CFN's Take: NC State vs. Miami

College Football News takes a look at Saturday's contest against Miami.

North Carolina State (3-5) at Miami (5-3)
12:00 PM ESPNU

Why to Watch: Suddenly, this shapes up to be one of the weekend’s most interesting ACC games, even if it’s off the beaten path a bit. The Wolfpack has won two in a row highlighted by a shocking win over Virginia, and now, Tom O’Brien’s team, after a brutal start, is actually in the bowl hunt. Miami, meanwhile, returns after a week off to take advantage of momentum gathered after a come-from-behind win over Florida State in Tallahassee. There are no ACC title implications here, just a couple of teams that have been playing fairly good football of late and would like to keep it going.

Why North Carolina State Might Win: The Wolfpack offense has come alive of late and was particularly effective last week against Virginia with a balanced attack. Despite reeling from injuries in the backfield, State has gotten a boost from sophomore Jamelle Eugene, who rushed for 112 yards against the Wahoos, two weeks after he put up 101 against Florida State. Defensively, State has been stout against the pass and should be able to put heat on Miami QB Kyle Wright (if he plays) with a front seven that has averaged six sacks a game the past two weeks. The Pack’s run defense has also improved thanks in part to some changes in the secondary that helped the tackling problem that was a big problem over the first half of the year.

Why Miami Might Win: The Hurricanes would have entered their week off on a three-game losing skid had they not rallied at FSU. Now, they must hope Wright’s ankle injury, which prohibited him from practicing last week but should be healed by Saturday, does not recur. Miami can run the football well with Graig Cooper and Javarris James, but it needs balance, and Wright has proved he can provide that at various times. Miami’s defense has been stout for much of the year, putting good pressure on opposing quarterbacks and containing the run. And the team’s plus-two turnover margin has been a positive factor.

Who to Watch: The changes in the secondary have been helpful for NC State’s woeful defense, but Daniel Evans’ improvement has been just as important. He threw three interceptions three weeks ago in the loss to FSU, but has been a different, more efficient player since. In the past two games, he has thrown six TD passes and just one pick while piling up 682 yards. Evans is still prone to misfiring on certain plays, but he has become more reliable, and the Wolfpack offense has thrived with his emergence with 63 points in the two victories.

What Will Happen: NC State is on a mini-roll, but it’s not ready to beat the Hurricanes in Miami. Expect Wright to have success throwing downfield, and the stingy ‘Cane defense to disrupt the Wolfpack’s offensive momentum.

CFN Prediction: Miami 27 … NC State 16... Line: Miami -13.5

Must See Rating: (5 Heidi Klum on Victoria's Secret Fashion Show - 1 Heidi Klum on Oprah) ... 2.5

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