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College Football
Preview
William & Mary at North Carolina State
When: 7:30 PM ET, Thursday, September 1, 2016
Where: Carter Finley Stadium, Raleigh, North Carolina

North Carolina State might be the most unlucky team outside of the SEC West, with National Championship contenders Florida State and Clemson sitting at the top of the ACC Atlantic Division. The Wolfpack will try not to look too far ahead and get off to a good start when they open the 2016 campaign by hosting William & Mary on Thursday.

N.C. State brought in a new offensive coordinator in Eliah Drinkwitz from Boise State and graduate transfer quarterback Ryan Finley followed along to try and help the team replace Jacoby Brissett, who is now backing up Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo on the New England Patriots. The battle between Finley and Jalan McClendon for the starting quarterback spot was so tight in camp that both are expected to see time against the Tribe. “Our quarterbacks are playing really well right now and we’re excited about everything they’re doing,” Drinkwitz told the Charlotte Observer. “We’ll feel very confident that both of our guys can get the job done.” William & Mary put together a strong 2015 campaign that included a narrow loss to ACC foe Virginia on Sept. 19, and is poised for a deep playoff run at the Football Championship Subdivision level.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3. LINE: Off

ABOUT WILLIAM & MARY (2015: 9-4): The Tribe made the FCS playoffs last season and won their first round game against Duquesne before being throttled by Colonial Athletic Association rival Richmond in the second round. William & Mary is once again a top-10 preseason team in the FCS and, along with Richmond, is predicted to threaten for the CAA crown behind returning quarterback Steve Cluley and senior running back Kendell Anderson. Cluley led the CAA in completion percentage (62.7) last season while Anderson rushed for 1,418 yards and 16 TDs.

ABOUT N.C. STATE (2015: 7-6):
The Wolfpack will have to earn their place among the conference’s elite and will get a chance to prove they belong with games against Notre Dame and at Louisville and North Carolina in addition to the Clemson and Florida State matchups. Drinkwitz’s most versatile weapon in his up-tempo attack will be Jaylen Samuels, who has been listed as a tight end and a fullback and can play anywhere on offense. Samuels ran for nine touchdowns and caught seven more in 2015 and expects to see his usage increase after being involved in just over 55 percent of the offensive plays last season.

EXTRA POINTS

1. N.C. State RB Matthew Dayes, who ran for 865 yards last season, is healthy after a foot injury ended his 2015 campaign in eighth game.

2. Cluley enjoyed a string of 176 pass attempts without an interception last season.

3. The Wolfpack were one of two teams to finish in the FBS top-20 in both kickoff and punt return average in 2015.

PREDICTION: N.C. State 31, William & Mary 17
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
William & Mary 0-0 - 0.0 0.0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
North Carolina State 0-0 - 0.0 0.0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Last Meeting
William & Mary North Carolina State
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
9/6/08 CWM 24 NCST 34 303 115 188 325 67 258
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
William & Mary N/A
North Carolina State H. Beck 68.0 246 2 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
William & Mary N/A
North Carolina State A. Brown 17 43 2.5 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
William & Mary N/A
North Carolina State O. Spencer 5 82 16.4 0
Touchdowns Player TD
William & Mary N/A
North Carolina State A. Brown 1
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
William & Mary N/A
North Carolina State N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
William & Mary N/A
North Carolina State N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
William & Mary N/A
North Carolina State N/A
Touchdowns Player TD
William & Mary N/A
North Carolina State N/A
Quickchart Matchup
William & Mary William & Mary Off vs  North Carolina State North Carolina State Def
William & Mary 0 yards
North Carolina State 0 yards
William & Mary 0 yards/rush
North Carolina State 0 yards/rush
William & MaryNorth Carolina State
North Carolina State North Carolina State Off vs  William & Mary William & Mary Def
North Carolina State 0 yards
William & Mary 0 yards
North Carolina StateWilliam & MaryNorth Carolina StateWilliam & Mary