Payton Wilson

Redshirt freshman linebacker Payton Wilson celebrates after getting a tackle against ECU on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019 in Carter-Finley Stadium. The Pack beat the Pirates 34-6.

NC State opened up its season Saturday against ECU in a dominant 34-6 victory. The Pack did not skip a beat from last year’s commanding regular-season finale victory against the Pirates.

On Saturday, the Pack (1-0) will take on the Western Carolina Catamounts (0-1), who lost to Mercer this past week. NC State holds a 6-0 record versus the Catamounts, with the last victory coming in the Russell Wilson era in 2010 by a score of 48-7.

The Pack had a great defensive showing this past weekend against the Pirates, holding them to six points. Let’s take a look at how they compare against the Catamounts offense.

Quarterback and wide receivers vs. secondary

Redshirt senior quarterback Tyrie Adams offers a dual-threat option for the Catamounts, something the Pack saw this past weekend in ECU quarterback Holton Ahlers. The Pack struggled in the secondary last year, but came into this year with more experience and had a good showing against East Carolina.

Adams threw for 318 yards, two touchdowns and one interception this past Saturday. As a fifth-year senior, Adams should feel very comfortable in the pocket. He had two receivers go for 60 yards or more against Mercer. Redshirt sophomore D.J. Thorpe put up six catches for 130 yards in the game. Junior Chris Ingram had seven solo tackles for the Pack on Saturday, putting on a great display. 

Running backs vs. linebackers

The Catamounts look to be a running back-by-committee team, with three players each having at least 11 carries and totaling 127 yards on the ground, led by Adams and freshman Syheam McQueen.

The Pack held the Pirates to 41 rushing yards and will look to do the same this week with their strong defensive line and linebackers, who had a good opening statement. Redshirt freshman Payton Wilson played in his first collegiate game and tallied six total tackles. 

Offensive line vs. defensive line

The Pack kept the majority of their defensive line from last year, and it had a good start to the year against the Pirates with two sacks, four QB hurries and four tackles for loss. This kind of play is expected from the Pack’s line because of the number of returners they have, led by redshirt senior Larrell Murchison, who collected six total tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss. 

The Catamounts offer a very new offensive line group, as they lost many to graduation and transition after last year’s season. This will certainly be an area the Wolfpack should attack to stop Adams and the Western Carolina offense.