College Football

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Georgia Southern (0-0) at NC State (0-0)



The Sports Network

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

FACTS & STATS: Site: Carter-Finley Stadium (57,583) -- Raleigh, North Carolina. Television: ACC Network, ESPN3.com. Home Record: GSU 0-0, NC State 0-0. Away Record: GSU 0-0, NC State 0-0. Neutral Record: GSU 0-0, NC State 0-0. Conference Record: GSU 0-0, NC State 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: In their first official game as a member of the FBS, the Georgia Southern Eagles will travel to Carter-Finley Stadium to take on the NC State Wolfpack in the 2014 season opener on Saturday afternoon.

Georgia Southern had been one of the most consistent teams in the FCS heading into last season, collecting 31 wins from 2010-12 with three straight trips to the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs, but the program took a slight step backwards in 2013 by finishing 7-4 (4-4 in the Southern Conference). As the Eagles relocated to the FBS' Sun Belt Conference this season (along with Appalachian State), they will say goodbye to Jeff Monken, who is now the head coach at Army, and welcome former Sam Houston State head coach Willie Fritz aboard for the program's next chapter.

NC State's first season under head coach Dave Doeren in 2013 was a major disappointment. After coming out strong with wins in its first two games, the squad faltered down the stretch with losses in nine of its final 10 games to wrap up 3-9 overall and a winless 0-8 in ACC play. It marked the first time the Wolfpack failed to qualify for a bowl game since 2009.

This marks the first-ever meeting between the programs.

The Eagles impressed offensively a season ago by scoring 33.5 ppg, and as a triple-option squad, the majority of their 451.5 ypg came on the ground (360.4 ypg).

Of the seven returning starters, quarterback Kevin Ellison is the most valuable asset back for the offense. While his passing numbers were low (41- of-79, 759 yards, two TDs, three INTs), he orchestrated the option attack well and finished the year with 886 rushing yards and eight scores.

With Jerick McKinnon (1,050 yards, 12 TDs) gone, the team will have to find a new leading rusher in 2014. Irving Huggins (224 yards, four TDs), Tray Butler (251 yards) and Nardo Govan (245 yards, two TDs) will all get an opportunity to run behind a veteran offensive line that returns four starters.

Starting receivers B.J. Johnson and Zach Walker are back, but the two combined for just 19 receptions on the run-first team and are utilized mostly as blockers on the outside.

Georgia Southern's defense was solid, if unspectacular, in the lower rung of college football last season, allowing 23.2 ppg while generating just 13 takeaways, but it'll benefit from returning more than half its starters on that side of the ball.

Edwin Jackson anchors the unit from the middle linebacker position and led the team in tackles a season ago (92), although he is the only starting linebacker returning.

Jonathan Battle (34 tackles, 3.0 TFL) was solid at defensive tackle, but the team had just 11 sacks in 11 games.

Three returning starters occupy the secondary. Safeties Deion Stanley (30 tackles, three INTs) and Matt Dobson (44 tackles, two INTs) were crucial in the turnover battle, and cornerback Tay Hicklin (27 tackles) was solid as well.

NC State had instability at the quarterback position last season and the result was a rather poor offensive season, as it averaged just 22.8 ppg and 403.5 ypg, but with seven returning starters on that side of the ball and a new signal caller better suited for Doeren's system, an improvement is expected in 2014.

Jacoby Brisset transferred from Florida after losing the quarterback competition to Jeff Driskel in 2012 and will regain his eligibility this season. The 6-foot-4 junior impressed in limited reps in his final season with the Gators (23-of-35, 249 yards, TD).

Shadrach Thornton returns after a strong sophomore season in which he rushed for 768 yards and four touchdowns. Those numbers should improve this time around running behind a veteran offensive line that welcomes back four starters.

Bryan Underwood leads a group of inexperienced pass catchers. He played just seven games in 2013 but was second on the team in receptions (32) for 382 yards and a score.

