NC State's season didn't exactly get started on the best of notes. A loss to a tough foe in Tennessee can be forgiven, but two touchdowns at the expense of All-American cornerback David Amerson and four interceptions from Mike Glennon was not what NC State expected from two of its top players.
Little went wrong for UConn in its opening game of the season, however, after smoking UMass 37-0. The Huskies will hope to carry that momentum into a home matchup against the Wolfpack.
It's an SEC versus Big East clash of, well, not-so-epic proportions. But every game matters, so let's take a closer look at a game that should be more exciting than you might expect.
When: Saturday, September 8 at 12:00 p.m. ET
Where: Rentschler Field, East Hartford, Conn.
Watch: SNY-BIG EAST Network
Listen: Sirius 137, UConn IMG Sports Network
Live Streaming: ESPN3
Betting Line: NC State (-4.5), according to Bet Online
NC State Injuries (via USA TODAY)
DT Brian Slay, Arm, Questionable
WR Bryan Underwood, Knee, Questionable
CB C.J. Wilson, Eligibility, Questionable
LB Michael Peek, Knee, Out (for season)
UConn Injuries (via USA TODAY)
DE Ted Jennings, Knee, Questionable
DT Shamar Stephen, Knee, Questionable
TE Sean McQuillan Ankle, Out (for season)
QB Casey Cochran, Wrist, Out (indefinitely)
What's at Stake
For the 1-0 Huskies, national championship aspirations. I kid, I kid. A 2-0 start before traveling to Maryland and Western Michigan and then beginning Big East play should give the Huskies momentum and confidence.
For NC State, recovering after a tough loss to Tennessee in Week 1 will be the goal. The last thing the Wolfpack needs is an 0-2 start to the season.
What They're Saying
Senior quarterback Mike Glennon didn't have his best showing on Saturday. It was a disappointing start to the season for a player coming off an excellent 2011, especially since the quarterback on the other sideline, Tyler Bray, looked so good.
Sean Bielawski of CBS Sports had his take on the two quarterbacks:
This match-up was a showdown of highly touted, pocket-passing QBs—Tennessee's Tyler Bray and NC State's Mike Glennon. Bray definitely got the better of Glennon, finishing 27 of 41 for 332 yards and two touchdowns. Glennon was 27 of 46 for 287 yards, a touchdown and four interceptions.
A rough start for Glennon, indeed. He'll need to pick up his game against UConn.
NC State Player to Watch: David Amerson, Cornerback
Last year, Amerson had a remarkable 13 interceptions, the most in the nation and an ACC record. Expectations coming into this season were high.
On Saturday, he was twice beaten on long touchdowns by Tennessee receivers. The All-American's performance was incredibly disappointing, and he'll need to play far better against against UConn.
Of course, there's good news for Amerson—UConn's quarterback, Chandler Whitmer, threw two interceptions against UMass. So perhaps Amerson could make amends for a rough first week with a few picks in this contest.
UConn Player to Watch: Lyle McCombs, Running Back
Without question, the Huskies are going to look to the running game against the Wolfpack. That means the main man in UConn's rushing attack, McCombs, will be very busy on Saturday.
Against UMass, he finished with 82 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. A season ago, he was good for 1,151 yards and eight total touchdowns. If he hits the century mark in this game, UConn should be in good shape on the offensive side of the ball.
Key Matchup: NC State's Front Seven Against the UConn Rushing Game
UConn ran the ball 43 times to just 27 passing attempts against UMass, and with Whitmer tossing two interceptions against the Minutemen—and considering Wildcat quarterback Scott McCummings had seven carries in the game—UConn would love to establish the running game in this contest.
Tennessee was able to rush for 191 yards against NC State, so the front seven will be sure to prove they can do better against UConn. Whichever side wins the battle in the trenches when UConn has the ball should win this game.
A tough loss to Tennessee should be plenty of momentum for NC State to turn things around. UConn will struggle to throw the rock and become one-dimensional on offense. Look for NC State to take this one in a tight game, 24-20.
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