We’ll see two of the top quarterbacks in college football go after each other in a critical Week 3 matchup for the North Carolina State Wolfpack. After knocking off FCS James Madison and an overmatched Georgia State club behind Ryan Finley, NC State has a handful in the No. 14 West Virginia Mountaineers and Heisman hopeful Will Grier. That is if the game is actually played. With Hurricane Florence forming in the Atlantic and with a path headed directly for the Carolinas, this matchup could be impacted in a number of ways.
This contest in Week 3 will go down Saturday, September 15, 2018, at 3:30 p.m. ET at Carter-Finley Stadium.
College Football Odds at BookMaker.eu
West Virginia Mountaineers -3.5
North Carolina State Wolfpack +3.5
Over/Under (Check Back Later)
This line definitely has the potential to spike before kickoff with West Virginia getting over 90 percent of the action as a 3.5-point favorite. The potential for nasty weather could play havoc with the over/under and if that number comes in low I’d jump all over it.
Matchup to Watch
Under ideal conditions this figures to be a shootout with two of the top QBs in college football taking the field. Grier has been touted as a Heisman Trophy candidate and he hasn’t disappointed in leading West Virginia to a pair of victories while scoring a combined 92 points in wins over Tennessee and Youngstown State. Grier tossed five touchdowns passes in a 40-14 romp over the Vols in the opener, amassing 429 yards through the air. He was equally deadly against Youngstown State, throwing four more scoring passes in a 52-17 win over the Penguins.
Finley put his own highlight package together in a win over Georgia State on Saturday, hitting 31 of 38 for 370 yards and a pair of touchdowns. While the points haven’t come in bunches like WVU, the Pack has ridden the arm of Finley and a deep group of receivers to an undefeated start. Finley has thrown for 679 yards and four scores in the first two outings. With field conditions likely impacted by the weather, the quarterback to best navigate the terrain gives his team a chance of coming out on top.
Players to Watch
With so much emphasis on the passing game with two hot shot QBs slinging the ball around, the weather could lead to a more ground-oriented attack. In last week’s win the Mountaineers rotated four backs through the lineup with the quartet combining for 292 yards on 43 carries. Alec Sinkfield opened the scoring with a 9-yard scoring run, but left the game with an injury.
Picking up after Sinkfield and doing most of the damage was freshman Leddie Brown, who totaled 115 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown. Martell Pettaway added 77 yards on 12 attempts and Kennedy McKoy chipped in with 76 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. As a team, WVU compiled 289 yards on the ground and face a NC State group that is looking to replace some key components from a group that ranked 26th against the run last season.
9 – Grier’s run for a Heisman Trophy has gotten off to a great start with nine touchdowns passes and only one interception in his first two games. He ranks second nationally in TDs behind Hawai’i’s Cole McDonald, who has played one more game. Grier is coming off one of the best passing seasons in WVU history in 2017 and elected to return for another season and a run at the Big 12 title.
He’s completing 76.7 percent of his passes and his 380.5 yards per game are fourth-best in the FBS. Gary Jennings has four of the nine TD catches with David Sills hauling in a pair. Grier, the Florida transfer, tossed 34 touchdown passes last season on his way to Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors.
Free ATS Pick
With a major storm system heading toward the Carolinas oddsmakers will take their time putting the total on the board. And while the over/under will be scrutinized, don’t let that fool you. Both teams are built to score points and the other side of the football isn’t nearly as strong.
Grier and Finley will continue to do what they do best and this one is headed for a shootout no matter what Mother Nature brings. The passing numbers may not be as high as normal, but the two leaders certainly know how to run their offense. WVU may be a bit stingier on defense, and the Mountaineers will pull out the victory in a game that exceeds the total.
College Football Odds: West Virginia 31, North Carolina State 24
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