Saturday, October 24, 2020, Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, noon ET
Wolfpack at Tar Heels Betting Preview: Wolfpack (+16.5), Tar Heels (-16.5)
North Carolina State Wolfpack
North Carolina State has won three games in a row to move into No. 23 poll spot and make this meeting the first time in 27 years that both the Wolfpack (4-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) and the Tar Heels will go into their meeting as ranked teams. It is just the third time overall that has happened in the series.
“I know how big this game is to NC State, former players, boosters, alums, all those things,” Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said. “So I take a lot of pride in being able to deliver that to our fan base.”
The Wolfpack, however, may not be the same offensive team it has been in its three-game winning streak. Quarterback Devin Leary suffered a broken leg in the third quarter of the Wolfpack’s 31-20 win over Duke last week and could miss the rest of the season following surgery.
That throws the starting job back to Bailey Hockman, who had missed results in the two games he started to begin the season. He was 16 of 23 passing for 191 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the opening 45-42 win over Wake Forest but was only seven of 16 for 82 yards with two picks and no scores in the 45-24 loss toVirginia Tech the next week.
That gave the job to Leary, who missed considerable time in the preseason because of coronavirus contact tracing. Leary completed 60 percent of his passes for 890 yards and eight touchdowns against only two interceptions before his injury.
“He needs to trust the protection when it’s there and give his receivers time to get open,” Doeren said of Hockman. “If things break down, he needs to use his feet, because he can run.”
North Carolina Tar Heels
Coach Mack Brown is hoping that his No. 14 Tar Heels will take their 31-28 loss at Florida State as a wake-up call. The Tar Heels (3-1, 3-1 ACC) saw a late rally fall short because of dropped passes.
The Tar Heels entered the game ranked No. 5 but fell behind the unranked Seminoles 24-0 in the first half.
“We walked in a little cool and then got hit right in the mouth and had to stop that surge and then respond back in the second half,” Brown said. “That’s something that we’ve got to do. We’ve got to learn how to handle that.”
The Tar Heels shut out the Seminoles in the second half, but did allow the ‘Noles to rush for 254 yards with La’Damian going for 109 and quarterback Jordan Travis for 107.
Injured cornerback Storm Duck (four tackles and two pass breakups in two games) will remain out for the Tar Heels.
Quarterback Sam Howell passed for 374 yards and three touchdowns in the loss to Florida State. For the season, the sophomore has completed 64.7 percent of his 119 passes for 1,151 yards, but he also has throwm four interceptions.
Wolfpack at Tar Heels Betting Pick for October 24, 2020
The rushing yardage the Tar Heels gave up at Florida State is a concern as they face the the Wolfpack’s two-prong rushing attack. Ricky Person Jr. and Zonovan Knight have combined for about 138 yards a game rushing and also have combined for 16 receptions for another 174 yards. Hockman will have to come through to give the Wolfpack a chance.
Wolfpack at Tar Heels Betting Pick:
Tar Heels 42, Wolfpack 28
Wolfpack at Tar Heels Best Bet for October 24, 2020
The Tar Heels have a pair of running backs averaging in triple digits in rushing in Michael Carter (119.5) and Javonte Williams (100.5) and a proven passer in Howell. Howell passed for 401 yards as the Tar Heels romped 41-10 in last year’s meeting with the Wolfpack.
Wolfpack at Tar Heels Best Bet: OVER 63.5
–Field Level Media