NC State football understands importance of turnover margin

Jacey Zembal, Editor
The Wolfpacker
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Ken Martin/TheWolfpacker.com

NC State has won the turnover margin in four out of five games this season, and not surprisingly, the lone game resulted in a loss against South Carolina.

NC State has gone 19-7 in games during the Dave Doeren era when the Wolfpack won the turnover margin by plus-one or more. The squad is 10-4 during that time when it is plus-two or more, falling to Florida State twice and Clemson and North Carolina once.

“I think that is pretty strong,” said Doeren about the statistical trend Thursday.

NC State has lost to Louisville the last three years, and the turnover margin reflects it. The Cardinals are a collective plus-4 in the three meetings going into Thursday’s battle at NC State.

Louisville has only won turnover margin once this season — against Purdue in the season opener — in accumulating a 4-1 record and No. 17 national ranking. Star junior quarterback Lamar Jackson has combined for 247 plays between passing (175) and rushing (72). He has thrown for three interceptions and fumbled twice.

“With him, there are so many things you can’t plan for,” Doeren said. “He creates a lot of plays and has done a great job of improving as a drop back passer. He has good players to throw it to.”

When Jackson takes off out of the pocket, the danger levels start to rise. He could open himself up for a turnover while playing on the run and being hurried, or he could make a spectacular play.

“With the scramble, we call it plaster rules,” Doeren said. “When he starts moving, we have to be body-on-body on different people. Our pass rush lanes have to do a great job of not allowing him to do that a lot.”

Due to Jackson’s high volume of trying to make plays, it will be NC State’s job to try to wear him out with temperatures expected to be in the mid-to-high 60s.

“It’s a night game, so I don’t expect it to be too hot,” Doeren said. “It’s going to be loud and our crowd noise has to be a factor to help us with their cadence. They can get some pre-snap penalties. I don’t expect either team to be fatigued. It should be beautiful weather for the game.”

Louisville has been a fast starting team, racing out to a collective 59-24 first-quarter lead in five games. The Cardinals have never trailed after the first quarter, but were tied 7-7 against both Clemson and Purdue. Doeren knows that Louisville will likely push the tempo.

“Louisville is a really good first quarter team, and so was Syracuse,” Doeren said. “Your goal every week is to try to take away an opponents strength. If you make a team that is used to being in the lead play from behind, that is something you try to do every game.”

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