by Mike Potter
Duke will open the show at noon against Boston College, with the Blue Devils needing to win all of their final three games to finish .500 and be bowl-eligible.
N.C. State will host in-state rival Wake Forest at 2, with the Wolfpack still having a chance to play in the ACC title game if it can win its final three regular-season games.
And UNC, which still has shoes dropping in the investigations of improprieties concerning relationships with agents and academics, hopes to improve its potential bowl assignment with an upset of No. 16 Virginia Tech at 3:30.
The Wolfpack is looking to go finish with a winning season for the first time in Tom O’Brien’s four-year tenure as head coach.
“We look forward to Wake Forest coming to Carter-Finley,” O’Brien said. “It’s a little bit early for Senior Day, but that’s where it is. We’ve got 19 kids who’re going to be playing in their last game at home and it’s certainly an emotional day for them. And it’s an opportunity for our football team to continue to try to get to Charlotte. So each and every game now is do-or-die for us. I think we understand the task ahead of us.”
Wake Forest is just looking for respect against an old rival.
“We had a really disappointing game last week against Boston College,” veteran Deacon coach Jim Grobe said. “We’ve tried to just work hard enough that we’re not sitting around worrying about our confidence. I think for us, we’re having to each day coach our own football team on fundamentals and where we’re supposed to be in our scheme. (NCSU quarterback) Russell Wilson is a concern for us, and their defense is much improved and we’ve got a really tough job offensively to try to get first downs against their defense.”
Duke coach David Cutcliffe wants to make a statement in his third year at the helm, but needs to win Saturday to keep those hopes alive.
“Boston College is coming in here playing their best football by far,” Cutcliffe said. “It’s a typical physical Boston College team with the leading rusher (Montel Harris) in the league, a young quarterback that’s playing really well with weapons around him, and defensively they’re as good as anybody in the country. They know what they’re doing and how to do it and they do it with good players.
“We’ve been executing and not turning the ball over (lately). We’d have a different record right now if we hadn’t done anything differently but protecting the ball. With a lot of young players out there it takes a little experience to understand that, and hopefully we’ll continue to protect the ball well.”
UNC coach Butch Davis said Frank Beamer’s Hokies present as tough a challenge as there is in the conference.
“I think one of the things our football team realizes is that when you play against Virginia Tech, it’s one of the biggest challenges we face,” Davis said. “They are really good in all three phases. When you play against Virginia Tech you’d better be very prepared in your fundamentals and execution in all three phases. I think our kids have learned that over the last couple of years that you have to execute and watch a lot of film and really understand what they’re trying to do.”
Duke vs. Boston College
[Saturday, noon, Wallace Wade Stadium]
BC leads series 3-1.
Records: Duke 3-6, 1-4 ACC; BC 4-5, 2-4.
Audio: WDNC 620, WKIX-FM 102.9, XM 191, Sirius 213.
Coaches’ records — Duke: David Cutcliffe 56-50, 12-21 at Duke; BC: Frank Spaziani 12-10 at BC.
Leading rushers — Duke: Desmond Scott 99-489, 3 TD; BC: Montel Harris 222-1020, 6 TD.
Leading passers — Duke: Sean Renfree 196-335-2270-15, 12 TD; BC: Chase Rettig 53-99-625-5, 3 TD.
Leading receivers — Duke: Conner Vernon 49-717, 4 TD; BC: Bobby Swigert 27-325, 3 TD.
Leading tacklers — Duke: Abraham Kromah 91, 7 1/2 TFL, 1 SK, 1 INT, 1 FF; BC: Luke Kuechly 125, 9 TFL, 1 ½ SK, 2 INT, 2 FR.
Favorite — BC by 3 ½ (Vegas).
N.C. State vs. Wake Forest
[Saturday, 2 p.m., Carter-Finley Stadium]
NCSU leads series 61-36-6.
Records: NCSU 6-3, 3-2 ACC; WFU 2-7, 1-6.
Audio: WRBZ-AM 850, WRAL-FM 101.5, XM 192, Sirius 214.
Video: ESPN3, Time Warner 520.
Coaches’ records — NCSU: Tom O’Brien 98-69, 22-24 at NCSU; WFU: Jim Grobe 94-91-1, 61-58 at WFU.
Leading rushers — NCSU: Mustafa Greene 114-521, 4 TD; WFU: Josh Harris 92-524, 5 TD.
Leading passers — NCSU: Russell Wilson 210-358-2514-11, 20 TD; WFU: Tanner Price 101-186- 1056-8, 7 TD.
Leading receivers — NCSU: Owen Spencer 40-569, 1 TD; WFU: Chris Givens 28-467, 4 TD.
Leading tacklers — NCSU: Nate Irving 68, 10 1/2 TFL, 3 ½ SK, 2 FF, 1 FR; WFU: Kyle Wilber 56, 13 ½ TFL, 5 SK, 3 FF.
Favorite — NCSU by 18 1/2 (Vegas).
UNC vs. No. 16 Virginia Tech
[Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Kenan Stadium]
VT leads series 16-10-6.
Records: UNC 6-3, 3-2 ACC; VT 7-2, 5-0.
Audio: WCHL 1360, WRDU-FM 106.1, XM 190, XM 193, Sirius 212.
Video: WTVD 11.
Coaches’ records — UNC: Butch Davis 77-41, 26-21 at UNC; VT: Frank Beamer 236-117-4, 194-94-2 at VT.
Leading rushers — UNC: Shaun Draughn 82-386, 4 TD; VT: Tyrod Taylor 94-584, 3 TD.
Leading passers — UNC: T.J. Yates 180-271-2312-4, 15 TD; VT: Tyrod Taylor 121-191-1739-4, 16 TD.
Leading receivers — UNC: Dwight Jones 40-716, 4 TD; VT: Jarrett Boykin 36-571, 5 TD.
Leading tacklers — UNC: Zach Brown 61, ½ TFL, 2 INT; VT: Bruce Taylor 69, 13 ½ TFL, 5 SK.
Favorite — VT by 3 1/2 (Vegas).