CFB Previews: Charlotte hosts App State; Duke travels to Northwestern

Demon Deacons looks to improve to 2-0 when they host Towson

Daniel Jones and the Blue Devils travel north for Saturdays game at Northwestern. (Gerry Broome / AP Photo)

Week 2 of the college football season features two matchups between in-state foes, with North Carolina traveling to ECU and Charlotte hosting App State. Both NC State and Wake Forest should have no trouble improving to 2-0, but Duke faces a tough test at Northwestern.

Duke vs. Northwestern
Ryan Field  |  Saturday, noon  |  ESPNU

Preview: The Blue Devils and Wildcats meet for the fourth straight year. Two years ago, Duke coach David Cutcliffe was upset that Northwestern was more physical and bullied his team in a win in Evanston. Last year, at Wallace Wade, Duke got revenge, pounding the Wildcats 41-17. Both teams are coming off of wins — Duke over Army in a game where Cutcliffe praised his team’s physical play, and Northwestern over Purdue.

Players to watch: RB Jeremy Larkin ran for 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the win over Purdue on Saturday. He also caught four balls for 20 yards. Duke receiver Aaron Young had a breakout game against Army, catching four passes for 114 yards and a 25-yard touchdown.

Fast fact: Northwestern had a part in revolutionizing football fashion. In 1928, the team began wearing a three-stripe pattern on their sleeves — one wide stripe with smaller ones above and below it. This pattern is now known as Northwestern Stripes and is used by teams across the country, including most NFL squads. 

What to expect: A game not for the faint of heart. Both teams pride themselves on being tough and physical and feel that’s a key to a win.

— Shawn Krest

Towson vs. Wake Forest
BB&T Field  |  Saturday, noon  |  ACC Network

Preview: Wake Forest escaped in its road opener at Tulane, winning 23-17 in overtime. Towson won its Battle of Baltimore showdown against Morgan State. The Deacs will look to extend their winning streak over FCS teams to 13. They last lost in the 2000 opener to then-FCS team App State.

Players to watch: Towson PK Aidan O’Neill won the CAA Special Teams Player of the Week Award after going 4-for-4 on field goals last week. He’s the team’s all-time leader in field goals. Sam Hartman had an impressive debut as Wake’s starting quarterback, throwing for 378 yards and two scores, while leading the team in rushing with 64 yards.

Fast fact: Towson QB Tom Flacco is a Rutgers transfer and the younger brother of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe. The redshirt junior was 18 of 28 passing with 245 yards and two touchdowns last week.

What to expect: The Deacs should put up a more lopsided win than last week as they open their home schedule. Hartman and receivers Greg Dortch and Sage Surratt will look to continue their breakout seasons.

— Shawn Krest

Charlotte vs. Appalachian State
Richardson Stadium  |  Saturday, 6 p.m.  |  ESPN

Preview: The Mountaineers and 49ers, both coming off wins in their opening games, meet for the first time ever in football. It’s the front end of a home-and-home series that will conclude with a game in Boone next year.

Players to watch: App State is led by QB Zac Thomas, who completed 25 of 38 passes for 270 yards and two TDs in an overtime loss to Penn State last week in his first career start. Darryton Evans, who had a 100-yard kickoff return for a TD, was named the Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week. For Charlotte, RB Benny LeMay rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns while catching three passes for 83 yards in a win against Fordham. LB Denzel Irvin had three pass breakups and five tackles in the game.

Fast fact: Charlotte’s win last week equals its total for the entire 2017 season.

What to expect: Unless coach Scott Satterfield’s Mountaineers suffer a major letdown after taking Penn State to overtime, they should have no problem taking care of business.

— Brett Friedlander