by Mike Potter
Duke is in major damage-control mode.
And N.C. State will get a weekend off.
That’s what’s going on with the Triangle’s ACC football teams as they go into Saturday’s action.
Butch Davis’ beleaguered Tar Heels (4-2, 2-1 ACC), who found out Wednesday that senior cornerback Kendric Burney is not yet eligible to play and junior cornerback Charles Brown will have to sit out the season, will visit No. 25 Miami (4-2, 2-1) where Davis was head coach from 1995-2000.
And David Cutcliffe’s Blue Devils (1-5, 0-3) will go against tough odds as they try to end their nine-game losing streak against Division I-FBS teams when they visit No. 23 Virginia Tech (5-2, 2-0).
Davis said Miami, which has lost only to Ohio State and Florida State, has a very solid team.
“This will probably be the biggest challenge our football team has had this season,” Davis said. “When you go on the road two weeks in a row playing against a very, very talented football team, when you start watching film of Miami there are no apparent shortcomings or weaknesses.
“Their offense is talented with wide receivers and an experienced veteran quarterback and talented good runners. Their defensive line is as fast an athletic as any team we’ve played this entire year and the secondary is playing extremely well. They’ve got dangerous returners, and they’ve played a very challenging schedule.”
Cutcliffe said his head is up and his team has been improving, although the Blue Devils will need a better performance from quarterback Sean Renfree who threw five interceptions in Saturday’s 28-13 loss to Miami.
“We’ve played certainly well enough to win (our last two games) against Maryland and against Miami,” Cutcliffe said.
“We have a huge challenge playing a Virginia Tech team that’s truly gotten in its form. They’ve hit stride on both sides of the ball and certainly as always in the kicking game. They’ve got threats everywhere offensively. That defensive staff does a tremendous job. I certainly have the utmost respect for Frank Beamer-coached football teams. I think they do it as well as anyone in the country.”
Duke vs. No. 23 Virginia Tech
[Saturday, noon, Lane Stadium]
Va. Tech leads series 10-7.
Records: Duke 1-5, 0-3 ACC; Va. Tech 5-2, 2-0.
Audio: WDNC 620, WRBZ 850, WMHA-FM 106.3, XM 190, Sirius 212.
Video: WRAL-TV 5.
Coaches’ records — Duke: David Cutcliffe 54-49, 10-20 at Duke; Va. Tech: Frank Beamer 234-117-4; 192-24-2 at VT.
Leading rushers — Duke: Desmond Scott 58-333, 2 TD; Va. Tech: Tyrod Taylor 79-480, 3 TD.
Leading passers — Duke: Sean Renfree 139-244-1621-14, 10 TD; Va. Tech: Tyrod Taylor 93-149-1322-3, 12 TD.
Leading receivers — Duke: Conner Vernon 37-581, 3 TD; Va. Tech: Jarrett Boykin 29-469, 5 TD.
Leading tacklers — Duke: Abraham Kromah 58, 4 1/2 TFL, 1 INT; Va. Tech: Bruce Taylor 52, 11 1/2 TFL, 3 SK.
Favorite — Va. Tech by 26 1/2 (Vegas).
UNC vs. No. 25 Miami
[Saturday, 7:30 p.m., SunLife Stadium]
UNC leads series 8-5.
Records: UNC 4-2, 2-1 ACC; Miami 4-2, 2-1.
Audio: WCHL 1360, WRDU-FM 106.1, XM 190, Sirius 212.
Coaches’ records — UNC: Butch Davis 75-40, 24-20 at UNC; Miami: Randy Shannon 25-18 at Miami.
Leading rushers — UNC: Johnny White 86-464, 4 TD; Miami: Damien Berry 112-539, 3 TD.
Leading passers — UNC: T.J. Yates 121-182-1495-1, 11 TD; Miami: Jacory Harris 104-200-1344-9, 11 TD.
Leading receivers — UNC: Dwight Jones 19-302, 3 TD; Miami: Leonard Hankerson 34-540, 7 TD.
Leading tacklers — UNC: Zach Brown 38, 1 INT; Miami: Sean Spence 56, 10 TFL, 1 ½ SK, 1 FF, 1 FR.
Favorite — Miami by 6 1/2.