College Football Previews: Wake, App State, ECU, Charlotte hit the road

Mountaineers look to bounce back while others try to build winning streaks

Wake Forest will try to upset Notre Dame in South Bend on Saturday. (Jeremy Brevard / USA TODAY Sports)

Wake Forest at Notre Dame
Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.  |  Saturday, 3:30 p.m.  |  NBC

Preview: For the second straight week, a state ACC team travels to South Bend to take on the fifth-ranked Irish (7-1). The Deacons (5-3) are coming off an impressive win against Louisville last week, but will have their hands full against a team they’ve never beaten in three previous meetings.

Players to watch: Notre Dame RB Josh Adams enhanced his Heisman Trophy credentials by rushing for 202 yards in a 35-14 rout of NC State last Saturday. Adams burned the Deacons for a 98-yard touchdown run against Wake last season. The Deacons’ defense that will try to stop Adams is led by DE Duke Ejiofor, a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award.

Fast fact: Notre Dame defensive coordinator Mike Elko held the same position at Wake Forest for the past three seasons.

What to expect: The Deacons are vastly improved and coming off a big win, but they’re likely to be overwhelmed physically by the bigger, stronger Irish. Losing star WR Greg Dortch to a season-ending injury won’t make their task any easier.

— Brett Friedlander

Charlotte at Old Dominion
S.B. Ballard Stadium, Norfolk, Va.  |  Saturday, 3:30 p.m.  |  ESPN3

Preview: Charlotte is coming off of its first win of the season. Old Dominion hopes to snap a six-game losing streak.

Players to watch: In the last game, Charlotte receiver TL Ford became the third 49er in history to top the 1,000-yard mark. ODU’s Isaiah Harper is the CUSA Special Teams Player of the Week after returning kickoffs 97 and 98 yards for touchdowns in last week’s loss.

Fast fact: Foreman Field at Ballard Stadium has been the home of a World Football League team (Virginia Ambassadors) and the Washington Redskins used to play preseason games there. The CFL considered moving a team there as well. It also hosted the Oyster Bowl for 50 years, which featured future NFL stars Roger Staubach, Fran Tarkenton and Don Meredith.

What to expect: Charlotte has a legitimate chance to win its second straight game as the 49ers look to salvage the season.

— Shawn Krest

Appalachian State at Louisiana-Monroe
Malone Stadium, Monroe, La.  |  Saturday, 3 p.m.  |  ESPN3

Preview: App becomes bowl eligible with a win. ULM looks to snap a three-game losing streak.

Players to watch: With two touchdown passes last week, App’s Taylor Lamb now has 78 in his career, three away from the Sun Belt Conference record. ULM’s Marcus Green was held in check last game, but he’s among FBS leaders in all-purpose yards, kick returns and return yards. He also has 24 explosive plays to lead the team.

Fast fact: If you can find the home team’s broadcast online, give Frank Hoffman a listen. In his 42nd year as the voice of the Warhawks, Hoffman is the eighth-longest tenured play-by-play announcer in FBS. He’s the second-longest from a non-Power Five school.

What to expect: Look for App State to bounce back from last week’s upset loss and move into first place in the Sun Belt. The Mountaineers are currently tied at the top with Arkansas State, who is off this week.

— Shawn Krest

East Carolina at Houston
TDECU Stadium, Houston  |  Saturday, noon  |  CBS Sports Network

Preview: The Pirates (2-6, 1-3 AAC) are coming off a badly needed win against BYU and a bye week, but face a difficult road test against conference rival Houston, which is 5-3 (3-2) and coming off an upset of previously unbeaten South Florida.

Players to watch: Cougars QB D’Eriq King ran for the game-winning touchdown with 11 seconds left against USF on Saturday. RB Mulbah Car rushed for a career-high 137 yards in the game. Pirates WR Davon Grayson had 10 catches for 164 yards against BYU to help ECU break a seven-game home losing streak.

Fast fact: This is the 13th meeting between the teams, but first as members of the AAC. The Pirates beat Houston 38-32 in the 2009 Conference USA Championship Game.

What to expect: ECU’s defense is still ranked last in the nation in both scoring and yardage allowed, but could take another stride toward respectability against a Houston offense that ranks only eighth in the 12-team AAC. The Cougars, however, are a 24-point favorite.

— Brett Friedlander