MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s been four years since the Miami Hurricanes and the North Carolina State Wolfpack tangled on the field, but Saturday the Canes will look to start 3-0 in conference play when the Pack come to Sun Life Stadium.
The last time the two schools played, there were 66 points scored and 830 yards of offense. Yet, none of the players that were responsible for the numbers in that game will be on the field Saturday.
“I don’t even know if we’ve had anybody who’s played them,” Canes head coach Al Golden said. “But I know (N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien), so I have an idea of what we’re going to face.”
The Wolpack sport one of the stingiest defenses in the country. According to cfbstats.com, the Wolfpack are giving up just 15.8 points per game, which is good enough for 27th in the country. NC State’s defense is giving up 119 yards on the ground and 325.8 yards in total offense per game.
“It seems kind of funny we only play them every four years, but I’m very excited,” N.C. State safety Brandan Bishop said. “When I came on my official visit, we played them right around Thanksgiving when I was a senior (in high school), so I’m definitely excited to get down there and play them.”
When the ACC split into two six-team divisions in 2005, interruptions in league “rivalries” were inevitable.
ACC teams have been playing eight league games — five against divisional opponents, one “primary crossover” opponent (it’s North Carolina for N.C. State, and Florida State for Miami) and then two rotating opponents from the opposite division.
Miami has played N.C. State only three times since joining the ACC in 2004, winning just one.
“It’s still a rivalry,” Hurricanes running back Mike James said. “We haven’t played them in a while, but we know of them, we know they’re a rival and we know we’re going to have to do all we can to beat them.”
Miami’s offense has at times been great and really bad at others. The Canes are averaging 33.5 points per game, which is ranked 47th in the nation. While head coach Al Golden would like to run the football, his ground game is averaging just 159 yards per game, 69th in the nation.
The game comes a week after the Canes mounted a historic comeback in Atlanta against a tough Georgia Tech team. The Canes offense began clicking in the second half, but the team built a big lead, gave up a lead, and then came back to win in the overtime period.
Canes fans hope between Duke Johnson and the momentum from last week is enough to overcome the Wolfpack. Just don’t get used to seeing NC State on the UM schedule. Due to the scheduling quirks, the Canes won’t play NC State until 2016.
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