Up two spots to No. 16 this week, North Carolina State will aim for another win Saturday night at Raleigh, N.C., when it hosts a Texas Tech team coming off an emotional win.
Fans in Lubbock, Texas, rushed the field last weekend after the Red Raiders (2-0) beat then-No. 25 Houston 33-30 in double overtime. It was the first time since 1989 that Texas Tech had beaten a ranked nonconference opponent in the regular season.
Another ranked nonconference team awaits the Red Raiders in NC State (2-0). The Wolfpack enter after smashing Charleston Southern 55-3 when Wolfpack quarterback Devin Leary tied a program record by accounting for six touchdowns.
The Wolfpack and Red Raiders met three times between 1992 and 2003, with NC State winning all three games, but the teams haven’t played each other since. Yet there still will be some level of familiarity.
In 2003, current NC State head coach Dave Doeren was a defensive assistant and recruiting coordinator at Kansas, while Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire was a high school coach outside of Dallas at the time. Doeren was recruiting one of McGuire’s players, and the two coaches shared a meal.
“He had the best chicken fried steak and gravy that you’ve ever had,” Doeren said of McGuire’s hospitality. “I remember crushing that with him. He’s a good dude, and he’ll have his team ready to play.”
“We’ve been friends ever since,” McGuire said of Doeren. “He flew me to Wisconsin and I spoke at their clinic. … He was one of the first (people) to text me when I got this job. Just a class act.”
NC State allowed just three points to Charleston Southern last weekend. The Wolfpack will have one of their leaders back Saturday, as Doeren said captain and linebacker Payton Wilson is expected to play. Wilson left the Wolfpack’s season opener against East Carolina with an upper-body injury.
“(Wilson) feels really good and he’s in a good space,” Doeren said. “It gives us another really good athlete to play against a spread offense.”
Meanwhile, Texas Tech could be without a starter on the offensive line. McGuire said Weston Wright, who has 33 career starts at guard, sprained his ankle in the win over Houston. He will be a game-time decision, as will cornerback and kick returner Adrian Frye (quadriceps).
Red Raiders linebacker Krishon Merriweather (knee) is expected to play.
“With a 320-pound guy, sprains take a little bit longer, so we’ll see,” McGuire said. “(Wright) looked good today, but we won’t know anything until Friday.”
The two offenses are similar with dual-threat quarterbacks.
Leary rushed for two touchdowns and threw for four last weekend, while Donovan Smith of Texas Tech threw for 351 yards and two scores, while also rushing for the game-winning TD against Houston.
“When you face a team with an athletic quarterback, that’s always a major factor as you get closer and closer to the goal line,” Doeren said.
–Field Level Media
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