Big 12 Previews

Texas Tech vs. NC State: Preview and Prediction

NCAA Football: Houston at Texas Tech

Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming matchup between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the NC State Wolfpack.

GAME INFO

Saturday, September 17, 2022; 6 p.m. CT; Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC

TV: ESPN2 (Anish Shroff, Brock Osweiler, Taylor McGregor)

Radio: Texas Tech: Texas Tech Sports Network; Sirius/XM Channel 108 or 199

Records: Texas Tech, 2-0; NC State, 2-0.

Rankings: Texas Tech receiving votes in AP Top 25; NC State ranked No. 16.

Series History: NC State leads series, 4-1.

Last Meeting: NC State 29, Texas Tech 21, Sept. 20, 2003.

Favorite: NC State (-10)

Fun Fact: While Saturday will be the first meeting between Joey McGuire and Dave Doeren, the two’s relationship dates back to 2003 when Doeren, then the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at Kansas, was the first Division-I coach to offer one of McGuire’s Cedar Hill Longhorns. Doeren visited Cedar Hill that year to recruit quarterback Marcus Herford, who ultimately signed with the Jayhawks where he was a four-year letterman and member of the winningest class in Kansas history. Herford was the 2007 Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year for a Kansas team that finished 12-1 and defeated Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.

 

KEY PLAYERS

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS

QB Donovan Smith

He had one of the wildest starts you could find during Week 2 as he took over for the injured Tyler Shough. He set career highs across the board in Texas Tech’s win over Houston, snapping his previous career highs for completions (36), attempts (58) and passing yards (351) as well as a career-long run (27) in the win. It was the second 300-yard game of Smith’s career as Texas Tech is now 2-0 in those games after defeating Iowa State a year ago. He also threw three interceptions and made a couple of decisions that could have spelled curtains for the Red Raiders. He’s not perfect, but he’s a jolt for this offense, no question.

DB Marquis ‘Muddy’ Waters

If you watched Saturday’s game, you heard Fox Sports’ Tim Brando say ‘Muddy’ Waters a lot. Waters has six tackles and two quarterback hurries, but he had a presence the entire game, and that was something Texas Tech missed last season when he suffered a season-ending injury. He’s one of the most experienced players on the roster with 41 career starts. He’s playing ‘The Star’ position, which means he’s a little bit of a safety, an outside linebacker and a slot cornerback. He performs all three roles with alacrity.

 

NC State Wolfpack

QB Devin Leary

NC State loves to tell you what their signal-caller has done in his career. He has a 14-3 record, has 56 touchdown passes (three away from moving into the Top 5 all-time at NC State) and broke the school record for touchdown passes in a season with 35 in 2021, a record held by NC State legend Philip Rivers. The third-year passer already has 449 yards and five touchdowns this season, with just one interception. Leary is just as good as the quarterback the Red Raiders faced last week in Houston’s Clayton Tune.

DB Tyler Baker-Williams

NC State has put an emphasis on picking off passes the past season-plus. Since the start of 2021, which coincides with the hiring of defensive coordinator Tony Gibson (formerly of West Virginia), the Wolfpack has picked off 19 passes. In 2018-19, the defense had just 14 interceptions. Early this season, Baker-Williams leads the team with two interceptions, even though he has no return yards attached to them. The nickel back is a senior and he is taking to Gibson’s system. He’s already matched his interception a total of a season ago.

 

KEY STORYLINES

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS

Texas Tech wanted early success with first-time head coach Joey McGuire and he’s delivered in his first two games, with victories over Murray State and Houston. McGuire became only the second head coach in program history to top a top-25 team (Houston) in his first-ever game against a ranked foe. But he can do one better with a victory over NC State on Saturday, McGuire would become only the fourth head coach in program history to start his career with a 3-0 record, joining the likes of Dell Morgan (1941), Mike Leach (2000) and Kliff Kingsbury (2013). That would be rare company indeed.

NC STATE WOLFPACK

Texas Tech has never beaten NC State in Raleigh, and the Wolfpack are proving to have a significant home-field advantage. NC State enters the game with an 11-game winning streak at Carter-Finley Stadium. That’s the fifth-best active home winning streak in the FBS and is the second-longest in the history of Carter-Finley Stadium (which opened in 1966). NC State has not lost a home game since Nov. 6, 2020. NC State went undefeated at home in 2021, making that team to the first one to go undefeated at home in 35 years.

PREDICTION: NC State 33, Texas Tech 28

Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren has turned that program into a top-tier ACC program. McGuire is still building the Red Raiders in his image. The Red Raiders pulled out a gritty win last week, but they were also uneven against the Cougars. The Wolfpack win this one with a late scoring drive orchestrated by Leary.

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