Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Watchability: This game should be close — all six of Maryland’s games have been decided by 10 points or less. The Terrapins are one of the more surprising teams in the country this year as they have already doubled their win total from a year ago. NC State is playing for the first time since upsetting Florida State on Oct. 6, and the Wolfpack will have to show they can handle success with a tricky road test in College Park.
Shining Stars: NC State: QB Mike Glennon is third in the conference, throwing for 280.2 yards per game. He is coming off a strong second-half performance his last time out when he led the Wolfpack back from a 16-0 deficit to beat the Seminoles. Maryland: True freshman WR Stefon Diggs leads the ACC with 168.8 all-purpose yards per game. He is a threat as a receiver and in the return game. Diggs returned a kickoff for a touchdown last week against Virginia.
Who could steal the show: NC State: WR Bryan Underwood is third on the team with 208 receiving yards, but he leads the team on receiving touchdowns, with seven of NC State’s 12. He caught the game-winning score against Florida State. Maryland: DL Joe Vellano leads the ACC with 11 tackles for loss, and he is a big reason the Terrapins are No. 11 nationally in tackles behind the line of scrimmage (7.8 per game). Vellano is also second on the team in tackles (37) as a defensive lineman.
You going? Ranking the road trip: Fan attendance has increased with each home game at Maryland this season. As the Terrapins continue to win, it’ll be interesting to see how many people show up to support this young team.
Magic number for NC State: 26.2. The Wolfpack defense is allowing opponents to convert just 26.2 percent of their third downs this season, which ranks fourth nationally. Maryland’s offense, meanwhile, ranks No. 102 nationally in third-down conversions (32.9 percent).
Magic number for Maryland: -2. Maryland had -2 rushing yards at Virginia last week but still managed to win the game. The Terrapins are averaging just 71.3 rushing yards per game this season. That will have to improve for Maryland to have the kind of success in the second half of the season it has seen in the first.
The game comes down to: How NC State handles success. The bye week came at a good time for the Wolfpack, and they have been feeling good about themselves after their upset of Florida State. However, NC State better be ready to play against a Maryland team that just finds ways to win.
Prediction: Maryland 23, NC State 20