3DownNation’s CanCon Game of the Week: NC State at No. 24 Pittsburgh

Photo courtesy: Pete Madia/Pitt Athletics

Another week, another slate of Canadian action in the NCAA.

So far this season, Canadians have produced and so have we. Last week, the 3DownNation picks were right on ten of the 12 matchups featuring homegrown players. That brings us up to a solid 23 of 29 on the year and we are still perfect on our Game of the Week picks.

This week’s highlighted game is an under-the-radar matchup with a couple of boom or bust Canadians that could make a big impact.

NC State at No. 24 Pittsburgh (-14)
Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA
Saturday, October 3 at 9:00 a.m. PST/12:00 p.m. EST
Where to View:
ACC Network

Pittsburgh enters Week 5 of the college football season both ranked and undefeated. The Panthers have proven themselves to be a talented team this year, squeaking past ranked Louisville last week. This week, they come up against the NC State Wolfpack and when Pittsburgh has the ball, two prominent Canadians will be on the field.

From a Canuck standpoint, the biggest question going into the game is which Jared Wayne we’ll get to see. After not playing in the season opener, the sophomore from Peterborough, Ont. was Pitt’s leading receiver in the second game with 59 yards and a touchdown. All seemed set for Wayne to build on a very promising freshman season, but he followed it up by being held off the stat sheet against Louisville in 39 offensive snaps.

Pitt has a talented passing attack led by quarterback Kenny Pickett and Wayne has to be on his game if he wants targets over starters Shocky Jacques-Louis, Taysir Mack and dynamic freshman Jordan Addison. He’s more than talented enough to do so and this might be the perfect week to state his case for more looks, facing off against a young and vulnerable Wolfpack secondary.

Trying to stop the Pitt offensive attack will be Canadian defensive end Daniel Joseph. Two weeks ago, the Penn State University transfer led the way with two of NC State’s seven sacks against Wake Forest. While he didn’t get home in a blowout loss against Virginia Tech, he continued to be a disruptive speed rusher off the edge. When it comes to getting in Pickett’s face, it will be Joseph leading the charge.

Unfortunately, that might not matter as the weakness of both Joseph and the Wolfpack defence is their strength against the run. The group gave up 314 yards rushing last week as the Hokies scored 45 points. Pitt’s sophomore running back Vincent Davis is hardly a star, but he could make noise behind a strong Panthers’ offensive line. Sadly, redshirt freshman Liam Dick of Milton, Ont. will likely not suit up on that front for this game, though he has a very promising future.

While the Canadians will all be on the field with the Pitt offence and NC State defence, the reverse match-up may end up being more impactful to the outcome. Facing a quarterback controversy, NC State is expected to start redshirt sophomore Devin Leary. He’ll need a big breakout performance to overcome a stout Panthers’ defence that has 17 sacks through three games. A Zonovan Knight-led rushing attack will help ease the pressure, but expect NC State to fall flat and Pitt to win decisively.

Pick straight-up: Pittsburgh
Pick against the spread: Pittsburgh (-14)

Other Week 4 NCAA games featuring Canadians

Louisiana Tech at No. 22 BYU (-24)
CanCon: Gabe Siemieniec, PK, SR (LATech)
Pick: BYU

South Carolina at No. 3 Florida (-18)
CanCon: Lamar Goods, DL, FR (Flo)
Pick: Florida

Missouri at No. 21 Tennessee (-11.5)
CanCon: Josh Palmer, REC, SR (Ten)
Pick: Tennessee

Arkansas State (-3) at Coastal Carolina
CanCon: Enock Makonzo, LB, JR (CC), Wilt Gabe II, DE, SO (CC)
Pick: Coastal Carolina

Baylor (-3) at West Virginia
CanCon: Alonzo Addae, FS, SR (WV), Akheem Mesidor, DT, FR (WV)
Pick: West Virginia

North Alabama at Liberty
CanCon: John Kourtis, OL, SO (Lib)
Pick: Liberty

No. 13 Texas A&M at No. 2 Alabama (-18)
CanCon: John Metchie III, REC, SO (Ala)
Pick: Alabama

No. 12 North Carolina (-14) at Boston College
CanCon: Patrice Rene, CB, SR (UNC), Ezechiel Tieide, REC, SO (BC)
Pick: North Carolina

USF at No. 15 Cincinnati (-22)
CanCon: Bruno Labelle, TE, SR (Cin)
Pick: Cincinnati

No. 17 Oklahoma State (-22) at Kansas
CanCon: Chuba Hubbard, RB, JR (OKSt), Amen Ogbongbemiga, LB, SR (OKSt)
Pick: Oklahoma State

Ole Miss at Kentucky (-6)
CanCon: Tavius Robinson, OLB, JR (Miss), Deane Leonard, CB, SR (Miss)
Pick: Kentucky

Virginia at No. 1 Clemson (-28)
CanCon: Terrell Jana, REC, SR (Vir), Ajou Ajou, REC, FR (Clem)
Pick: Clemson

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.