Opponent Offensive Breakdown: NC State Wolfpack
After a tough loss last week in Missouri, the Mountaineers will now play host to the NC State Wolfpack. The WVU defense has given up 355 yards per game, while the Wolfpack offense is averaging just above 522 yards per game with a very balanced offensive scheme.
We start by looking at sophomore quarterback Matt McKay. Two games into the season, he is 43/65 with 508 yards but only two touchdowns through the air. McKay isn’t really a dual-threat quarterback either, but he has sneaky speed and will take off if need be. He has only ran the ball six times this year for 35 yards and two touchdowns. McKay has yet to throw an interception or be sacked so far this season.
NC State brings a veteran receiving corps to Morgantown with graduate student Tabari Hines and junior Emeka Emezie. Hines only has seven receptions for 110 yards on the season, but he can make plays in space once he gets the ball. With only nine total touches this year, Hines has 157 and a touchdown. Averaging 17.4 yards per touch, he has the ability to change the game with the ball in his hands.
6’3″ 210-pound Emezie has nine catches for 102 yards and seems to be the favorite target as he has a bigger frame and creates a mismatch for undersized cornerbacks.
Two guys that may cause problems for the Mountaineer defense are a pair of towering tight ends. Both redshirt juniors, 6’7″ 250 pound Cary Angeline and 6’4″ 240 pound Dylan Autenrieth have combined for eight receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown. They mostly provide support with their blocking skills in the run game and even in the passing game, which is a big reason why McKay hasn’t taken a sack this year.
The Wolfpack relies heavily on true freshman running back Zonovan Knight. The former four-star recruit totaled 2,054 yards and 26 touchdowns last year in high school. He has already racked up 161 rushing yards on just 27 carries this season, to go along with three touchdowns. They don’t use Knight much in the pass game, but the 6’0″ 200 pound back has a combination of twitchy speed and strength that makes it hard for defenders to get him to the ground.
With such a strong and balanced offensive attack, the WVU defense will have their hands full. They will have to try to make them one-dimensional and not allow them to hit their average of 250 rushing yards per game. Force McKay to beat you through the air and make them throw the ball while in the redzone, something they haven’t done much of this season.