It seems like a very simple strategy but against a team like Maryland that has a running quarterback, it's extremely important.
Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown is dynamic running with the football. He has rushed for over 100 yards in three games this season, including 122 and two touchdowns in their upset win over Virginia Tech two weeks ago. He's lanky, deceptively fast, and can also break tackles.
The Terps also have a pair of 200+ pound tailbacks in Brandon Ross and Albert Reid who can bounce off defenders for extra yardage.
Priority No. 1 for NC State has to be tackling. The Terps aren't explosive through the air but can make big plays... the Pack must limit those plays.
MAKE THEM ONE-DIMENSIONAL
We've touched on it a bit already, but NC State has to make the Terps one-dimensional by stopping the run.
While Brown is effective running with the football, he hasn't proven to be an efficient passer. He is completing just 59% of his passes this season, and he has thrown just two touchdowns with four interceptions in his last five starts.
Fact is, Maryland doesn't want him throwing the football a lot. He didn't attempt over 28 passes in any of their four wins... he has two games of 30+ pass attempts in losses.
Another stat: Maryland is 4-0 this season in games where a Terp has rushed for over 100 yards. At the top of the Pack's gameplan is stopping the run. Do that, and they could snap their seven-game losing streak.
TURN THEM OVER
NC State has done a fairly good job of taking care of the football in the last two games, but they must force more turnovers.
The Wolfpack has struggled to put up points all season and a big reason why is because the defense hasn't done a good job each week of generating positive field position for the offense.
Facing a Maryland squad that can turn the ball over, NC State must force them to do so. Generating turnovers, and potentially easy points, could relieve some pressure on an offense that frankly needs the additional help.
NC State must win the turnover battle, and it all starts with the defense forcing Brown and the Terps to turn the ball over.