College Football Previews: After winless week, N.C. schools look to bounce back

Duke, Carolina trying to end long losing streaks coming off byes

East Carolina quarterback Gardner Minshew will face Tulane on Saturday. (Thomas B. Shea / USA TODAY Sports)

North Carolina at Pittsburgh
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh  |  Thursday, 7:30 p.m.  |  ESPN

Preview: The Tar Heels look to end a seven-game losing streak against an opponent they’ve beaten all four times since the Panthers joined the ACC.

Players to watch: Pitt RB Darrin Hall has averaged 182.5 yards on the ground in his last two games. UNC WR Anthony Ratliff-Williams threw for a touchdown, caught two passes and had a 45-yard kickoff return two weeks ago against Miami.

Fast fact: The Tar Heels lost their first two games off a bye under coach Larry Fedora, but have won with the extra week in each of the past three seasons.

What to expect: Pitt is a 7-point favorite, but UNC should have QBs Chazz Surratt and Brandon Harris healthy again after last week’s bye.

— Brett Friedlander

App State vs. Georgia Southern
Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone  |  Thursday, 7:30 p.m.  |  ESPNU

Preview: The Mountaineers try to get back on track after their Sun Belt Conference hopes took a hit against Louisiana-Monroe last week. Georgia Southern is 0-8.

Players to watch: App State WR Ike Lewis had three touchdown catches in Saturday’s loss, including a 20-yarder that tied the game with 53 seconds left. Safety R.J. Murray had nine tackles and one of the Eagles’ four sacks in last week’s 21-17 loss to Georgia State.

Fast fact: Georgia Southern fired coach Tyson Summers after six games. Assistant Chad Lunsford is the team’s interim coach.

What to expect: The Mountaineers couldn’t have asked for a better opponent to help break a two-game losing streak than the winless Eagles.

— Brett Friedlander

Duke at Army
Michie Stadium, West Point, N.Y.  |  Saturday, Noon  |  CBS Sports Network

Preview: It’s senior day, and Army will attempt to go undefeated at home for the first time since 1996. That’s also its last home win over Duke.

Players to watch: Army QB Ahmad Bradshaw has 1,182 yards rushing and 190 passing. Duke DB Mark Gilbert has four interceptions.

Fast fact: Army has not completed a pass in four different games this season, going 3-1. Last week Army became the first team not to attempt a pass since 2012.

What to expect: Duke has a good chance to snap its five-game losing streak, but bowl-bound Army is no pushover.

— Shawn Krest

Charlotte vs. Middle Tennessee
Richardson Stadium, Charlotte  |  Saturday, 2 p.m.  |  beIN Sports

Preview: MTSU is trying to win its second straight game for the first time this year. Charlotte is trying to win its second game overall.

Players to watch: MTSU QB Brent Stockstill has thrown for a touchdown in 19 straight games, fourth longest streak in the nation. Charlotte LB Anthony Butler had 14 tackles last week.

Fast fact: MTSU has two former ACC head coaches on its staff in defensive coordinator Scott Shafer (Syracuse) and defensive line coach Tommy West (Clemson).

What to expect: Charlotte needs a spark after getting shut out by ODU last week.

— Shawn Krest

Wake Forest at Syracuse
Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.  |  Saturday, 3 p.m.  |  RSN

Preview: Wake looks to get bowl eligible for the second straight year.

Players to watch: Cuse WR Steve Ishmael is second nationally in catches. Wake WR Alex Bachman had a career day with 116 yards last week.

Fast fact: An on-field ceremony will honor former walk-on Mike Chemotti, 103 years old, who enlisted in the Army in 1942, and current junior WR Ben Brickman, who walked-on after serving two tours of duty in Afghanistan.

What to expect: It has the makings of an offensive shootout, something rarely said about Wake-Syracuse games.

— Shawn Krest

ECU vs. Tulane
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville  |  Saturday, 7 p.m.  |  CBS Sports Network

Preview: The Pirates take on a Tulane team that is 3-6 (1-4 AAC) and has lost four straight.

Players to watch: QB Gardner Minshew set ECU records with 52 completions and 68 passing attempts against Houston. WR Darnell Mooney had seven catches for a career-high 115 yards in the Green Wave’s 17-16 loss to Cincinnati last week.

Fast fact: ECU has allowed 52 or more points five times this season and rank last among FBS teams in both scoring and total defense.

What to expect: Despite last week’s regression, this is a winnable game for the Pirates (2-7, 1-4).

— Brett Friedlander