Louisville is coming off of their best defensive performance of the year with hopes to have a similar performance against NC State. The Wolfpack has an offense that has some similarities to Boston College but they have a lot more playmakers and flexibility. Dave Doeren has a veteran Quarterback and a deep Running back room to rely on and his offensive staff does a great job of utilizing their talent.
The offense starts at Quarterback Devin Leary. He is a veteran leader with a strong history of being accurate and safe with the ball. Leary has solid arm strength and really does a good job on intermediate throws. He’s exactly what this offense needs as they don’t have a lot of speed and they like to control the clock with the running game when they can. Leary is the “game manager” type but he can win games for his team with his consistent play.
The Pack has a really strong running game with Bam Knight and Ricky Person combining for a two-headed monster. Knight has a career 5.6 yard per carry average for his career and he can take any carry to the house. Person is a bigger back at 222 pounds but the Pack uses him in the passing game and he can make guys miss if he gets in the open field. Louisville will have to slow these guys down on Saturday to have a chance at containing the offense.
Louisville has faced some great groups of Receivers this year and the Wolfpack has a strong group as well. While they are not as explosive as some of the other groups, they do have experience and reliability. Emeka Emezie is the top pass catcher in NC State history and he is the go-to guy for Leary. He hasn’t been as consistent this year but he had a good game last week getting open on the outside.
Thayer Thomas and Devin Carter are the other key targets for Leary. Thomas is a reliable slot guy who has a few games in his career where he has gone off. Carter is the most dangerous player on the offense, in my opinion. He has great size and can get behind the defense. When he does he can make acrobatic catches that just kill a defense. State doesn’t push the big passing plays like some of the other teams on Louisville’s schedule so I think we will see Bryan Brown trust his secondary to cover these guys. We’ll have to wait to see if it pays off.
The best Offensive Line Louisville will see this year will be this weekend. Ikem Ekwonu is arguably the best Left Tackle in the country while Grant Gipson will likely be up for the Rimington Trophy for the best Center in the country. This group clears holes for the run game and they keep their Quarterback upright. What will be interesting to see is if they pick up UofL’s pressures better than Boston College did. BC has an impressive line as well and they struggled with everything Bryan Brown threw at them. He has to hope for the same success this week.