NC Football Previews: UNC and App State hit the road; NC State and Wake play host

Tar Heels looking for first win; Deacons trying to stay undefeated

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons take the field before their game against Presbyterian on Aug. 31 at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem. (Eamon Queeney / North State Journal)

App State at Texas State
Bobcat Stadium, San Marcos, Texas  |  Saturday, 7 p.m.  |  ESPN3

Preview: Both teams are 1-1 on the season with disastrous trips into Power Five territory. App State lost 31-10 at Georgia in the opener. Texas State lost at Colorado, 37-3, last week.

Players to watch: Texas State linebacker Easy Anyama returned from an injury that limited him to three games last year. He had two sacks, forced a fumble and blocked an extra point in the opener, winning Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week honors. Mountaineers quarterback Taylor Lamb tied a school record by throwing for five touchdowns last week, despite not playing in the second half.

Fast fact: Texas State defensive coordinator Randall McCray is one of three former Mountaineers players on the staff. He played linebacker and running back on the 1987 Southern Conference champions. Safeties coach Preston Mason was a student assistant for App State, and former lineman Alex Farras is a Bobcats graduate assistant.

What to expect: The Mountaineers have won both previous matchups with the Bobcats. This is their first trip to Texas, but App should still have the edge.

— Shawn Krest

Furman at NC State
Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh  |  Saturday, 12:20 p.m.  |  ACC Network

Preview: NC State is just 4-8-4 all-time against Furman, including 2-7-1 at home. Furman has won the last two matchups, in 1984 and 1985.

Players to watch: Jaylen Samuels’ next catch will be a big one. Assuming it happens Saturday, it will be the 31st straight game in which he’s caught a pass, moving him past Torry Holt into fourth place on the NC State all-time list. It will also be his 147th career catch, tying him with Eddie Goines for third-most in Wolfpack history. Furman running back Antonio Wilcox has led the team in rushing the last two years and topped the 1,000 career yard mark last week.

Fast fact: Furman head coach Clay Hendrix started at guard for the Wolfpack from 1983 to 1985. Not to be outdone, NC State’s running backs coach Des Kitchings is in Furman’s Athletics Hall of Fame and still holds school kickoff return records.

What to expect: NC State should manage to post its first win in this series since 1982.

— Shawn Krest

North Carolina at Old Dominion
Foreman Field, Norfolk, Va.  |  Saturday, 3:30 p.m.  |  Stadium TV

Preview: The Tar Heels are desperate for a win after losing their first two, but these aren’t the same Monarchs against whom UNC scored 80 against in the most recent meeting in 2013. Now an FCS program, ODU went 10-4 and won the Conference USA East last season and is 2-0 this season.

Players to watch: QB Chazz Surratt was the ACC’s Rookie of the Week, but missed the second half last week against Louisville because of a hip injury. If he can’t go, LSU transfer Brandon Harris will start for UNC. ODU already has 15 sacks this season with DT Miles Fox and DE Bunmi Rotimi leading with 3.5 each.

Fast fact: The Tar Heels rank last among Power 5 teams in total defense, surrendering an average of 587 yards per game.

What to expect: The Tar Heels enter the game a touchdown favorite, but will have their hands full if they don’t shore up their defense on the road against a solid opponent.

— Brett Friedlander

Utah State at Wake Forest
BB&T Field, Winston-Salem  |  Saturday, 3 p.m.  |  ACC Network Extra

Preview: The Deacons are coming off a 34-10 road win in their ACC opener at Boston College and are looking to start the season 3-0 for the second straight year. The Aggies are 1-1 after a lopsided loss to Wisconsin and an equally lopsided win against Idaho State.

Players to watch: Wake redshirt freshman WR Greg Dortch followed up an impressive debut with six catches and a touchdown last week against BC. Utah State cornerback Jalen Davis has a pair of interceptions, including one returned for a score.

Fast fact: This is the first of two visits the Aggies will make to Winston-Salem. They are scheduled to return again for the 2019 season opener. The Deacons lost to the Aggies 36-24 in Logan, Utah, in 2014 in the first meeting between the schools.

What to expect: Wake is rapidly becoming a formidable team after adding an improved offense to a stout defense that forced four turnovers against BC last week.

— Brett Friedlander