File photo by Chris Baird
Jamison Crowder and the Blue Devils look to go 4-0 for the first time in 20 years.
Here we go into Week 4 of the area college football season, and all three of the local FBS teams are still unbeaten.
If that continues all day today, one of them will have to beat one of the best teams in the country on the road.
The show starts today at 12:30 (FOX Sports Carolinas) at Wallace Wade Stadium, where Duke (3-0) will try to complete a perfect non-conference portion of the season against Tulane (1-2). The other home game is at 6 p.m., as N.C. State (3-0) tries to complete its non-conference schedule unbeaten with a victory over Big South member Presbyterian (2-1).
The biggest game in the state so far this season will be at 3:30 (ESPNU) in Greenville, as UNC (2-0) will visit East Carolina (2-1). The Pirates' chances to play in a Dec. 31 bowl game would remain alive with a victory. The other road game is at 6 p.m., as N.C. Central (1-2) takes on Towson (1-2) at Unitas Stadium.
Duke vs. Tulane
The Blue Devils are coming off their most impressive performance in three easy victories this season, a 41-3 rout of reeling Kansas.
Duke's last 4-0 start was in 1994.
"Looking at last year's tape, certainly there was a reason (Tulane was) a bowl team," Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. "Looking at them this year, a lot of athletes, a lot of speed, a very aggressive-natured team. Defense that will take the ball away from you, an offense that will throw the ball down the field. They'll throw vertical after vertical. They have backs, tight ends, quarterback that are playing well. Very impressive job what they've done at Tulane and a very impressive team."
Tulane leads the series 2-1, but Duke's 48-27 win three years ago in Durham was their only meeting since 1973.
The Blue Devils are 17-point favorites.
N.C. State vs. Presbyterian
The Wolfpack is also coming off its most impressive game of the season, a 49-17 rout at South Florida. One more win, any win, will give State an improvement over last season's record.
"I was proud of the outcome of the (USF) game, the focus of the players," State coach Dave Doeren said. "We come home for our last non-conference game this week against Presbyterian who had a big win - a team that runs the football very well, well-coached football team. (Then we) get ready for a very heavy Florida State, Clemson back-to-back after this week. We know this is a week to stay focused and work on the details that we need to work on before we get into that slate."
Presbyterian leads the series 1-0, winning the only meeting 2-0 at home back in 1930.
The Dunkel Index has State as a 37-point favorite.
UNC at East Carolina
Either team can make a big statement with a win today. The Tar Heels are coming off a bye week following a close call with San Diego State, while the Pirates are coming off a 28-21 shocker at Virginia Tech.
UNC leads the series 12-3-1, but ECU beat the Tar Heels 55-31 last season.
"I don't think our guys have to be convinced that it's going to be intense - I think they understand that," UNC coach Larry Fedora said. "I think we're the underdogs going into this game from my understanding, from what I hear about everything. You know, we're going to go into a place that's going to be sold out, hostile crowd. You know, I don't know. I've never really thought about any team that you play, their fans really liking you, so
it's kind of the same way every time, and so they may be a little more rabid than somewhere else. There will be some noise and there will be an environment that should be a lot of fun to play in."
The Pirates are 2 1/2-point favorites.
NCCU at Towson
NCCU is still looking for its first Division I win of the season following its loss to Charlotte, in which the Eagles trailed by 40 points before falling 40-28.
Towson won the only previous meeting 35-17 in Durham last season.
"I was impressed with the way the guys fought back (against Charlotte)," NCCU coach Jerry Mack said. "We've just got to come better prepared to play in the beginning. We've been showing a lot of flashes, but the key is consistency. We need to put together the entire package we always talk about."
The Dunkel Index has Towson as a 14 1/2-point favorite.
Last week's three stars
1. Shawn Wilson, RB, Duke. The freshman rushed for a school-record 245 yards and three TDs on 12 carries.
2. Jacoby Brissett, QB, N.C. State. He completed 20 of 29 passes for 266 yards and two TDs.
3. Anthony Boone, QB, Duke. He completed 19 of 33 passes for 180 yards and two TDs.