Thursday, December 2, 2021

# 18 North Carolina State Defense Challenges Miami

No. 18 NC State (5-1, 2-0 ACC) in Miami (2-4, 0-2) Saturday at 7:30 pm EDT (ESPN2).

Row: 3 1/2 North Carolina State, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series Record: Miami leads 10-5-1.

WHAT’S THE BET?

For North Carolina, this is a chance to extend the program’s best start in four seasons; Wolfpack last opened the season 6-1 overall and 3-0 in an ACC game in 2017. And winning will keep them in the top 25 NWN for a fifth straight week, the longest running school in the poll since then. 2002. Meanwhile, any remaining hope for Miami to return to the coastal race likely hinges on how the Hurricanes find a way to win this game.

KEY MATCHUP

Miami in third place against the North Carolina state defense: The Wolf Pack leads the nation in third down defense, allowing them only 25% of the time. The Hurricanes had 8 of 16 appearances against North Carolina last week but can’t afford to finish third on Saturday.

PLAYERS WATCH

State of North Carolina: QB Devin Leary. He is close to the highest ranked quarterback in North Carolina since Philip Rivers in 2003.

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Miami: RB Ceylan Knighton. With Kam’Ron Harris (knee) this season, Knighton has become a loyal sidekick for the Hurricanes.

FACTS AND FIGURES

The state of North Carolina is ranked 18th in the NWN Top 25 after a week-long stay at 16th in mid-2018. … Miami is one of only two teams that have never led an ACC game this season; Boston College is different. … The Hurricanes have scored in 20 of 24 quarters this season; The North Carolina state defense did not allow a single point to be scored in 13 of 24 quarters. … Miami has won the last three meetings and seven of the last nine between schools. North Carolina has not defeated the Hurricanes since two straight wins in 2007 and 2008. … With the exception of matches in the ACC title, teams will not play again until at least 2025.

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More on NWN College Football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25. Subscribe to the NWN College Football Newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25

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