Preview and picks for Notre Dame at North Carolina State
There were some surprises in Week 1 of the college football season, and there figure to be in the second week as well. Among the better pairings is the No. 13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish traveling to Raleigh to oppose the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
It’s a High Noon Saturday kickoff. Notre Dame comes into this game at 2-0 (remember that Week 0 trouncing of Navy), but this is their biggest test of the new season.
North Carolina State was a winner in its opener, but had to survive an East Hartford road test against the Connecticut Huskies. The Wolfpack are hoping to contend in the ACC this season, and a win here would prove they’re legit.
Visitors are Favored
Notre Dame enters as a 7½-point favorite and the total is set at 51½, according to college football odds. If that spread is steep, the Irish are at -300 on the moneyline (Wolfpack at +250).
Irish Have Exploded
Notre Dame has always been a team that loves to run the ball. It didn't have a quarterback who could air it out. That’s no longer the case, since Sam Hartman has come to South Bend.
Hartman, who knows the Wolfpack well (he played at Wake Forest), has gone 33 of 40 (445 yards, six touchdowns) so far in 2023 for the Irish, albeit against the Naval Academy and Tennessee St.
Audric Estime leads the rushers (29 carries, 211 yards). Notre Dame can score in a hurry, which isn’t news to North Carolina St.
Defensively, the Fighting Irish have surrendered just two field goals in two games.
If those early-season results have you convinced, Notre Dame is currently 28-1 (+2800) to win the title, as per college football championship odds.
Wolfpack an Unknown
North Carolina State didn’t play all that well in the season opener at UConn, but managed to collect itself and leave with a 24-14 win. There was undoubtedly an element of look-ahead in that effort.
Brennan Armstrong, ex of Virginia, is the new quarterback in Raleigh. Armstrong struggled a bit in the opener (17-of-26, 155 yards).
Where the Wolfpack excelled was on the ground, rushing to the tune of 209 yards. Expect the home team to try and slow this tempo in this one Conversely, the ‘Pack defense surrendered more than 270 yards to the Huskies, including 160 on the ground.
Visitors Just Better
North Carolina State took a while to figure things out against UConn in the opener. That won’t work against Notre Dame.
The visitors now have a solid quarterback to go along with a dominant ground game, and thus very tough to defend. Expect Hartman to have a big day through the air, while the defense takes care of the rest.
Lay the touchdown (and the hook) with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish -7.5, moving to 3-0.