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Louisiana Tech (0-0) at NC State (0-0)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, August 31, 12:30 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Carter-Finley Stadium (57,583) -- Raleigh, North Carolina. Television: ACC Network. Home Record: Lousiana Tech 0-0, NC State 0-0. Away Record: Lousiana Tech 0-0, NC State 0-0. Neutral Record: Lousiana Tech 0-0, NC State 0-0. Conference Record: Lousiana Tech 0-0, NC State 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: A pair of head coaches will make their debut with their new schools as the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs kick off their season on the road at Carter-Finley Stadium against the NC State Wolfpack.

Coach Sonny Dykes left Louisiana Tech to take on the same position at California after leading the Bulldogs to a 9-3 finish in 2012. The Bulldogs were left out of the postseason after declining an invitation to the Independence Bowl and being passed on by the Liberty Bowl, which they had not expected. Louisiana Tech hired former East Carolina and South Florida head coach Skip Holtz to guide the rising program into the Conference USA.

NC State elected to make a coaching change even though it went 7-6 and went to a bowl game for the third straight season. Tom O'Brien was fired before the team suffered its 38-24 loss to Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl and former NIU head coach Dave Doeren was hired shortly after he collected his second consecutive MAC Championship. Doeren compiled a 23-4 record in his two years at NIU and led the mid-major school to a BCS bowl game for the first time in school history.

Louisiana Tech led the FBS in both total offense (577.9 yards per game) and scoring offense (51.5 points per game) in 2012 with Colby Cameron under center. It collected its second straight WAC Championship and Tech set a new single-season program record for total offensive yards with 6,935. The previous record was 6,504 total offensive yards recorded in 1998.

Texas Tech transfer Scotty Young has the potential to be an excellent replacement as he was one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation prior to college. The Bulldogs have to find new leaders at wide receiver also after graduating Quinton Patton and Myles White, who combined for over 2,000 yards in 2012. Senior D.J. Banks (5-9, 185) made 33 catches for 434 yards last season, but other wideouts like Hunter Lee, Andrew Guillot and Paul Turner will need to emerge as playmakers to keep the ball rolling.

The offense has a reliable piece at tailback in sophomore Kenneth Dixon. He was the 35th leading rusher in the FBS as a rookie with 1,194 yards and led the nation with 27 touchdowns, which also established a new WAC record. Dixon gained 6.0 yards per carry despite registering just under 200 attempts.

Only three starters from 2012 are back on the defensive side of the ball for Louisiana Tech, but change in personnel may be a good thing considering the team finished 120th in total defense (526.1 ypg) and 116th in scoring defense (38.5 ppg).

The front line is the most secure point of the defense thanks to Shakell Lucas (6-2, 285), Justin Ellis (6-2, 330) and IK Ememkpali (6-2, 250), who led the team with 7.5 tackles for loss and six sacks a season ago. Junior cornerback Le'Vander Liggins is the only returning starter to the five-man secondary.

NC State also has a big-time passer to replace after Mike Glennon was selected in the third-round of the NFL Draft this past April. Glennon was outstanding as he accounted for 297.5 of the team's 421.2 yards per game (70.6 percent).

Matt Canada has an experienced quarterback in his first year as the team's offensive coordinator with Pete Thomas (6-6, 236) becoming eligible. Thomas sat out 2012, but he was a two-year starter at Colorado State. The pocket passer comes in with 4,269 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.

Thomas will benefit from having a couple of veteran receivers back in the fold in senior Quinton Payton and junior Bryan Underwood. Payton has prototypical size which helped he make 51 grabs for 798 yards and two touchdowns in 2012. Underwood relies more on his speed, which he used on his way to 44 catches, 620 yards and a team-best 10 touchdowns.

Doeren's NIU team surprised the nation last season behind a stellar performance from his duel-threat signal caller. Thomas is not a threat to take off and run, but the Wolfpack have back their top two rushers from a year ago, in sophomore Shadrach Thornton (694 yards, three TDs) and junior Tony Creecy (476 yards, five TDs).

Defensively, NC State was just the eighth best in the ACC in terms of total yards allowed per game (404.7), but placed fourth in points allowed (25.6 ppg) thanks to its aggressive nature. Dave Huxtable took on his second defensive coordinator job in 2012 at Pittsburgh and will begin his third with the Wolfpack this year.

