College football previews: No. 15 NC State travels to No. 18 Syracuse; Duke-UNC going for Victory Bell

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2022

By John Kekis

AP Sports Writer

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse is in rarefied air, unbeaten after five games for the first time in 35 years and ranked No. 18 as its season reaches the midpoint. The players say that’s what they expected — and they don’t want it to end.

“We want to keep winning,” quarterback Garrett Shrader said. “The rankings and all that stuff doesn’t necessarily matter. If we take care of business, the scoreboard should be in our favor at the end of the game.”

Easier said than done against the next foe, No. 15 North Carolina State (5-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), which visits on Saturday. The Wolfpack (13-2 against Syracuse) and the Orange are in the hunt for the Atlantic Division title.

“It’s going to be a great challenge for us offensively,” North Carolina State coach Dave Doeren said. “And I know it’ll be loud.”

More than 45,000 tickets have been sold for the first game in Syracuse featuring two top-20 teams since 1998.

N.C. State is coming off a comeback win against Florida State, a victory secured by the Wolfpack’s veteran defense after halftime and the reliable leg of kicker Christopher Dunn. But offense was a struggle, and that was even before quarterback and preseason ACC player of the year Devin Leary was  injured in the third quarter.

If Leary can’t play, Charleston Southern graduate transfer Jack Chambers would take over the offense. He attempted only one pass last week in relief of Leary with the Wolfpack leaning on the ground game.

N.C. State ran for 182 yards against FSU, its highest output in any game against a Bowl Subdivision opponent.

Syracuse and N.C. State have the top two defenses statistically in the ACC. The Orange lead in total defense, allowing 271.6 yards and 14 points per game. That’s just ahead of the Wolfpack’s 297.8 yards allowed and 15.7 points per game allowed. Syracuse also ranks second against the run (95).

Last season, N.C. State scored 28 points in the second quarter and beat Syracuse 41-17 at Carter-Finley Stadium. Leary was 17-for-24 passing for 303 yards and two touchdowns.

“We definitely want to get back at these guys from last year,” Shrader said. “We felt like we were a much better team (than we showed). We just didn’t perform that well.”

No. 15 North Carolina State (5-1, 1-1 ACC) at No. 18 Syracuse (5-0, 2-0), Saturday, 3:30 p.m.  (ACC Network)

Line: Syracuse by 31/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: NC State leads 13-2.

Rivals North Carolina, Duke meet again for Victory Bell

By The Associated Press undefined

North Carolina and Duke are set to renew their football rivalry. The Tar Heels visit the Blue Devils on Saturday seeking a 3-0 start in Atlantic Coast Conference play. UNC can win a second road game in league play as well. That has helped UNC become the front-runner in the always-unpredictable Coastal Division. Duke is coming off a loss to Georgia Tech. The Blue Devils have had a successful start under first-year coach Mike Elko. The Tar Heels’ defense has struggled this year. It will face a quarterback in Riley Leonard who has failed to throw for 200 yards in either of the past two games.

North Carolina (5-1, 2-0 ACC) at Duke (4-2, 1-1), Saturday, 7:30 p.m.  (ACC Network)

North Carolina’s offense has carried it to front-runner status in the league’s always-unpredictable Coastal Division race. The Tar Heels are 2-0 in the league and can add a second road win by beating the rival Blue Devils, who stumbled at Georgia Tech in what has otherwise been a successful start under first-year coach Mike Elko.

The Tar Heels’ defense has been shaky all season, surrendering 32 points and 465.3 yards per game to rank at the bottom of the ACC in both categories. That unit now faces Duke QB Riley Leonard, who hasn’t had the same success of late in moving the ball through the air. Leonard has two 300-yard passing games but threw for 129 yards in a win against Virginia and 136 yards in last weekend’s loss to Georgia Tech.

UNC QB Drake Maye, a second-year passer, is third in the Bowl Subdivision ranks with 21 touchdowns compared to just three interceptions.

UNC has won three straight meetings in the longtime rivalry and coach Mack Brown has won his last 11 matchups with Duke going back to his first tenure with the program, a streak that began in 1990.

The winner gets the Victory Bell, a cart carrying a former railroad engine bell used in the rivalry in the late 1940s. The winner typically paints the cart its shade of light or dark blue.

Line: UNC by 7, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: The schools disagree. UNC says it leads 64-40-4. Duke says UNC leads 63-41-4.


AP Sports Writer Aaron Beard in North Carolina and freelance writer Mark Frank in Syracuse contributed to this report.


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