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N.C. State football vs. James Madison: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

Wolfpack hosts Dukes in season opener

Shawn Boone #24 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack sacks Mitch Trubisky #10 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Kenan Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina State won 28-21. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina State opens its 2018 campaign on Saturday afternoon by hosting James Madison. The Wolfpack will be looking to build on a promising nine-win season and six conference victories - good for second in the ACC Atlantic Division - and earn a win in the Sun Bowl over Arizona State.

TV: Noon ET, ESPNU. LINE: None

N.C. State returns quarterback Ryan Finley, and the graduate student is coming off a solid season that saw him throw for 3,518 yards, 17 touchdowns, and six interceptions. He’ll be key to an offense that lost running back Nyheim Hines to the NFL Draft (Indianapolis Colts).

James Madison has emerged as an FCS powerhouse coming off consecutive 14-win seasons. The Dukes lost in the FCS National Championship Game last season after claiming the FCS national title in 2016.

ABOUT JAMES MADISON (2017: 14-1)

The Dukes are missing a couple of key pieces on offense as 2017 starting quarterback Bryan Schor and top receiver Terrence Alls graduated. Schor’s replacement hasn’t been named yet as the quarterback competition in camp has been tight between Cole Johnson, Schor’s backup last season, and Pittsburgh transfer Ben DiNucci.

The offense figures to revolve around the running game as Marcus Marshall, Trai Sharp, and Cardon Johnson all return - they combined for 1,956 yards last season.

ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (2017: 9-4)

In addition to Hynes, the Wolfpack lost six other players to the 2018 NFL Draft, including the entire starting defensive line - highlighted by No. 5 overall pick Bradley Chubb (Denver Broncos). The defense also lost two of its top three linebackers and three of six defensive backs.

Offensively, Finley gets his top five receivers back, but his top two backs - Hynes and Jaylen Samuels - are both gone, as are two of his starting offensive linemen.

EXTRA POINTS

1. N.C. State’s nine wins in 2017 were second-most in school history.

2. Finley’s career .630 winning percentage is second in school history behind Philip Rivers.

3. The James Madison secondary led the FCS in pass defense (161.5 yards per game) and interceptions (31) last season.

PREDICTION: North Carolina State 35, James Madison 24

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