Miami is in the pursuit of a spot in the ACC championship. Its latest test comes this Friday as the Canes head to Raleigh, North Carolina to face off against the NC State Wolfpack. The Wolfpack has lost two games so far, both opponents ranked at the time. Miami will look to be the third ranked opponent to defeat them, in the ESPN televised matchup. While they are dealing with different results this season, we have the Miami vs. NC State preview.
Miami vs. NC State
Shake Off The Rust
It’s rare to see a game in which both opponents are coming off of a bye week. Both teams will look to start fast and shake off the rust. Before the bye week, NC State put out its lowest output on offense scoring only 21 points in the loss against North Carolina. Coincidentally, Miami also didn’t have its best offensive showing against Virginia either, scoring only 19 points. Both teams have injuries which might have hindered both offenses. For NC State, starting quarterback Devin Leary is missed but will be out due to a broken fibula. As for the Hurricanes, junior tight end Brevin Jordan will be back in action after missing two games because of shoulder issues.
NC State comes in with a bit of a reputation of giving up the big play, and come in allowing 34 points on defense. The offense also has to find a new identity with their starting quarterback injured. Bailey Hockman takes over with three passing touchdowns and four interceptions. The Hurricanes will try to take advantage of those issues as D’Eriq King and the Hurricanes offense come in after a 300 yard performance against Virginia. Senior Mike Harley had his best performance of his career catching ten passes for 170 yards and a touchdown.
While the passing attack looks to be on an uptick, the run game hasn’t been as strong as earlier in the season. Running back Cam’Ron Harris opened up the season with back to back 130 yard rushing performances and has since failed to have more than 43 yards. Miami will try to get him to the form he opened the season up with against the 3-3-5 defense of NC State. That will not be an easy task as linebacker Payton Wilson has been one of the best linebackers in the ACC. Drake Thomas will compliment Wilson getting to the running back in the backfield as he leads the team in tackles for loss.
Miami seems to like their positioning as they continue to churn out wins however they come. The Hurricanes even with a 5-1 record, have plenty areas to improve on. This game against NC State will show how much progress they’ve made in those areas. Head Coach Manny Diaz also has to show that he can prepare his team after a bye week as the team is winless in his tenure after a bye week.