College Football Previews: Wake hosts NC State; Duke, ECU, Charlotte look for wins

The Blue Devils need wins in their final two to be bowl eligible; 49ers eye second win

NC State quarterback Ryan Finley hands the ball off to running back Nyheim Hines during NC State's game against Boston College at Alumni Stadium. (Greg M. Cooper / USA TODAY Sports)

NC State at Wake Forest 
Grove Stadium, Winston-Salem  |  Saturday, 7:30 p.m.  |  ESPNU

Preview: State looks to win its sixth ACC game for just the fifth time in school history. Wake is on an offensive hot streak not seen before in Winston-Salem.

Players to watch: Wake’s Cam Serigne has already set ACC records for catches and receiving yards by a tight end. State receiver Kelvin Harmon is averaging 113 yards per game the last six outings.

Fast fact: The Pack won its last trip to Grove Stadium, 35-17 in 2015, snapping a six-game losing streak at Winston-Salem. On the flip side, NC State has won 15 of its last 16 home games against the Deacs, and the home team has won 17 of 20.

What to expect: State’s defensive line will have to find a way to put the brakes on a scary Wake Forest offense because it’s hard to outscore the Deacons.

— Shawn Krest

Duke vs. Georgia Tech
Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham  |  Saturday, 3:30 p.m.  |  RSN

Preview: Needing to win their final two games for bowl eligibility, the Blue Devils (4-6, 1-5) face the task of defending a triple-option attack on consecutive weeks after losing at Army last Saturday. Georgia Tech is 5-4 overall, 4-3 in the ACC.

Players to watch: The Yellow Jackets again lead the ACC in rushing offense, led by QB TaQuon Marshall’s 934 yards and 16 TDs. Duke LB Ben Humphreys is a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the nation’s top defensive player.

Fast fact: It will be the 85th game in the series, which began in 1933 and has been played annually without interruption.

What to expect: Duke will be hard-pressed to break its six-game losing streak, although they should have plenty of practice trying to stop Tech’s run-oriented offense.

— Brett Friedlander

East Carolina vs. Cincinnati
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville  |  Saturday, noon  |  CBSSN

Preview: The Pirates (2-8) are coming off an overtime loss to Tulane and face a 3-7 Cincinnati team against whom they have lost six straight.

Players to watch: Sophomore RB Hussein Howe rushed for a career-high 108 yards and a TD while catching five passes against Tulane. Bearcats LB Jaylyin Minor had 16 tackles and surpassed the 100-tackle mark for the season in last week’s loss to Temple.

Fast fact: ECU has not won a November home game since beating Tulane on Nov. 22, 2014, a streak of five consecutive losses.

What to expect: Both teams come into the game at 1-5 in the AAC. This is the Pirates’ last best chance to win a game this season.

— Brett Friedlander

Charlotte at Southern Miss
M.M. Roberts Stadium, Hattiesburg, Miss.  |  Saturday, 3 p.m.  |  730 AM

Preview: Southern Miss became bowl eligible last week with a win at Rice. Charlotte still seeks its second win.

Players to watch: Eagles redshirt freshman LB Racheem Boothe won C-USA Defensive Player of the Week after getting 14 tackles against Rice. Niners RB Benny LeMay’s 642 yards are the fifth-most in a season in school history.

Fast fact: M.M. Roberts Stadium was built for free in 1932. A local businessman donated the materials, and umemployed workers didn’t charge for their labor. When concrete stands were added in 1938, players helped haul the concrete, which is how it got its nickname: The Rock.

What to expect: With losses to ODU and MTSU the last two weeks, Charlotte has completed the soft portion of its schedule.

— Shawn Krest