Saturday, November 21, 2020, Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, North Carolina, 7:30 p.m. ET
Flames at Wolfpack Betting Preview: Flames (+3.5), Wolfpack (-3.5)
No. 21 Liberty Flames Betting Preview
The No. 21 Flames (8-0) will take a crack at an Atlantic Coast Conference sweep Saturday night when they meet North Carolina State at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh.
Liberty is off to its best start in program history and already has defeated ACC members Syracuse and Virginia Tech.
“I told somebody I’m afraid that our people will expect us to win every ACC game we ever play now,” Liberty coach Hugh Freeze said. “That’s not real realistic, I don’t think. We’ll keep taking them as they come.”
The Flames have been dazzling behind quarterback Malik Willis, who transferred from Auburn and sat out the 2019 season before making highlights this season.
Willis has thrown for 15 touchdowns with just one interception. He also has a team-high 700 rushing yards and scored nine of the team’s 20 rushing touchdowns.
“Obviously this whole thing is going to be about being able to get Willis off track because nobody has been able to do that,” NC State coach Dave Doeren said.
Willis has been effective even with the Flames without a full stable of receivers because of injuries.
Defeating Virginia Tech, 38-35, on the road two weeks ago on Alex Barbir’s last-second, 51-yard field goal provided another chapter in the storybook season.
“How long that lasts, I don’t know, but we’re going to have great memories from this year from what’s been done to this point,” Freeze said.
Liberty, with three games remaining, holds a 10-game winning streak, one shy of the school record set from Oct. 20, 2007, to Oct. 11, 2008 when it competed at the FCS level.
North Carolina State Wolfpack Betting Preview
The Wolfpack (5-3) snapped a mild two-game losing streak with last week’s 38-22 victory against visiting Florida State.
Bailey Hockman, who was in his second game as the starter at quarterback since returning to that role, had a solid outing for the Wolfpack. He passed for 265 yards with 24 completions in 34 attempts with three touchdowns against a lone interception.
“Anytime your quarterback is playing well, I don’t care what level of football you’re playing, you’ve got a chance to be really good,” Doeren said. “He’s played at a high level for two weeks, so we’re very excited.”
For the season, Hockman is 84 of 132 passing for 545 yards with eight touchdowns. But he also has eight interceptions.
Part of Hockman’s success against Florida State was related to redshirt junior receiver Thayer Thomas’ career-high 11 catches and 135 yards. Thomas also scored twice.
“I feel like this year I’ve had a lot of different opportunities, and I feel like I’ve made the most of every opportunity I’ve been given, regardless of the circumstances,” Thomas said.
Flames at Wolfpack Betting Pick
The Flames will be trying to go 3-0 against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents after posting earlier wins over Syracuse and Virginia Tech with all three games on the road. NC State won the only previous meeting over the Flames, 43-31 back in 2011.
Flames at Wolfpack Betting Pick:
Flames 41, Wolfpack 31
Flames at Wolfpack Best Bet
The Flames have averaged 46 points a game over their last five outings since posting a 28-7 win over North Alabama back on October 3. The Wolfpack have scored 79 points their last two games, though 41 came in a 3-point loss to Miami.
Flames at Wolfpack Best Bet: 67.5
–Field Level Media