No. 14 Tar Heels, No. 23 Wolfpack renew instate rivalry
No. 23 North Carolina State (4-1, 4-1 ACC) at No. 14 North Carolina (3-1, 3-1), Saturday at noon ET (ESPN).
Line: UNC by 15.
Series record: UNC leads 67-36-6.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The Tar Heels took a big tumble in the AP Top 25 after a surprising loss at Florida State, falling nine spots from their first top-5 ranking since 1997. They’ll try to regroup from their first loss in nearly a year when they host the Wolfpack in the first matchup between the instate rivals when both are ranked since 1993. Both teams are looking to stay within reach of No. 1 Clemson and No. 3 Notre Dame atop the league race.
N.C. State’s run defense will have a tough task slowing UNC running backs Michael Carter and Javonte Williams. Carter is the league’s No. 3 rusher (119.5 yards per game) and Williams is fifth (100.5), and both have proven capable of making big plays either with a run or catching a pass out of the backfield. The Wolfpack allowed 101 yards rushing per game during three straight wins, while linebacker Payton Wilson is the ACC’s top tackler at 11 stops per game. Wilson had 19 tackles against Duke for the highest total by a Wolfpack player since 2012 to go with two interceptions.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
N.C. State: QB Bailey Hockman. The Wolfpack lost starting quarterback Devin Leary to a leg injury against Duke and he could miss the rest of the regular season. That puts Hockman in line for his third start this year after winning a shootout with Wake Forest and losing at Virginia Tech before Leary fully took over the job.
UNC: WR Beau Corrales. Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome are the top two targets in the passing game for the Tar Heels, but Corrales showed his big-play potential in the FSU loss. He had four catches for a career-high 141 yards and a touchdown in that one, giving quarterback Sam Howell a 6-foot-3 downfield target.
FACTS & FIGURES
N.C. State had won three straight meetings before UNC won 41-10 on the road last November. … N.C. State coach Dave Doeren is 3-0 in UNC’s Kenan Stadium. … UNC has lost seven games since the start of last season, all by seven or fewer points. … UNC coach Mack Brown lost his first five meetings with N.C. State during his first coaching stint with the Tar Heels before winning the last five.
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