The Central Michigan Chippewas take to the road this weekend to face a solid ACC opponent in the 2-1 North Carolina Wolfpack. Central Michigan struggled last week in their 38-17 home loss to Toledo and is 1-3 on the season. The Chippewas will try to desperately steal the victory this weekend from former Northern Illinois head coach and current Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren.
Central Michigan has struggled to put up points this season. The Chippewas are 111th in the nation and are averaging 17.8 points per game. The team has been hampered with the injuries to starting running back Zurlon Tipton and starting quarterback Cody Kater (both injured in week 1).
Central Michigan will need to test a Wolfpack defense that is allowing 20.7 points per game and is very good against the run (110 rushing yards per game). The Chippewas have had success through the air this year, averaging 239 passing yards per game. Freshman quarterback Cooper Rush has taken over the reins for the offense and has completed 54.9 percent of his passes, with five touchdowns and four interceptions.
The offensive line for Central Michigan has been solid in pass protection. The Chippewas have only given up six sacks on the year.
Defensively, Central Michigan must be able to force turnovers on the road. The team is -3 in turnover margin, and will need to be aggressive in slowing down the Wolfpack running game. NC State is averaging 196.7 rushing yards per game and is averaging 258 passing yards per game.
Wolfpack starting quarterback Pete Thomas has not connected on a touchdown pass all season. Thomas has been turnover-prone as he has four interceptions on the season. The Wolfpack’s lone touchdown pass for the year came in Week 2 against Richmond (quarterback Bryant Shirreffs).
The Chippewas have been solid against the pass this season, giving up 167 passing yards per game. Central Michigan will need to force the Wolfpack into third-and-long situations. The Chippewas have only managed three sacks through four games this year, and will need a better effort this weekend against NC State.