Virginia Tech-N.C. State: Hokies Will Struggle in Raleigh

Justin CocchiolaCorrespondent IOctober 1, 2010

RALEIGH, NC - SEPTEMBER 16:  Derek Wolfe #95 of the Cincinnati Bearcats tries to chase down Russell Wilson #16 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack during their game at Carter-Finley Stadium on September 16, 2010 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Coming into the season these two teams weren't even comparable to each other, on paper that is, and now that Week 5 of the college football season is here the Hokies are the ones with their backs against the ropes.

The season hasn't gone the way Virginia Tech fans had hoped, but they can still salvage an ACC title.  That title chance may be running through Raleigh, North Carolina this year where the Wolfpack of N.C. State have made a statement so far in 2010 going 4-0.

Russell Wilson has dominated and already has over 1,100 yards passing with an 11-1 touchdown to interception ratio.  He's allowed N.C. State to rank both in the top 20 in passing yards per game and points scored.

As long as Wilson stays healthy, N.C. State has a chance to win every game they play.  He's not only the best quarterback in the ACC, but maybe one of the best in the country.  He's at least one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country.

The Wolfpack has a balanced rushing attack with Mustafa Greene and Dean Hayes, and they should give the Hokie defense a few problems, mainly because Tech's defense has had a hard time tackling.

To go along with their defensive woes, there have been a number of blown coverages against opposing offenses this year, including last week against Boston College.  Even though Boston College didn't score they had multiple opportunities to put points on the board, but failed because they have a below average offense.

That's not the case with N.C. State and the Hokies defense is going to have to play their best game of the year in order to win on Saturday.  It's a tough task for Bud Foster, but it's not like he hasn't answered in situations like this in the past.

Offensively, the Hokies have to get consistent play from their offensive line.  These guys have had a horrible start to their year and they've been pushed around like a high school J.V. squad against smaller, slower defenses.

If the Hokies want to have any success running the ball the offensive line is going to have to earn their scholarships this week and learn how to block against the run.  That being said, if they fail to do this again then Virginia Tech's passing game will be affected, especially with plays down the field.

Tyrod Taylor has been good this year, but the offensive line has prohibited him from being great.  Taylor is going to have to play a mistake-free game, and without Ryan Williams in the backfield for a second straight week Taylor has even more pressure on him to play better.

David Wilson will likely be the Hokies' best option out of the backfield.  That doesn't mean he's going to start, but Wilson is a lot quicker than Darren Evans, and when you have a struggling offensive line, speed becomes a huge asset.

N.C. State is allowing just under 19 points per game on defense this season and the Hokies are allowing about 20.  The Hokies are also averaging 180 yards on the ground per game, and will need to rush for a few more to increase their chances of winning.

Defense is the biggest key for both teams.  Both have given up some big plays this year, but whichever defense makes the fewest mistakes puts their team in the best situation to win (it's almost like rocket science). That being said, expect there to be a few fireworks in this one. 

There should be a lot of points scored, and the first team to 40 is going to win.  That's hard to say when you have Virginia Tech's defense on the field, but it's not a typical year for the Hokies.

Virginia Tech has too many question marks heading into this game, and they're just not playing consistently enough on either side of the ball to win.  Russell Wilson is going to overpower the Hokies defense, and he's going to lead the Wolfpack to victory.

Expect it to be an up-and-down game, with each team going on a scoring run, but look for the Wolfpack to pull away in the fourth quarter.

N.C. State 42, Virginia Tech 31