HUNTINGTON, W.V. – North Carolina State and Marshall should have an abundance of energy when they meet Saturday in Huntington, W.Va., since the undefeated teams had their games cancelled last week because of Hurricane Florence. N.C. State's chance to see where it stood against No. 13 West Virginia was washed away after opening the season with victories over Georgia State and FCS member James Madison by a combined 65-20.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network. LINE: N.C. State -5.5
The Wolfpack, though, won't have it easy against the Thundering Herd, who won at Miami (Ohio) 35-28 and defeated Eastern Kentucky 32-16. "Our first road game and a chance to play in a very good environment,'' N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said at his weekly press conference. "We know their fans will be great. It's an opportunity. I look at it more like that than a concern. Our guys will be excited about it. We like going on the road." The Wolfpack are led by Ryan Finley, who was 29-of-36 for 341 yards and three touchdowns in N.C. State's 37-20 victory over Marshall last season. Finley has four touchdowns and one interception while completing 74.1 percent of his passes in 2018, telling reporters: “We have a lot of weapons. It’s pretty special when I can just throw it out there to a lot of different targets.”
ABOUT N.C. STATE (2-0)
Junior wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, who had 161 yards on 14 receptions versus James Madison, missed the Georgia State game with an ankle injury but is expected to play Saturday. Former walk-on Thayer Thomas, a redshirt freshman, took advantage of Meyers' absence with nine catches for 114 yards a a highlight reel TD with Finley telling reporters about Thomas: "He's special, he's worked for it, and he's earned the right to be on this stage. And I've really been impressed with him." Junior wide receiver Kelvin Harmon is also off to a fast start with 12 catches and 162 yards and offers Finley another target as the running game struggles at 99 yards per game -- 119th among the 129 FBS teams in the nation.
ABOUT MARSHALL (2-0)
Coach Doc Holliday handed the keys to freshman quarterback Isaiah Green, who is off to a solid start by completing 61.8 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and an interception. All five of the TDs have gone to senior wide receiver Tyre Brady (12.1 yards per 15 receptions, three scores) and junior wide receiver Obi Obialo (13.4, eight, two). Junior safety Malik Gant and senior linebacker Chase Hancock pace with the defense with 23 tackles and a sack apiece while junior linemen Ty Tyler and Channing Hames each boast two sacks.
1. Eighty-two percent of the Wolfpack's points have come from first-time scorers this season with senior RB Reggie Gallaspy II (two touchdowns) the only exception.
2. The Thundering Herd have won 37 of their last 38 games when ahead at halftime, losing to Charlotte 27-24 in 2016 after leading 24-17 at the break.
3. Finley has 12 300-yard passing games, second in school history to Philip Rivers (19 from 2000-03).
PREDICTION: Marshall 28, N.C. State 27