Coming into Thursday, September 22nd at 8:00pm, I believe the Bearcats will be 3-0. With the whole nation watching the ESPN Thursday Night Game, the Wolfpack of North Carolina State will come to Nippert Stadium looking to knock off a rejuvenated Bearcats team.
Last season, the Wolfpack blew out Cincinnati 30-19 in Raleigh while piling up nearly 500 yards of offense. Wolfpack quarterback Russell Wilson accounted for over 350 yards of offense alone as he threw for 333 yards and 3 touchdowns. With the game in hand at 30-7, Cincinnati scored a couple of late TDs to make the game seem reasonable. The Bearcats did not move the ball inside N.C. State’s 30 yard line until the last 6 minutes of the game.
Good news Bearcats’ fans, we are in luck… after compiling 3,288 passing yards to go along with 26 Touchdowns and leading the Wolfpack to a 9-4 record, Russell Wilson decided to transfer to Wisconsin to play his senior season. Stepping in will be Mike Glennon, who has 326 yards passing for his career.
In order for the Bearcats to pull off this upset, they will need to be in the face of Glennon all day and disrupt any confidence that this young quarterback has.
On the defensive side, the Wolfpack have returned half of its starters, and after peppering Collaros all afternoon last year, the Bearcats will need to establish a running game early in order to bring up the talented N.C. State secondary. If Isaiah Pead and the offensive line can get something going, the Bearcats can send home the Wolfpack with a loss.
With a young quarterback at the helm for N.C. State in front of a loud Thursday night crowd at Nippert Stadium, I believe the Bearcats will start out the 2011 season, 4-0.
My prediction – Bearcats 27 – Wolfpack 20