RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – You’ll have to excuse the N.C. State (3-1) defense if they appear to be licking their chops.
After more than a month away, the Pack stoppers are finally back at home facing a Duke team that is turning the ball over at an alarming rate.
“I feel like we’ve got a real good game plan going into this game against Duke,” said N.C. State sophomore defensive back Malik Dunlap. “I feel like we can make a lot of turnovers, make big plays.”
There’s a reason Dunlap may feel that way.
The Blue Devils have turned the ball over 19 times in five games.
That’s an average of nearly four turnovers per outing.
Duke (1-4) is coming off its first win of the year, a 38-24 victory at Syracuse.
The Devils winning despite throwing an interception and losing three fumbles to the Orange.
That’s certainly not a recipe for success and N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren is not counting on the Devils to hand his team the ball.
“I know they’ve had a tough go of it with turnovers,” said Doeren. “They’ve got a really good coaching staff, their kids are smart and tough and will play really hard against us.
“They’ve turned the ball over 19 times and you can’t win doing that. I know that will be an area they work really hard on.”
They certainly need to.
Duke has been especially charitable in their past three games, turning the ball over 14 times, including a whopping seven turnovers at Virginia.
The Wolfpack sees a chance to pounce.
“We’re going to keep working like we always do,” said N.C. State freshman defensive end Terrell Dawkins. “We always emphasize things like that (causing turnovers). We just need to go harder.”
As in practicing the right way.
Ever since their loss at Virginia Tech, the Wolfpack has practiced well.
State’s defense leading the way at times.
“I felt like the defense really set the stage with the takeaways in this game (Virginia),” Doeren said. “I think our guys have learned there are different ways to win games. But the one thing that’s common in all three of our wins is that we’ve prepared well.”
N.C. State and Duke will kick off at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium.
The Pack in search of its third straight win.