No. 14 NC State Looks To Upset No. 9 Notre Dame on Saturday

In the first battle of top-15 teams for NC State since 1992, college football fans will be tuning in to NBC on Saturday afternoon as the No. 14 Wolfpack heads to No. 9 Notre Dame.

While many factors will determine if NC State can push its winning streak to seven games (only six FBS teams currently have a longer winning streak) by claiming its first top-10 non conference road win since 1975, one battle that's already getting some buzz will be the Pack's inpenetrable rushing defense against the powerful Irish rushing attack.

"It's going to be a great battle on the line of scrimmage," said head coach Dave Doeren. "Both sides have talented players with size.

"They have a great running back (Josh Adams) who is running the football well. (QB Brandon) Wimbush is (also) a great runner."

Notre Dame enters this weekend ranked No. 6 nationally in rushing offense, averaging 317.86 an outing through their first seven games. The Irish are also second nationally with both 28 rushing scores and a 7.06 yards-per-carry average.

Notre Dame has posted over 300 rushing yards in five of the seven games in 2017, including a season-best 515 at Boston College in Week 3 – the most for an Irish team since 1969. Over the last three games, Notre Dame has averaged 350.3 as a team, eclipsing the 300-yard mark in all three wins.

"It's going to be a great head to head battle in the trenches," Doeren continued. "I'm excited to watch the line of scrimmage in this game.

The senior-laden defensive line has helped lead NC State to the nation's sixth-best rushing defense in 2017, allowing just 91.3 yards per game. NC State has held three 2017 opponents (South Carolina, Syracuse and Pitt) to less than 100 yards this season, and since the beginning of the 2015 campaign has held 13 opponents under the century mark.

The highest individual rushing performance by a Wolfpack opponent this season has been 73 yards (Keion Davis of Marshall and Lamar Jackson of Louisville).

"I think up front we are playing very, very strong," said defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable. "The linebackers are reacting and are where they are supposed to be."

The Irish are coming off of one of the most impressive wins of the season in the NCAA, a dominant 49-14 home win over then-No. 11 USC Saturday night.

Notre Dame rushed for 377 yards, with a pair of players going over the century mark – RB Josh Adams averaged 10.1 yards on his 19 carries for 191 yards (including three scores) and QB Brandon Wimbush had 106 yards and two more rushing scores.

It marked the fourth time this season that Notre Dame had a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game.

Adams ranks sixth nationally averaging 138.1 yards a game on the ground, and his average of 9.2 a carry is fourth-best, third among running backs. Adams also has three rushing scores of over 70 yards this season, a mark that leads the FBS.

The Wolfpack counters with defensive end, a consensus mid-season All-American, Bradley Chubb who is second nationally in tackles for loss this season (14.0). NC State's four starters (Chubb, B.J. Hill, Justin Jones and Kentavius Street) along with top reserve Darian Roseboro, have combined for 30 tackles for loss through seven contests.

"They have four senior starters on their offensive line and we have our four on the defensive line," said Doeren. "It will take technique and grit to win the battle. Our D-linemen are excited about the matchup."

One of the keys to the Pack's third-best start in school history has been the ability to stop the rush in the second half of games this season. In the seven games, NC State has given up just an average of 37.7 yards on the ground in the second half of games. Four opponents have been held to under 50 – including South Carolina (five) and Pitt (four) combining for just nine yards total, with only Louisville going over 80 yards (81).

In the second half of the Pack's win at Pitt last time out, NC State held the Panthers to just four yards rushing in the second half on 14 attempts – with six tackles for loss and 10 of the 14 rushing attempts were for a yard or less.