It was a winning weekend for the North Carolina Tar Heels, Duke Blue Devils and N.C. State Wolfpack. Read our recaps here.
Above: Baylor’s Dru Dixon battles Duke’s Joe Giles-Harris (44) for yardage on Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium. Photo by Bernard Thomas for the Herald-Sun.
North Carolina State Wolfpack
The outcome: The Wolfpack (2-1) demolished the Furman Paladins (0-3) 49-16 on Saturday in Carter-Finley Stadium.
What worked?: N.C. State redshirt junior quarterback Ryan Finley had another solid game, completing 22 of his 27 throws for 231 passing yards and one touchdown. Senior Jaylen Samuels had a great outing catching the football, bringing in six receptions for 75 receiving yards on the day. Redshirt senior JuMichael Ramos reeled in the lone receiving touchdown for the Wolfpack on a 30-yard pass from Finley at the end of the first quarter. However, it was the ground game that stood out in this contest. The team combined for 242 total rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. The leading rushers were junior running back Nyheim Hines and redshirt junior backup quarterback Jalan McClendon. Hines had 11 carries for 92 yards and McClendon ran the ball six times, good for 67 yards. Samuels only had 16 yards on the ground, but found himself in the endzone three times while rushing.
What didn’t?: Although the game was a blowout, as it should’ve been, there are a few things the Wolfpack must correct heading into conference play. Furman junior running back Triston Luke broke away for a 45-yard run early in the second quarter which set up another Paladin field goal, cutting the N.C. State lead to just eight points. The Wolfpack had yet another mental mistake later in the same quarter, when it lost Furman senior wide receiver Andy Schumpert. Paladin senior quarterback P.J. Blazejowski found Schumpert wide open late in the second quarter on a 71-yard bomb. This made the score a close 28-13 in the Wolfpack’s favor at halftime. However, that was the last time Furman scored, as N.C. State went on a 24-0 run to close things out.
What’s next?: N.C. State will head to Tallahassee to take on the Florida State Seminoles next Saturday. This will be telling as to how good this Wolfpack team really is. Florida State will be starting a true freshman at quarterback who has yet to take a snap in James Blackman. N.C. State could take advantage of this and have a chance to pull the upset. However, I believe the Seminoles are more talented at every other position. Look for Florida State to win this one by about two touchdowns.
Duke Blue Devils
The outcome: The Blue Devils (3-0) defeated the Baylor Bears (0-3) 34-20 at home Saturday in Wallace Wade Stadium.
What worked?: The running game was huge for the Blue Devils, as Duke racked up 246 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Senior running back Shaun Wilson had a monster game. Wilson tallied 176 rushing yards on 18 carries and had two touchdowns. Freshman running back Brittain Brown also had a strong showing, both on the ground and on the receiving end of things. Brown ran for 86 yards and a touchdown, while also adding four receptions and 71 receiving yards. The Blue Devils’ defense looked fierce yet again. The defense had three interceptions and one fumble recovery for the game. One of those interceptions happened to be a very timely pick-six from junior linebacker Ben Humphreys that extended the Duke lead to 11 at the start of the fourth quarter.
What didn’t?: Sophomore quarterback Daniel Jones didn’t have the type of monster performance he had in the team’s wins against NCCU and Northwestern. Jones was under pressure all game and was sacked five times. He completed 20 of his 35 pass attempts for 184 yards, one interception and no touchdowns.
What’s next?: Duke will take on arch-rival North Carolina next Saturday on the road in Chapel Hill in the battle for the Victory Bell. Although Duke hasn’t played any elite level competition yet, the Blue Devils have looked good. Even with a rough showing from Jones this past weekend, the running game and defense showed the ability to pick up the slack. Look for Jones to air it out often Saturday against a very suspect UNC secondary. It will be a close one, but I expect Duke to pull out a win by about 7-10 points against the Tar Heels.
North Carolina Tar Heels
The outcome: The Tar Heels (1-2) picked up their first win of the season against the Old Dominion Monarchs (2-1) 53-23 on Saturday afternoon in Norfolk, Virginia.
What worked?: Redshirt freshman quarterback Chazz Surratt started for the Tar Heels, again, and had a pretty good showing. Surratt completed 16 of his 24 passes, good for 247 passing yards and a touchdown. The run game for North Carolina also was huge in the win. Sophomore running back Jordon Brown had a monster game, running for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman running back Michael Carter also pitched in with his fair share. Carter finished the contest with 67 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
What didn’t?: The North Carolina defense and special teams units made key mental mistakes, again. Old Dominion answered a 25-0 Tar Heel start by returning a kickoff 100 yards for its first score of the game. The second Monarch touchdown came when freshman quarterback Steven Williams connected with junior wide receiver Travis Fulgham on a 71-yard pass that completely exposed the Tar Heel secondary. The secondary’s inability to cover deep will be a huge liability as North Carolina moves into ACC play and takes on better quarterbacks and faster receivers.
What’s next?: North Carolina plays its arch-rival, the Duke Blue Devils at home in Kenan Memorial Stadium, next Saturday. This game should be close, but I expect the Tar Heels to lose by a narrow margin. Duke has shown the ability to get the job done through the air and on the ground, and UNC’s defense has given us plenty of reason for doubt. Look for the Tar Heels to lose by about 7-10 points.
North Carolina Central Eagles: Bye week