The Wolfpack's defense was often put in compromising positions by their lackluster offense, which resulted in a poor scoring defense (30.2 ypg), but their respectable total defense (399.4 ypg) and the return of seven starters give the unit some hope moving forward.

The strength of the defense comes up front with three of four starters back along the defensive line, anchored by Art Norman (9.0 TFL, 4.5 sacks) and Thomas Teal (10.5 TFL, 3.0 sacks).

Leading the linebacking corps is Brandon Pittman, who racked up 62 tackles and 7.0 TFL. In the secondary, Hakim Jones (61 tackles, two INTs) and Jack Tocho (two INTs) bring valuable experience.

Even though NC State was an ACC bottom feeder last season, it appears poised for at least a little bit of a bounce back campaign in year two under Doeren, and at home against a Georgia Southern squad getting accustomed to life at the highest level, expect the Wolfpack to take care of business.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: NC State 34, Georgia Southern 13

08/29 15:18:38 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
STJ 68
DUKE 77
Final
NCSU 78
ND 81
7:00pm Tonight
NCCU
DELST
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNC
SYR
 
Final
CHI 84
MIA 96
Final
CLE 108
OKC 98
Final
NOP 109
DAL 106
Final
ORL 99
IND 106
Final
PHO 100
LAC 120
Final
ATL 112
MIN 100
Final
TOR 114
DET 110
Final
SAN 101
MIL 95
Final
GSW 114
BOS 111
Final
DEN 115
WAS 117
Final
LAL 87
HOU 99
7:30pm Tonight
BRK
POR
 
7:30pm Tonight
NYK
SAC
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
MIN
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
ORL
 
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
PHI
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
BOS
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
DEN
 
Final
UCONN 66
SFLA 53
Final
GT 62
BC 64
Final
VT 47
UVA 50
Final
OSU 82
IND 70
Final
UCF 46
CIN 56
Final
WICHS 74
DRAK 40
Final
STJ 68
DUKE 77
Final
MAR 73
FAIR 67
 
Final
HART 61
MAINE 70
 
Final
MAN 71
MON 64
 
Final
PRIN 96
ROWAN 48
 
Final
SIENA 55
PETE 69
 
Final
RIU 53
BONA 48
Final
BING 54
USB 61
 
Final
MLOWELL 50
VERM 61
 
Final
BUT 77
SHU 57
Final
SALA 55
YALE 72
 
Final
PITT 68
LOU 80
Final
ILLST 53
NIOWA 54
Final
GTDNS 69
UMBC 55
 
Final
IONA 87
NIAG 64
 
Final
TENST 55
BEL 63
 
Final
NCSU 78
ND 81
Final
VILL 71
CREI 50
Final
MD 68
NW 67
Final
UTAH 77
WASH 56
7:00pm Tonight
AMER
ARMY
 
7:00pm Tonight
OU
CLST
 
7:00pm Tonight
NCCU
DELST
 
7:00pm Tonight
PBY
HIGH
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNC
SYR
 
7:00pm Tonight
DET
WRST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NCAT
COPST
 
7:30pm Tonight
SCST
HAMP
 
7:30pm Tonight
COOK
HOW
 
7:30pm Tonight
NWST
NICST
 
8:00pm Tonight
NO
CARK
 
8:00pm Tonight
CAMP
GWEBB
 
8:00pm Tonight
FAM
MDES
 
8:00pm Tonight
INCWORD
MCNST
 
8:00pm Tonight
SAV
NORST
 
8:00pm Tonight
ABCHRIST
SHSU
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAM
STEPH
 
8:00pm Tonight
SELA
TAMCC
 
8:05pm Tonight
VALPO
UWMIL
 
8:30pm Tonight
ALAAM
ALCOR
 
8:30pm Tonight
ALAST
SOUTH
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARKPB
PVU
 
9:00pm Tonight
ISU
TEX
 
9:00pm Tonight
MVSU
TXSOU
 
Final
TEAMFOLI 12
TEAMTOEWS 17
Final
CARTER 28
IRVIN 32