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Belk Bowl Preview: Part II - Offense

Evaluating the Belk Bowl Offenses

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Peeps, we're one day away from the Belk Bowl. That means it's time to take a look at the offenses for Mississippi State and North Carolina State. Here's the breakdown:



MSU: State will run a Spread Option attack. The base look is a 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB set. But State uses lots of different formations during the course of a game to exploit various matchups. Look for some 4 WR, 5 WR, and 2 TE sets. You can expect State to throw the ball somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 times a game this season and run it around 30 times.

NCSU: NC State will also run a Spread Option attack. However, they incorporate more traditional offensive elements than does MSU. They could choose to open in the standard spread 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB set or eliminate the TE and start a FB. They could also take out a WR and open in the I. Look for them to be even more varied with their sets than State. The Wolfpack should throw the ball roughly 32 times and run it 40 times.

Statistical Overview: (As a reminder, click for definitions)

MSU: The traditional stats for MSU are good. State averages 451 Total YPG, ranking 33rd nationally. The Dawgs average 311.1 Pass YPG, ranking 17th, and 140.3 Rush YPG, ranking 103rd. But as I said for the defenses yesterday, points are what matters. The Dawgs average 33 PPG, ranking 42nd nationally.

Advanced stats show the Dawgs as a very good offense, with an offensive S&P+ rating of 37.6%, ranking 24th nationally. And State is a prolific passing offense, with a passing S&P+ of 125.8, ranking 13th nationally. When it comes to running the football, the Dawgs are actually pretty efficient, with a S&P+ of 112, ranking 27th.

State is very good in short yardage situations, with a Power Success Rate of 77.1%, above the national average of 66.4%, which places them 13th. On the negative side, the Dawgs have way too many plays stopped for no gain or a loss, with an offensive Stuff Rate of 19.7%, above the national average of 19.5%, ranking them 74th. Another problem that's quickly apparent is the number of sacks State allows. The Dawgs' Adjusted Sack Rate is 97.6, which is 64th nationally.

NCSU: The Wolfpack's traditional stats are solid. NCSU averages 412 Total YPG, ranking 56th nationally. The Wolfpack average 210.5 Pass YPG, ranking 78th, and 201.4 Rush YPG, ranking 32nd. NC State averages 33.7 PPG, ranking 38th.

Advanced stats paint NC State as a great offense, with an S&P+ rating of 34.7, ranking 28th nationally. The Wolfpack feature an elite rushing attack, with a rushing S&P+ of 125.5, ranking 6th nationally. NC State is very average throwing the ball, however, with an S&P+ of 103, ranking 63rd.

Surprisingly, NC State isn't as good in short yardage as you'd expect for a team with their rushing attack. NCSU's Power Success Rate is just 71.8%, which is 36th nationally. And the NCSU offensive Stuff Rate is a concern at 18.6%, ranking 52nd. The Wolfpack's Adjusted Sack Rate is very bad at 82.2, ranking 94th.

Players to Watch:

MSU: Dak Prescott, Fred Ross, and De'Runnya "Bear" Wilson. Dak is the best QB in MSU history and one of the best in SEC history. He's taken a quantum leap forward as a senior and was selected as a member of the All-SEC First Team by both the AP and the Coaches. Dak has completed 291 of 435 passes for 3,413 yards, 25 TDs, a completion percentage of 66.9%, and just 4 INTs. Dak has also rushed 118 times for 731 yards, 10 TDs, and averages 6.2 YPC.

Fred Ross has had a breakout season in 2015, making the AP All-SEC Second Team and Coaches All-SEC First Team. He led the SEC in receptions with 81 and was third in yards with 933. He had 4 TDs and averaged 11.5 YPR. He was the most reliable WR for Dak with a catch rate of 72.3%.

Bear Wilson continued to be one of the SEC's biggest threats in 2015 and was a member of the Coaches All-SEC Second Team. He was sixth in the SEC in both receptions and yards with 55 and 822, respectively. And Bear was second in the SEC with 9 TD grabs. He averaged 15 YPR. Bear's hands are a bit suspect, though, as his catch rate is just 62.5%.

NCSU: Jacoby Brissett, Matthew Dayes, and Jaylen Samuels. Brissett is very comparable to Dak Prescott. He's a big, tough, dual threat QB and one of the best to ever suit up for NC State. He's had a solid senior campaign in 2015, completing 225 of 367 passes for 2,448 yards, 19 TDs, a completion percentage of 61.3%, and just 4 INTs. Brissett has also rushed 82 times for 507 yards, 5 TDs, and averages 6.2 YPC.

Dayes, a junior, spearheads the Wolfpack rushing attack. He's rushed 134 times for 865 yards, 12 TDs, and averages 6.5 YPC.

Samuels is a sophomore TE. He's had a breakout 2015 campaign, reeling in 64 catches for 599 yards and 7 TDs. He averages 9.4 YPR and is an incredibly dependable target with an 81% catch rate.

WMD's Thoughts:

These two teams are a mirror image of each other on both sides of the ball. There are more similarities than differences. This looks like a classic Strength vs. Strength game. The Dawgs have a suspect Rushing D and the Wolfpack runs the ball really well. Conversely, the Wolfpack's Passing D is suspect and the Dawgs throw it extremely well. I do like the matchup of Dak, Bear, and Ross against a very young Wolfpack D. It appears both teams have OL issues and good DLs. I don't think I'd be surprised by any outcome with the possible exception of a MSU victory by blowout. I would think the forecast of a rainy day favors NCSU with their ability to run the football. This could well be a game where whoever wants it more and prepared the best wins. I feel like this is a must win for Dan Mullen to earn back some of the good will he's squandered lately. Hopefully he's figured out he won't get a "blue blood" job until he proves he can beat the blue bloods and has regained a little fire in his belly. That's how I see it, at least.

Pull the Rope,