Staff Predictions: CMU-NC State

Corey Dull, Staff WriterThe Chips head to the east coast this week for a game against a feisty NC State team, coming off a 26-14 loss to No. 3 Clemson. Dan Enos will be taking on former NIU head coach, Dave Doeren. Enos has a career 1-1 against Doeren. Last week, CMU turned the ball over four times, which cost them a loss against a very good Toledo team at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. Although the running backs rushed for 156 yards, Cooper Rush had a pair of interceptions and a pair of fumbles, which resulted in too many wasted drives for the Chippewas. They moved the ball well, but Rush misread too many coverages and just made too many mistakes. The Chippewa defense gave up 252 yards on the ground to the Rockets (197 to David Fluellen) and now faces a Wolfpack team that averages 196 ypg. The Chippewas need to keep this close for their fans to keep their confidence in the team, but I do not see that happening.
Prediction: N.C. State 38, Central Michigan 14
Jeff Horodeczny, Staff WriterThe Chippewas head to Raleigh, N.C., this weekend to face the NC State Wolfpack in their final non-conference game of the season. NC State enters the game with a 2-1 record, with their only loss coming to a top-five Clemson squad. Colorado State transfer Pete Thomas has been okay replacing Mike Glennon. He has thrown for over 200 yards in each game so far, but surprisingly hasn't thrown any touchdowns. His top two targets are freshmen Marquez Valdes-Scantling and senior Rashard Smith. Both are averaging over 10 yards-per-catch. Last weekend, CMU actually had more passing yards and a higher time of possession than Toledo, but turnovers that cost them. The turnovers might be a problem again this week with the pressure that the young Cooper Rush can expect from N.C. State. Look for CMU to continue to give the ball to Saylor Lavallii to try to avoid 3rd-and-long situations. I believe the task of going into an ACC stadium and coming out with a win is just too tall of a task for this team.
Prediction: N.C. State 35, Central Michigan 17
Steve Livingston, Publisher
This is still a MAC team playing at an ACC team, but even with CMU's recent struggles, N.C. State doesn't really scare me. They have struggled to score in the last two games. Against No. 3 Clemson, that's understandable. It's not as understandable against Richmond. Now it's a new day in Raleigh, with Dave Doeren taking the helm of the program, but N.C. State has traditionally played up to big opponents and played down to non-AQ teams. Two years ago, CMU went into Raleigh two years ago and played the Wolfpack tough, with only trailing by four with 20 minutes left in the game, despite N.C. State having a future NFL starter at quarterback in Mike Glennon. This season's blowout loss at Michigan aside, CMU has played well at BCS schools under Dan Enos, taking an early lead at Virginia Tech in 2010 and in 2011, they stayed within a touchdown of Kentucky until five minutes left in the game. I won't be shocked if CMU makes a game of this. That said, it's tough to expect a ton from freshman quarterback Cooper Rush in this game and that's the important player on the Chippewas roster if they want to pull off the upset. CMU can run the ball on most teams, but they will need to limit turnovers and get some big plays in the passing games (against the No. 80 pass efficiency defense) to keep it close. At this point, I just can't see that happening.
Prediction: N.C. State 38, Central Michigan 20
Tyler Parsons, Publisher
CMU heads to Raleigh, North Carolina for their last out of conference game today, and it's safe to say they are limping rather than running in.
The Chippewas have been devastated by injuries the past few weeks, and a fully healthy CMU likely does not walk into this matchup with a 1-3 record. But this is not unfamiliar territory, as CMU traveled to NC State in 2011 where they lost a tight battled 38-24. In that game, CMU was down 21-17 at halftime before Ryan Radcliff caught the turnover bug. That game should serve as a reminder that the Chippewas can compete on the same field as the Wolfpack.
On the other hand, living down in North Carolina near Raleigh, their is a temperament among Wolfpack fans that NC State plays up or down against opponents. Playing a top 5 team at home? NC State will make it a tough game. Playing South Coastal Louisiana State? NC State will make it a tough game.
Unfortunately, I don't think CMU will have the ammo unless Cooper Rush can make some plays and limit his turnovers...his four last week were killers. Maybe a closer game than people predict, but this is a injury plagued CMU team that probably lacks the depth and experience to pull this upset off.
Prediction: N.C. State 35, Central Michigan 17
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