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College Football: Today’s ACC previews

Associated Press
Today’s ACC preview …
ATLANTA ó Georgia Tech’s spread option offense won’t be new to North Carolina.
That won’t make it easy to defend.
“By us seeing it last year, it’s nothing new to us,” said North Carolina strong safety Da’Norris Searcy. “We’ve just got to go out there and remember to do our assignment.”
The No. 22 Tar Heels, 3-0 for first time in 12 years, will look for their second straight win over the Yellow Jackets today. North Carolina has lost five straight at Georgia Tech since its last win in Atlanta in 1997.
North Carolina coach Butch Davis says he knows last year’s 28-7 win in Chapel Hill didn’t mean his Tar Heels shut down the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech was the ranked team ó also at No. 22 ó when it rushed for 326 yards but was shut out for the first three quarters by North Carolina last season. The Yellow Jackets were hurt by two lost fumbles, an interception, two missed field goals and two failed fourth-down conversions.
“They’ve added some things, some misdirection, to get the ball on the perimeter that last year weren’t really truly there for them just because of the added talent they’ve got on their roster,” Davis said.
N.C. STATE
RALEIGH ó North Carolina State’s offense has gone from inept to fluid in the span of a few weeks ó thanks partly to a breather in the schedule.
The Wolfpack will find out today whether it has really made the kind of improvement needed to compete in ACC when N.C. State hosts Pittsburgh.
After the Panthers game, N.C. State plays eight straight ACC games to close the season. Saturday’s contest could reveal a lot about both teams: Do the Wolfpack really have found an offense to whether the Panthers are good enough to make a run at the Big East Conference title.
N.C. State (2-1) couldn’t find the end zone and managed a meager 133 total yards in the 7-3 opening loss against South Carolina. In the two games since, however, the Wolfpack has gotten things going against Football Championship Subdivision opponents to get some confidence back.
First came a 65-7 win against Murray State in which the Wolfpack scored on its first 10 drives. Then came a 45-14 win against Gardner-Webb, with Russell Wilson throwing for four touchdowns each time and setting an NCAA record for most pass attempts without an interception.
WAKE FOREST
BOSTON ó Boston College’s first three games haven’t done much to help coach Frank Spaziani settle on a starting quarterback.
In fact, they more likely have opened the door for third-stringer Mike Marscovetra.
After the school’s worst offensive game in 30 years, Spaziani declined to announce who would start at quarterback in today’s game against Wake Forest. Both Dave Shinskie and Justin Tuggle will play, Spaziani indicated, and there are signs that Shinskie would get his first collegiate start after Tuggle started the first three games.
Wake Forest (2-1) has already shown that.
Riley Skinner is coming off a career-high 289 passing yards in a 35-7 victory over Elon. But he hasn’t had much success against BC: He has thrown for three touchdowns in three games against the Eagles while throwing seven interceptions.
DUKEDURHAM ó Finally, the silver lining in Duke’s season-opening loss to Richmond: As long as the Blue Devils beat North Carolina Central, that defeat won’t really matter.
Teams may count only one victory per season over a Football Championship Subdivision team toward the six needed for bowl eligibility ó and while the Blue Devils failed to claim that win in Week 1, they’ve got another shot tonight against winless Division I newcomer N.C. Central.
Now that the Blue Devils (1-2) need five more wins to become bowl eligible, they view their second FCS opponent as their final chance to get things rolling before ACC play begins.

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