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Know Your Opponent: North Carolina State Wolfpack

Written By: Phil Kowalis ⏐ Writer ⏐ Twitter: @PhilKowalisIT

Photo By Ethan Hyman/The Charlotte Observer


Notre Dame stands at 2-0 on the season after posting convincing victories over Navy 42-3 and Tennessee State 56-3. This week, the Irish hit the road and head to Raleigh, North Carolina for what everyone agrees will be their toughest test to date, as they face Dave Doeren's North Carolina State Wolfpack. The Wolfpack are 1-0 after defeating UConn 24-14 on the road last week.

Let's take a look at what the Irish can expect to see from the Wolfpack on Saturday.


Offense:

Photo by Ethan Hyman/ The Charlotte Observer


The NC State offense is very much still a work in progress as the Wolfpack adjust to new offensive coordinator Robert Anae. The Wolfpack offense will be led by quarterback Brennan Armstrong. Armstrong, who enters the season with 9,034 passing yards and 58 touchdowns, is a duel threat quarterback that will test Notre Dame's defense with both his arm and his legs.

In last week's Wolfpack win over the Huskies Armstrong was a one-man wrecking crew completing 17 of 26 passes for 155 yards and also leading NC State in rushing with 96 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Containing Armstrong and limiting his ability to extend plays with his running ability will be a key for the Irish to come out of the matchup with a victory. Jordan Houston was the Wolfpack's second leading rusher with 57 yards on 13 carries and Michael Allen added 20 yards on eight carries and had the Wolfpack's other touchdown on the evening. North Carolina will look to get the running game going behind an offensive line that returns three starters, right tackle Timothy McKay, left tackle Anthony Belton and center Dylan McMahon.

The Wolfpack's offensive line is one of the better lines in college football and will be quite a challenge for the Notre Dame defensive front. The battle in the trenches will go a long way in determining a winner in Saturday's contest.

North Carolina has an inexperienced group of receivers. Kevin Concepcion led NC State in their win last week with four catches for 36 yards and Keyon Lesane added a pair of catches for 22 yards and Allen grabbed three catches out of the backfield for 27 yards.


Defense:

Photo By Ethan Hyman/The Charlotte Observer


NC State Defensive coordinator and linebacker's coach Tony Gibson is one of the best in the country; last season his 3-3-5 scheme limited opposing offenses to 19.4 points, 100.7 yards rushing and 326.9 total yards per game, numbers that ranked in the top two of the ACC and top 20 in the country. The Wolfpack defense will provide the toughest test Sam Hartman and the Irish offense have faced to this point in the season.

Linebacker Payton Wilson will anchor the Wolfpack defense. In the win over UConn Wilson led the team in tackles with 10, eight of them being solo tackles. Wilson will be joined by fellow linebackers Devon Betty and Jaylon Scott.

NC State's defensive line will be led by defensive end Davin Vann and nose tackle C.J. Clark.

Vann recorded five tackles and a sack against the Huskies.

The Wolfpack secondary will be led by cornerbacks Aydan White and Shyheim Battle, the duo form one of the best units in the ACC. White and Battle each recorded three tackles against the Huskies.


Special Teams:

Brayden Narveson will handle the kicking duties for the Wolfpack - he went 1 for two on field goal attempts in the opener and was perfect on all three of his PAT attempts.

Caden Noonkester handles the punting chores for the Pack - he punted three times for a 45.3-yard average with a long of 47-yards.

Julian Gray will be a threat in the return game for the Wolfpack. Gray averaged 29 yards per return on three kickoff returns with a long of 40 yards.

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