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NC STATE vs DUKE Prediction & Preview



#119 Duke University
Blue Devils 4.5
#120 North Carolina State University
Wolfpack -4.5

Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 3:30pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Two longtime ACC foe's face off this weekend in Raleigh. Believe it or not, this is the first time Duke and NC State have played a football game against each other in seven years. This rivalry dates back to 1924 when the Blue Devils took the less than 30 minute trip to Raleigh to fall 14-0. Since then, these teams have played 81 more times, with Duke having the slight 41-36-5 lead in the series. Before the ACC split into the "Coastal" and "Atlantic" subdivisions, these teams were sure to face off every year but have only played three times since then.

Both of these teams are coming off of wins. Duke just got their first win of the season while NC State has won its last two.


Devin Leary is the Leader of The Pack

NC State is back at home for the first time in almost a month after a three-week road grind. After starting the season with a hard-fought win as an underdog vs. Wake Forest, the Wolfpack had a lot on their plate with two straight nationally-ranked opponents on the road. In Week 2, they could not repeat an upset, losing 45-24 to then 20th ranked Virginia Tech. The following week, they traveled to 24th ranked Pittsburgh and pulled off the upset, winning 30-29. Heading into the Pittsburgh game, nobody gave them a shot, especially after how they looked in Blacksburg. Pittsburgh had not allowed 30 points to an ACC opponent since October 5th of 2019, so saying that was a big performance fromDevin Learyand the Wolfpack offense is an understatement.


The NC State team rides and dies by its offense, which is a pass-first attack. They are currently 36th ranked pass offense in the nation with 240 yards per game. All four of NC State's games have produced over 59 points, so winning in shootouts seems to be the formula for the Pack.

The NC State defense is by no means bad, but it is simply not their strength. Since the offense plays at such a high pace, they are on the field for a lot of time. They should not have issues slowing down this Duke offense, which struggles mightily.

Can Duke Count on its Defense?

Duke came into the season looking for the defense to lead them to as many victories as possible, that has not been the case. They are led by sophomore linebackerShaka Heywardwho leads the team with 38 total tackles. The Blue Devils defense started off pretty solid against Notre Dame and Boston College but has been underachieving since. They gave 38 points in two straight weeks to Virginia and Virginia Tech. If Duke wants a shot in this weekend's game, the defense will need to return to how it played all of last season and the early parts of this season.


The Duke offense has never really been a threat this year or even last year. They lack firepower and have no true identity. The offense's main goal this week is to control the tempo of the game and keep the NC State offense off of the field for as long as possible.


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