NC State Football starts as an 8-point favorite at the ECU

RALEIGH, NC — NC State football has built a lot of hype this offseason, and rightly so with all the experience it’s bringing back. But by the time the Wolf Pack get the ball rolling in September, they’ll need to be as good as advertised to be considered one of the country’s top teams.

East Carolina plans to do everything in its power to ensure this doesn’t happen. And with the pack opening as an 8-point favorite on the road, Circa Sports says it will only add fuel to the fire for a pirate program also seen as burgeoning in the American Conference.

In addition to State’s eight-point lead, the game also earned a 58.5 over/under from Circa Sports. So NC State’s bottom line is expected to be in the low 30’s while ECU is expected to be ready in the mid 20’s. Last year’s season opener for NC State also came against a team from the Americans, with a 45-0 win for the Pack over USF at Carter Finley Stadium.

The Wolfpack had a strong season going 9-3 (6-2 ACC) and almost had their second double-digit winning season before UCLA canceled the Holiday Bowl. With 10 of 11 starters back on defense — along with plenty of starting depth — and a strong offense bringing back several leading receivers in Thayer Thomas and Devin Carter around Devin Leary, State has plenty to play for this season and one of its best seasons to fulfill in program history last fall.

As for the Pirates, Mike Houston has the program back on track after a 7-5 (5-3 AAC) season in 2021, which was also called off before playing the Military Bowl against Boston College. The Pirates are also bringing back a veteran signal caller in Holton Ahlers, who will try to recover from his only game against NC State in 2019, in which he rushed for just 168 yards, no touchdowns and one interception in a 34-6 loss .

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In the last two meetings, the Wolfpack have beaten the Pirates 92-9 on aggregate between the last game of 2018 and the 2019 season opener, but ECU is in a very different place now. Houston led the Pirates to a record 4-2 at Dowdy Ficklen Stadium last year — their first home win since 2014 — and came close to upsetting South Carolina with a 20-17 loss.

So while the pack has big ambitions for this season, it all begins on September 3, 2021 in Greenville. And you know what they always say: Good teams win, great teams cover. State will need to do just that to convince some national pundits it’s worthy of being a high-ranked team emerging from the matchup with only two high-ranked teams on its non-conference schedule.

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