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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Upset opportunities abound for local football teams today

Posted by on Sat, Sep 27, 2014 at 1:34 AM

click to enlarge State's Shadrach Thornton may need a big game today for the Wolfpack to score a major upset. - FILE PHOTO BY KIM KELLAM
  • File photo by Kim Kellam
  • State's Shadrach Thornton may need a big game today for the Wolfpack to score a major upset.

It's been a while since all three ACC football teams in the Triangle were underdogs on the same day.

But that will be the case today when one team plays at home and two on the road.

The highest-profile contest of the three is at N.C. State (4-0), where the Wolfpack will host No. 1-ranked Florida State (3-0) at 3:30 p.m. (WTVD) at Carter-Finley Stadium in the ACC opener for both teams.

UNC (2-1) opens its ACC schedule at 7 p.m. (ESPNU) at Clemson (1-2, 0-1 ACC), while Duke (4-0) does the same at Miami (2-2, 0-1) at 8 (ESPN2).

N.C. Central (1-3) is idle.

N.C. State vs. Florida State

This is the biggest opportunity any Triangle team has today.

After a close opener against Georgia Southern the Wolfpack has blown past outmanned opposition and has already won more games than last season.

And the Seminoles' last two visits to Raleigh have ended with the visiting team leaving with a stinging defeat.

"They're a great team," Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said. "On offense, the No. 1 receiver probably in college football there, and as many good receivers as Florida State has had, (Rashad) Greene is potentially going to be the only guy ever to be their leading receiver for four years in a row, which says a lot about him. Nick O'Leary, the tight end, I mean, those two guys are weapons.

"Obviously Jameis (Winston) is hard to deal with and a very, very accurate player. They have five seniors on their O-line. They did lose two great receivers a year ago, so you see where the ball is going a little bit more with the tight end in Greene. But on defense there's a lot of new faces in there. A lot has been said about Eddie Goldman. I think he's a great defensive tackle and does a tremendous job two-gapping people and penetrating and causing disruption on the defensive side of the ball."

FSU leads the all-time series 23-11, but the Wolfpack won 17-16 here in 2012 and 28-24 in 2010.

The Vegas line has the Wolfpack as 18 1/2-point underdogs.

UNC at Clemson

The Tar Heels had a tough day a week ago with their 70-41 loss at East Carolina.

But an upset at Death Valley would change the public perception of the program pretty quickly.

The teams used to play every year, but the most recent meeting was a 59-38 home win by the Tigers in 2011.

"Defensively at every position, they can run, they really can run," UNC coach Larry Fedora said of the Tigers. "Their defensive line is extremely quick, aggressive. They get after it. They can fly around. They do a great job. Their linebackers can run. Their secondary does a tremendous job. They can play you in 'man' at the corners and hold up against anybody. Offensively you look at them, and I think now they may have settled down on the young quarterback. The scheme that they run is going to put them in a position to make quite a few explosive plays."

The Tigers lead the all-time series 35-19-1.

The Vegas line has the Tar Heels as 14 1/2-point underdogs.

Duke at Miami

Duke has breezed through its opposition so far, but somehow still is not in the Top 25.

Perhaps the voters are waiting to see how Duke does in its first big road test.

Duke upset the Hurricanes 48-30 in Durham last season.

"Well, obviously this is our biggest test of the year, an extremely talented Miami team," Cutcliffe said. "I've been really impressed with them on both sides of the ball. I think they've got a dynamic young quarterback and a great, great player at tailback and a bunch of other weapons on offense, and then maybe their best weapon offense is their offensive line. I think they're tremendous. And then defensively it's strength, it's power, it's speed. They've really put together a blend of defense, and they've played a tough schedule. They're a really good football team, so we're going to have to be at our best."

Miami leads the all-time series 9-2.

The Vegas line has the Blue Devils as 6 1/2-point underdogs.

Last week's three stars

1. Takoby Cofield, OT, Duke. Cofield led an offensive line that helped the Blue Devils amass 437 yards on 70 snaps in the 47-13 rout of Tulane, and ACC offensive lineman of the week.

2. Jacoby Brissett, QB, N.C. State. The junior completed 14 of 25 passes for 195 yards and three TDs and ran for another in the 42-0 romp over Presbyterian.

3. Anthony Boone, QB, Duke. The senior completed 15 of 27 passes for 181 yards and rushed for 42 yards and a TD.

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