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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tar Heels home today while State, Duke get huge road tests

Posted by on Sat, Sep 29, 2012 at 1:39 AM

It’s Week 5 of the college season, and although a lot of football has been played it’s still very unclear how Triangle campaigns are going to pan out.

Today’s road games for Duke and N.C. State may begin to give a clearer indication.

UNC quarterback Bryn Renner.


Only one local team is at home and that’s UNC (2-2),
which will host first-time foe Idaho (0-4) at 3:30 p.m. at Kenan Stadium. The Tar Heels whipped East Carolina 27-6 last week while the Vandals fell 40-37 to Wyoming.

N.C. State (3-1) will play its conference opener at noon
at Miami (3-1), which is already 2-0 in ACC action. State annihilated The Citadel 52-14 last week while Miami shocked Georgia Tech 42-36 on the road.

Duke (3-1), meanwhile, faces the game that could determine how its season goes when it travels to Wake Forest (3-1, 1-0 ACC) for its ACC opener at 12:30 p.m. in a game to be shown on WRAL. The Blue Devils walloped Memphis 38-14 last week while the Deacons were topping Army 49-37.

N.C. Central (2-2, 1-0 MEAC), which will take on conference foe South Carolina State in the Circle City Classic next week in Indianapolis, is idle.

UNC vs. Idaho
UNC is a 27-point favorite over the Vandals, members of the Western Athletic Conference.

Bryn Renner has completed 90 of 144 passes for 1191 yards and 11 touchdowns with just three interceptions for the Tar Heels. Erik Highsmith has caught 22 for 243 yards and a TD, while A.J. Blue has carried 37 times for 203 yards and three scores.

Idaho’s Dominique Blackman has completed 87 of 119 for 837 yards with six TDs and five interceptions. Najee Lovett has caught 22 for 222 yards and two TDs.

“I’d like to see a great energy level throughout the entire game for 60 minutes,” UNC coach Larry Fedora said. “I’d like to see us play a complete game (with) improvement made from last week in each of the three phases of the game. I think we’re slowly getting better each week, and overcoming some of the problems that we've had. If we can keep building and put one brick on top of another, we’ll eventually have that wall built.”

N.C. State at Miami

Miami leads the series with the Wolfpack 7-5-1 and is a 2½-point favorite. The teams haven’t met since 2008, when State won 38-28 in Raleigh.

Mike Glennon has completed 85 of 134 for 982 yards and six TDs with four interceptions for State. Quinton Payton has 17 catches for 338 yards and a TD, while Shadrach Thornton has carried 21 times for 145 yards and two TDs.

Miami’s Stephen Morris has completed 98 of 158 for 1069 yards and four TDs with three interceptions. Duke Johnson has rushed 40 times for 320 yards and four TDs.

“Certainly we look forward to the opportunity to play a conference game,” State coach Tom O’Brien said. “Going on the road to Miami, a team that really had a great victory this past weekend at Georgia Tech, is really important. Their quarterback had a great day throwing the football, with all kind of record numbers for him. Certainly, as always with Miami, they have great skill, great speed, great change of direction and great explosiveness. It will be a big challenge for us, but we look forward to the opportunity.”

Duke at Wake Forest
Duke, which leads the series 53-37-2 has a head-scratching 12-game losing streak against the Deacons, and have never beaten them during Jim Grobe’s 11-year tenure at the Wake helm. The Deacons won 24-23 last season in Durham and are three-point favorites.

Duke’s Sean Renfree has completed 99 of 140 passes for 1078 yards and nine TDs with four interceptions. Conner Vernon has 29 catches for 400 yards and three TDs.

Wake’s Tanner Price has completed 66 of 112 passes for 825 yards and three TDs with two interceptions. Michael Campanaro has 36 catches for 421 yards and three TDs.

“It is critical to compete well and play well on the road if you are going to have a chance to compete in our league,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “We have that test right off that bat, with a team that has beaten us since we’ve been here, so it’s going to be a great challenge. I have great respect for Coach Grobe and great respect for the program that Wake Forest has and what he has accomplished there. This is an opportunity to test ourselves against an extremely well-coached football team, an opportunity to go see if we can play well on the road in the ACC, there are a lot of questions that we can find answers to.”

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