The most important storyline of the NC State game is can the offensive line continue being successful. In 3 games Stull has rarely had to deal with sustained pressure. The new offensive line has acquitted themselves very well to the level of players they have had to deal with. NC State will not be undersized and they will not be much inferior athletes. Can the offensive line hold up and continue to keep Stull off his back? Also can the offensive line create holes for Dion Lewis? In a game like this the offense is going to rely heavily on the run game to move the ball. Cignetti likes to manage the situations where he calls on Stull to make a play and having a running game to get us 4 yards or more each snap is essential.
Can the secondary hold up to a team that spreads them out and passes? Buffalo was a big wakeup call for what the weakness of the defense is. Secondary play has been a problem, at points, in every game so far. Is DeCicco going to be able to make the tackles when a wide receiver gets open? Can Chappel play well enough to keep the guy he is covering out of the endzone? More importantly, is the defensive line going to get enough pressure to make throwing the ball difficult? Lining up in the base 4-3 all game didn't work against Buffalo because of how difficult it is for linebackers to cover wide receivers. NC State will definitely gameplan for the speed of our ends so Sheard and Romeus need to have better games than they did at Buffalo. Sacks and disrupting the QB is priority 1 on defense.
My other concern about this game is will the coaching staff play aggressive and loose enough to win the game. Being 3-0 is a situation Wannstedt hasn't been in at Pitt. Will the ultra conservative gameplan be brought out this week due to the nature of how we won the first 3 of the season. Going into the shell and shutting it down in the 3rd quarter might not be a good idea this week.
Back tomorrow for some picks.