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N.C. State running back Ricky Person Jr. (8) tries to escape from Florida State linebacker Amari Gainer (33) during the first half of N.C. State’s game against Florida State at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020.

After a 38-22 win against Florida State last week, redshirt junior quarterback Bailey Hockman and the NC State offense will prepare to take on the No. 21 Liberty Flames at home this weekend. The Wolfpack offense should be ready to fight against the Flames, who haven’t given up more than 35 points in a game this season and are ranked as the No. 14 overall defense in the country. 

In their last game against Western Carolina, the Flames gave up 282 yards and only 14 points and recorded two interceptions and four sacks. 

The Flames’ defense has recorded 21 sacks and eight interceptions so far in the 2020 season, while giving up an average of 308 yards per game. 

Liberty secondary

Out of the team’s eight interceptions this season, the secondary unit is responsible for half of them. 

Junior safety Javon Scruggs has recorded 44 total tackles and one interception this season. Scruggs will be the key to this secondary unit holding back the Pack’s strong receivers. Apart from Scruggs, NC State will have to look out for sophomore cornerback Chris Megginson, who also has one interception on the season and 15 total tackles. 

Liberty linebackers

Senior linebacker Anthony Butler leads the team with a total of 51 tackles this season. He’ll be able to put pressure on Hockman to send him scrambling, which might give Liberty the edge over the Pack, seeing as Hockman has been less than stellar against elite pass-rushers.

Redshirt freshman linebacker Carl Poole is another key player in this linebacker unit. Poole was responsible for one of two interceptions in Liberty’s game against Western Carolina, his first this season, and he also has one sack on the year. 


Liberty defensive line

The Wolfpack offensive line will have to look out for junior defensive end Durrell Johnson, who leads the Liberty defense with seven sacks this season. In the Flames’ last game against Western Carolina, Johnson had one sack and one interception. 


Expect the Flames to bring their A-game on Saturday, Nov. 21, to Carter-Finley Stadium. The NC State offense will have a fair match against this defense, who will be tasked with holding off Hockman long enough to let quarterback Malik Willis take control of the game.