Friday night’s North Carolina at NC State football matchup gives the Wolfpack an opportunity to win and then play cheerleader on Saturday to keep their ACC Championship game hopes alive. NC State can still win the ACC Atlantic if they get the victory over North Carolina and then Boston College upsets Wake Forest on Saturday at Alumni Stadium.
The Tar Heels aren’t going to lay down in this in-state rivalry game though. The Tar heels have alternated wins and losses for the last 9 games which isn’t even bad considering they’ve faced three ranked opponents in the last four games (Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh). The Wolfpack are still -6 point favorites at home in this matchup.
Last Blast for UNC’s Howell?
North Carolina is bowl eligible at 6-5 so they’ll likely have one more game win or lose, but it’s till likely the last regular season game for Tar Heels QB Sam Howell. Howell’s stock has dropped a bit this season (22 TD, 8 INT) after throwing for 38/7 and 30/7 his first two years in Chapel Hill, but he’s still likely off to the NFL.
Howell left last week’s surprisingly close win against Wofford (34-14 as -36.5 favorites) with an upper body injury but he’s expected back for the NC State at North Carolina football game on Friday night. Howell playing would obviously be a big boost because of his experience, but the Tar Heels have shifted more towards a running team this season led by Ty Chandler who has 1,004 TD and 13 INT.
Chandler had 78 yards on just 10 carries last week in a surprisingly close 34-14 win over Wofford. Last week was also a breakout game for British Brooks who had 89 yards and 2 TD on just 7 carries. NC State also has the #3 rushing and the #2 total defense in the ACC however.
Wolfpack Try to Do Their Part
NC State can do their part of making the ACC Championship Game with a win on Friday night, and then they’ll have to become big Boston College fans when they play Wake Forest. If the Demon Deacons lose, NC State would tie Clemson (if they beat South Carolina) but would move on thanks to their 27-21 OT win over the Tigers in week 4.
NC State has gotten to this point by winning 7 of their last 9 games, riding a dominant passing game that is 4th in the ACC with 292.2 yards/game. Devin Leary has thrown for 300+ yards in five straight, and has multiple TDs in 9 in a row. Leary has 31 TDs to just 5 INT on the season, and is up against a UNC defense that has given up 30+ points in five of their last six.
Week 13 North Carolina at NC State Football Pick
Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett had 348 yards and 3 TDs in Pittsburgh’s 30-23 OT win over North Carolina in week 11. The game before that, Sam Hartman had 398 yards and 5 TD even though his Wake Forest squad fell 58-55 to North Carolina. That’s a dangerous defense to wager against, even listed as +6 point underdogs (O/U 61) on the road Friday night.
NC State 45 – North Carolina 38
Free Pick: NC State -6