NCAA Friday Night Football: NC State/Miami Preview

by Alec McMordie

The Friday night game on ESPN offers a battle of two teams from the ACC that return to action after a bye week.

Miami (FL) has won their last two games to raise their record to a 5-1 mark after losing at Clemson on October 10th. They last played on October 24th when they defeated Virginia by a 19-14 score as a 13.5-point home favorite. The Hurricanes won the yardage battle by a 444-366 edge but still had to hang on for the victory. Miami enters this game ranked 11th in the nation in the Associated Press poll.

Senior quarterback D’Eriq King completed 21 of 30 passes for 322 yards with a touchdown pass against the Cavaliers. The transfer from Houston added another 28 yards on the ground. For the season, King has completed 61.2% of his passes for 1401 yards with eleven touchdown passes and four interceptions. He has also added 301 rushing yards with two touchdowns. King is averaging 283.8 total yards of offense per game.

Yet the Hurricanes have seen a dip in their offensive production over their last three games. After opening the season by averaging 43.3 points-per-game in their first three games, Miami is managing only 22.3 points-per-game along with 328.3 yards-per-game in their last three contests. The loss of productivity in the running game is one of the culprits in this decline as the Hurricanes are averaging 2.8 yards-per-carry in these previous three games. Junior running back Cam’ron Harris has rushed the ball 28 times for only 35 yards in those games.

North Carolina State last played on October 24th when they lost at North Carolina by a 48-21 score. The Wolfpack were outgained by -186 net yards as they surrendered 578 yards to the Tar Heels. A -4 net turnover margin made matters even worse. That game was the first start for junior Bailey Hockman, who became the starting quarterback after sophomore Devin Leary broke his fibula the previous week against Duke. Hockman completed 14 of 24 passes for 215 yards against North Carolina with a touchdown and an interception before getting benched for freshman Ben Finley. Finley is the younger brother of former NC State starting quarterback Ryan, who now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals. Finley completed 13 of 20 passes for 143 yards but was pulled for Hockman again after he threw two interceptions. Hockman has completed 58.6% of his passes this season for 531 yards with three touchdown passes and four interceptions in four games. The former Florida State transfer should start tonight.

The Wolfpack have 15 starters back from the team that finished a disappointing 4-8 last season. NC State has victories against Wake Forest and Duke, along with road wins at Pittsburgh and Virginia. After playing four of their five games on the road, they return home to Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh for the first of a three-game homestand. This contest is the Wolfpack’s fourth game against a ranked opponent this season.

These two teams last played each other in 2016. Miami is a 10.5-point favorite at BetAnySports, with the total at 58. Kickoff is at 7:30 PM ET.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2021 Al McMordie's All Rights Reserved.