College football previews: With No. 10 NC State vs. No. 5 Clemson, Wolfpack seeking landmark victory

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 30, 2022

By Pete Iacobelli

AP Sports Writer

CLEMSON, S.C. — No. 10 North Carolina State understands what it takes to beat Clemson. The Wolfpack would sure like to add a second-straight landmark win over the Tigers on Saturday night.

The Wolfpack (4-0) open Atlantic Coast Conference play with a critical game. Top the Tigers (4-0, 2-0 ACC) and North Carolina State has an early leg up — along with a tiebreaker if both schools finish with the same league mark — in the ACC Atlantic Division.

N.C. State quarterback Devin Leary said last year’s win over then-ninth-ranked Clemson was certainly a confidence builder for a team that had lost its previous eight to the Tigers.

That victory at home showed “we can compete with the best as long as we prepare and do our jobs,” said Leary, the ACC preseason player of the year. “I think we got a little bit of a taste of that last year.”

Plenty of eyes will be on this contest, NC State’s first top-10 matchup. ESPN is in town with “GameDay” and Memorial Stadium is sold out.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney knows how difficult the Wolfpack can be. “We’ve had some games here and there that got out of hand, but most of them have been hard-fought games,” he said. “I’m sure this will be the same.”

The Tigers have relied on a rejuvenated offense under quarterback DJ Uiagalele i to stay perfect. Uiagalelei had thrown for 10 touchdowns this season. He went toe-to-toe with Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman in Clemson’s 51-45 OT won over the Demon Deacons last week.

Clemson is on a 10-game win streak, the longest in the Bowl Subdivision. The Tigers also have won their past 36 games at home, a stretch that dates to Pitt’s 43-42 victory at Death Valley on Nov. 12, 2016.

Clemson administrators have tracked Hurricane Ian’s projected path and believe conditions will not make the field unplayable come kickoff.

No. 10 North Carolina State (4-0, 0-0 ACC) at No. 5 Clemson (4-0, 2-0), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. (ABC)

Line: Clemson by 7, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Clemson leads 59-21-1

Unbeaten No. 23 Florida State hosts No. 22 Wake Forest

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State is just the second team in Atlantic Coast Conference history to start one season 0-4 and open the next 4-0. And it’s been nearly 40 years since Virginia’s turnaround in 1982-83.

Through two losing seasons under new coach Mike Norvell, there were hard lessons for Florida State. Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis said. “I’m very happy for this football team. I’m proud of everybody on this football team because we’ve been through a lot together. That’s the main thing.”

Ranked for the first time in four years, Florida State (4-0, 2-0 ACC) now begins a daunting three-game stretch that begins Saturday with a visit from No. 22 Wake Forest (3-1, 0-1). The upcoming slate also includes games at No. 10 N.C. State and then back home for No. 5 Clemson on Oct. 15.

Wake Forest controlled the 2021 matchup 35-14 that included six takeaways. Wake Forest is coming off a 51-45 double-overtime loss to No. 5 Clemson.

The challenge for the Demon Deacons is getting back up emotionally from falling just short in a game that was so close to a huge win for Dave Clawson’s reigning Atlantic Division champions.

“At the end of the game, we believed we were going to win that game,” Clawson said. “We didn’t and we’re disappointed. That’s football and that’s life. So you’ve got to move on to the next challenge. And the next challenge is a very daunting one.”

For Clawson, there was little to fault in his team’s effort and preparation. So his message to the players afterward was looking forward to what they can do next.

“They showed us what they can do and how they can prepare and how they can play,” Clawson said. “And let’s do it every week. That is the standard.”

No. 22 Wake Forest (3-1, 0-1 ACC) at No. 23 Florida State (4-0, 2-0), Saturday, 3:30 p.m.  (ABC)

Line: Florida State by 6 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Florida State leads 30-8-1.

Tar Heels, Hokies hoping to bounce back

North Carolina hosts Virginia Tech on Saturday with both teams are coming off losses at home.

The Tar Heels lost to Notre Dame to spoil a 3-0 start. The Hokies lost to West Virginia.

The Tar Heels are led by quarterback Drake Maye, who is tied for the national lead with 16 touchdown passes. The Hokies offense is led by quarterback Grant Wells, who has five touchdowns and five interceptions.

UNC is coming off its first loss with last week’s stumble to Notre Dame behind another poor defensive performance.

Virginia Tech QB Grant Wells, a Marshall transfer, has thrown five touchdown passes but has also thrown five interceptions.

Virginia Tech has won five of six and seven of nine meetings with UNC. The Hokies are also 38-10 all-time against teams from the state of North Carolina.

Virginia Tech (2-2, 1-0 ACC) at North Carolina (3-1, 0-0), Saturday, 3:30 p.m.  (ACC Network)

Line: North Carolina by 8 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Virginia Tech leads 25-13-6.


Blue Devils, Cavaliers seek first ACC win under new coaches

Duke hosts Virginia on Saturday in matchup of first-year coaches.

The Blue Devils are led by Mike Elko, who led Duke to a 3-0 start before a loss at Kansas.

The Cavaliers are led by Tony Elliott, whose team lost to Syracuse in their league opener.

Virginia has won seven straight meetings against Duke. The Blue Devils have lost 13 straight ACC games dating to the 2020 season. The key matchup will be a Duke offense that has surrendered the fewest sacks against a Virginia defense that has the most in the league.

The Blue Devils have surrendered an ACC-low four sacks of QB Riley Leonard through four games. The Cavaliers have recorded an ACC-best 14 sacks.

Virginia QB Brennan Armstrong, a fifth-year player, threw for more than 4,400 yards and 31 touchdowns last year but has failed to crack the 200-yard mark in two of four games this year.

Virginia has won seven straight meetings, including last year’s 48-0 home win.  Duke’s last win in the series came in 2014 (20-13) at home.

Virginia (2-2, 0-1 ACC) at Duke (3-1, 0-0), Saturday, 7:30 p.m.  (RSN)

Line: Duke by 2 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Virginia leads 40-33.

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