N.C. State is now ranked 24th, Duke and UNC took tough losses and N.C. Central is 3-1 on the season. Read more about this weekend in college football.
Above: Jaylen Samuels (1) runs with the ball Saturday as N.C. State took down Syracuse. Photo from the News & Observer.
Duke Blue Devils
The outcome: The Blue Devils (4-1) fell to the Miami Hurricanes (3-0) at home by a score of 31-6 Friday night, marking their first loss of the season.
What worked?: The Blue Devils tallied 24 first downs in the game — 5 more than Miami. Duke also had the ball for longer and had plenty of chances to score in its handful of trips to the red zone. However, they twice were held to field goals and once turned the ball over as they attempted to convert on 4th down at Miami’s 13-yard line. The run defense was effective once again, holding Hurricanes star junior running back Mark Walton to just 51 yards on the ground. Duke redshirt junior wide receiver Johnathan Lloyd had a fairly good game — leading the team with nine catches for 82 yards.
What didn’t?: Duke’s secondary was exposed by Miami’s passing attack. Hurricanes redshirt junior quarterback Malik Rosier and his receivers had a field day. Rosier completed 15 of his 26 passes for 270 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Miami sophomore wide receiver Ahmmon Richards led the way with 106 receiving yards and a touchdown on just three catches. Walton — who usually does damage with his legs — had an impressive outing catching the football as well. Walton caught four passes, good for 79 yards.
What’s next?: The Blue Devils now take on the Virginia Cavaliers next Saturday on the road. Virginia has beaten Duke for the past two seasons, and this Virginia team is better than its previous two. However, I think Duke is the better team and will win this game by about 10 points.
North Carolina Central Eagles
The outcome: The Eagles (3-1) took down the Florida A&M Rattlers (2-3) 21-14 on the road Thursday night.
What worked?: NCCU’s rushing attack led the way in this one, with the Eagles tallying 130 yards and two scores on the ground. Redshirt freshman running back Isaiah Totten had 61 rushing yards and his 9-yard rushing touchdown with 2:02 left in the game was the deciding factor in the Eagles’ victory. Central also held their own when defending Florida A&M’s run game. The Eagles held the Rattlers to 73 total rushing yards — just 2.2 yards per rush.
What didn’t?: Nothing about the way N.C. Central played stood out as particularly bad. Florida A&M’s biggest numbers on offense came by throwing the football. However, the Rattlers’ passing numbers weren’t particularly impressive, either. Florida A&M sophomore quarterback Ryan Stanley completed 19 of his 33 pass attempts for 182 yards.
What’s next?: The Eagles will now travel to Washington, D.C. to take on the Howard Bison on Saturday. Look for this to be a close game, with the Eagles coming out victorious.
North Carolina Tar Heels
The outcome: The Tar Heels (1-4) were annihilated by the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-1) 33-7 on the road Saturday afternoon.
What worked?: Nearly nothing worked for North Carolina against Georgia Tech. The Tar Heels held their own defensively for most of the first half — letting the Yellow Jackets get into the end zone just once in the opening half of play. However, after spending about two-thirds of the first half on the field, the group ran out of gas. The only player for UNC to score was sophomore running back Jordon Brown, who chalked up 98 all-purpose yards and one rushing touchdown.
What didn’t?: A lot of things obviously didn’t work for the Tar Heels, who tallied just 247 yards of total offense — the third fewest under head coach Larry Fedora. On the other hand, Georgia Tech had their way with UNC and finished the game with an absurd 456 total yards. The Yellow Jackets had two rushers finish with over 100 yards. Georgia Tech junior quarterback TaQuon Marshall had 137 yards and a score on the ground, while redshirt sophomore running back Kirvonte Benson added 130 yards and a touchdown of his own. UNC’s defense simply looked exhausted in the second half — giving up two runs of over 60 yards.
What’s next?: The Tar Heels will take on the No. 21 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at home next Saturday. Notre Dame only has one loss on the season so far — against the fifth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs by one point. I expect the Fighting Irish to win this game comfortably, by about 17-21 points.
North Carolina State Wolfpack
The outcome: The Wolfpack (4-1) overcame a late rally by the Syracuse Orange (2-3) to come up with a 33-25 victory. N.C. State is now ranked 24th in both the AP and the USA Today polls — its first time being ranked since 2010.
What worked?: N.C. State’s offense was effective, and the ground game led the attack. Junior running back Nyheim Hines posted a career-high 115 rushing yards and also added a rushing touchdown. Senior all-purpose back Jaylen Samuels tallied 74 yards on the ground and also had a rushing touchdown. The Wolfpack run defense had another solid showing, as well. NC State allowed a mere 59 rushing yards to the Orange.
What didn’t?: The Wolfpack’s secondary is the Achilles’ heel of the team, and this was evident on Saturday. Syracuse junior quarterback Eric Dungey threw for 385 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Orange senior wide receiver Ervin Phillips totaled 188 receiving yards on the game. Phillips’ 17 catches shattered was also a school and ACC record. N.C. State also allowed Syracuse senior wide receiver Steve Ishmael to break the 100-yard receiving mark. Ishmael had only six catches but chalked up 120 receiving yards and a touchdown for the day.
What’s next?: The Wolfpack will now have its biggest test of the season — a Thursday night game at home against reigning Heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson and the 17th ranked Louisville Cardinals. This should be a close game, and a rockin’ Carter-Finley should help N.C. State’s chances. However, the Wolfpack’s secondary has been exposed multiple times this season, and Jackson has proved he can get the job done with his arm as well as his legs. Look for N.C. State to take a loss here, by about 10 points.