 45-24.
Doeren knows the Wolfpack has its work cut out this Saturday.
“They are a very experienced team,” Doeren said. “They play complimentary football.”
How to watch on TV: NC State vs Pitt
Saturday’s game will be broadcast on the ACC Network at Noon.
College football betting odds: Pitt favored
As of Thursday evening, Pittsburgh was a 14-point favorite. The over under was 47.5.
Fast facts: Might Devin Leary start at QB?
NC State is not saying, but Devin Leary could start at quarterback. He was 12 of 16 for 165 yards against Virginia Tech, in relief of Bailey Hockman who was 7 of 16 for 82 yards against the Hokies.
The Wolfpack and Panthers have met just 10 times before. N.C. State won the last meeting, 35-17, in Pittsburgh.
The red zone has been kind to the Wolfpack. N.C. State is a perfect 9-for-9 in the red zone this season, one of just 23 schools in the nation that has scored each trip to the red zone in 2020.
Pittsburgh shares a home field with the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL. This will be the sixth time under Dave Doeren the Wolfpack will play in an NFL stadium. The team is 2-3 in the previous five games. One of those wins was at Pittsburgh.
Senior wide receiver C.J. Riley caught his first touchdown since 2018 last weekend against Virginia Tech. Riley missed most of 2019 after tearing his ACL. He caught a touchdown pass from Devin Leary in the second half against the Hokies.
Tight end Cary Angeline is the only Wolfpack player from the state of Pennsylvania. He went to high school in Chester Springs, Pa., a four-hour trip from Pittsburgh.
N.C. State is ranked No. 12 in the nation in sacks.