It’s yet another day of big challenges for the Triangle’s Division I football teams, as once again most of them are underdogs.
The only favorite in the bunch in N.C. State (4-2, 0-2 ACC), which will host Boston College (3-2, 0-1) at 3:30 p.m. (FOX Sports Carolinas) at Carter-Finley Stadium in an attempt to stop a two-game losing streak.
And everyone else is on the road.
Duke (4-1, 0-1) will visit No. 22 Georgia Tech (5-0, 2-0) at 12:30 p.m. (WRAL). N.C. Central (2-3, 1-0 MEAC) will travel to South Carolina State for a 2 p.m. contest. And UNC (2-3) visits No. 6 Notre Dame (5-0) at 3:30 (WNCN).
N.C. State vs. Boston College
This one seems to be a must win for the Wolfpack if it’s hoping to have a strong winning season.
State is coming off a blowout loss at Clemson following a thriller of a defeat to Florida State.
“Boston College is a very physical team, a great football running team and team that comes after you defensively with a lot of different pressures,” NCSU coach Dave Doeren said. “You’ve got to be able to not allow them to create take aways and stay on track offensively because your possessions are limited. They are very good with ball, time of possession and just got to make every offensive series count and do the best we can to create some take aways on defense to keep it away from them. Coach Addazio does a nice job and so does his staff. We’ll look forward to the contest.”
BC leads the series 7-4, beating the Wolfpack 38-12 last season last season in Chestnut Hill.
State is a three-point favorite.
N.C. Central at S.C. State
Jerry Mack got his first win as NCCU coach last week with an exciting home victory over Howard, but this week the Eagles travel to an old nemesis with a very tough place to play.
“As the season goes the chemistry comes together and you start feeling a little more comfortable in the system,” Mack said. “Offense, defense and special teams all came together (against Howard.) … Saturday is going to be a big challenge for us. We’re trying to move up to where the Bethune-Cookmans and South Carolina States are. We’re going to have to win a physical football game.”
The Bulldogs lead the series 12-9, including a 44-3 rout last season in Durham.
The Dunkel Index has the Eagles as 17-point underdogs.
UNC at Notre Dame
Every ACC member will get a meeting with the Irish at least once every three years, and once every six years at home.
The Tar Heels’ first meeting under the agreement will be on the road against the best Notre Dame team in a long time.
“I think we have gotten better each week defensively,” UNC coach Larry Fedora said. “If you look from the East Carolina debacle on to Clemson and the missed assignments for big plays, and last week the turnovers, we gave up 21 points on turnovers, you know, so I mean, really defensively we gave up one drive, one good drive, and other than that, we played some pretty good defense. We missed some tackles early but we started getting more people to the ball, and that’s the key. We’ve got to get multiple hats to the ball. We’ve got to swarm the ball carrier, and if we do that and get off on third down, we’ve got a chance.”
Notre Dame leads the series 16-2, with both losses in Chapel Hill. UNC won 29-24 in the most recent meeting in 2008.
The Tar Heels are 16 1/2-point underdogs.
Duke at Georgia Tech
Duke is coming off a tough loss at Miami two weeks ago, and faces a must-win situation to have a chance to repeat as Coastal Division champion.
The Blue Devils have scored plenty of points this season, but will probably need plenty of time of possession to stave off the Yellow Jackets.
Duke coach David Cutcliffe is 0-6 against the option-oriented Yellow Jackets.
“They’ve turned the ball over four times and we’ve turned it over five,” Cutcliffe said. “They have nine takeaways, we have nine takeaways. It’s a nice little collision waiting to happen, and we’ll just have to see. It’s going to be fun to see who wins that battle. Last year, oddly enough as bad as they beat us, we won that battle. But to me, that’s what you want to play a game for. They’re a well-coached team that challenges you. I hope we’re a well-coached team that challenges them. Something is going to give. That’s what we all hope to coach and play the game for. I’m excited about that, to be honest with you.”
Georgia Tech, which won 38-14 last year in Durham, leads the series 50-30-1 and has won 10 straight over Duke.
The Blue Devils are 3 1/2-point underdogs.
Last week’ three stars
1. Malcolm Bell, QB, NCCU. Bell completed 20 of 30 passes for 245 yards and TDs, running for a team-best 66 ground yards.
2. C.J. Moore, S, NCCU. Moore had nine tackles including seven solos and two for losses along with a forced fumble and an interception.
3. Clevonne Davis, OL, NCCU. Davis anchored a line that produced for 392 yards total offense, recording five pancake blocks.