Doeren and Huxtable have to replace six defensive starters, including former first-team All-ACC pick Earl Wolff. The defensive front has some capable pass rushers in Darryl Cato-Bishop (36 tackles, 6.5 sacks) and Art Norman (33 tackles, 5.5 sacks), who should provide constant pressure off the edges.

Thomas didn't post astounding numbers during his first two years at CSU, but he has never had as reliable of an offensive line or as talented receivers as he does now. It is hard to see Louisiana Tech maintaining its potency offensively due to the loss of its key weapons. The Bulldogs are very weak defensively, but have a chance if Thomas plays with confidence and the defense makes some big plays.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: NC State 30, Louisiana Tech 21

08/28 10:41:38 ET

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    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida at Kentucky

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Pac 12: Stanford at Arizona

    Saturday at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: NC State at Clemson

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  • ACC: Duke vs. Wake Forest

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  • Big Ten: Wisconsin at Minnesota

    Thursday at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NBA: Dallas at Portland

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHI 5
CAR 2
Final
SAV 49
NCCU 62
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
LAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
GT
UNC
 
9:00pm Tonight
CLEM
NCSU
 
Final
MIA 7
FIU 2
 
Final
DET 12
FLASO 2
 
1:05pm Today
DET
BAL
 
1:05pm Today
MIA
MIAFLA
 
1:05pm Today
PHI
NYY
 
1:05pm Today
BOS
NEASTERN
 
1:07pm Today
TOR
PIT
 
3:05pm Today
CIN
CLE
 
3:05pm Today
OAK
SFG
 
4:05pm Today
BOS
BOSTONCOLL
 
5:10pm Tonight
ARI
ASU
 
Final
PHI 103
TOR 114
Final
BRK 110
GSW 108
Final
MIA 115
PHO 98
Final
MIN 105
LAC 110
Final
DAL 102
NOP 93
7:00pm Tonight
CLE
BOS
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
LAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYK
SAC
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
HOU
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
UTA
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
WAS
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
MIL
 
Final
TEX 61
BAY 59
Final
SYR 47
UVA 59
Final
SHSU 76
CARK 49
 
Final
NWST 92
SELA 79
 
Final
NCAT 67
COOK 50
 
Final
HOW 61
NORST 59
 
Final
DELST 85
HAMP 75
 
Final
STEPH 83
INCWORD 62
 
Final
MCNST 70
LAM 69
 
Final
NO 79
NICST 89
 
Final
SAV 49
NCCU 62
 
Final
ALAAM 75
TXSOU 77
 
Final
VT 59
BC 66
Final
MVSU 66
GRAM 62
 
Final
ISU 77
OKLA 70
Final
ALAST 65
PVU 67
 
Final
ARKPB 64
JST 62
 
7:00pm Tonight
UMO
AKR
 
7:00pm Tonight
NAVY
ARMY
 
7:00pm Tonight
BST
EMICH
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUT
GEOR
 
7:00pm Tonight
IND
IOWA
 
7:00pm Tonight
FLGC
JVU
 
7:00pm Tonight
USCU
KNST
 
7:00pm Tonight
BGU
KSU
 
7:00pm Tonight
NKENTUCKY
LIP
 
7:00pm Tonight
HC
GHND
 
7:00pm Tonight
RUTG
MD
 
7:00pm Tonight
GT
UNC
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
OHIO
 
7:00pm Tonight
ALA
MISS
 
7:00pm Tonight
DAY
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CMICH
TOL
 
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DET
YOUNG
 
7:30pm Tonight
UNF
STET
 
8:00pm Tonight
ABCHRIST
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NDAK
NEOM
 
8:00pm Tonight
NILL
WMICH
 
8:00pm Tonight
ILLCH
WRST
 
9:00pm Tonight
MIZZ
AUB
 
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UGA
KENT
 
9:00pm Tonight
NW
MICH
 
9:00pm Tonight
CLEM
NCSU
 
9:00pm Tonight
UF
TEXAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
KU
WVU
 
9:15pm Tonight
CREI
VILL
 
Final
NYR 4
NAS 1
Final
CHI 5
CAR 2
Final
SJS 4
MON 0
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
NAS
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
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TAM
BUF
 
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FLA
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MIN
OTT
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
NYI
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
ANA
 
9:30pm Tonight
EDM
LOS
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
SJS