College Football Week 13: NC State vs #18 UNC preview, how to watch, more

After falling out of the top 25, NC State travels to Chapel Hill to take on their rival North Carolina Tar Heels.

State of North Carolina Pack of wolves (7-4) at No. 18 North Carolina tar heels (9-2)

How to watch:

  • Date: Saturday, November 25
  • Weather: 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time
  • Channel: abc

Betting Statistics:

  • Spread: A -6.5
  • Below: 56.5 points


It’s rivalry week, a college football celebration spanning centuries of hateful tradition for athletic programs across the country to finish off their respective regular seasons. In one of North Carolina’s most storied pairings, NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill will square off the day after Thanksgiving on what is guaranteed to be a hot afternoon.

On the way to redemption from last year’s historically humiliating performance, the Tar Heels enter the matchup as clear favorites, with a Heisman-caliber quarterback and a high-powered offense. UNC’s Drake Maye is a true star in the making at Chapel Hill. Combined with their equally talented receiver, Josh Downs, the Tar Heels’ offense has been nearly unstoppable all season.

As great as they’ve been for most of the year, UNC employs a “live by the sword, die by the sword” mentality that has seen the Tar Heels throw games at lesser opponents when Maye and Downs are out of the game. play. Most evident in UNC’s loss to Georgia Tech a week ago that closed out the team’s top 10 dreams: When Tar Heel’s offense stalls, the rest of the team follows.

Unlike its bitter rivals, NC State has been successful this season despite its mediocre offense. Aside from a couple of great performances from true rookie quarterback MJ Morris, the Wolfpack’s biggest killer has been their play under center. Before his injury, Devin Leary was performing well below expectations. Graduate transfer Jack Chambers has shown he’s not the same threat he was at Charleston Southern against a Power-Five schedule. With Morris missing time with injury last week, NC State had to dig as low as their scouting team to field their primary quarterback, and he was the same Ben Finley Wolfpack fans remember from 2020.

Despite the endless carousel of injuries and poor offensive performances, the Wolfpack defense has kept this team at arm’s length all season. If Morris misses another game this week, the outcome of Friday’s matchup will rest solely on the shoulders of the defense. In that likely scenario, generating turnovers and putting NC State standout kicker Chris Dunn in favorable field position to get points on the backboard will be the keys to success.

The script has completely changed since last season’s showdown. NC State was the team that got all the preseason attention in 2022 and has fallen well short of expectations. The Tar Heels entered the year as a question mark in the ACC and have made the most of their schedule, barring losses to red-hot Notre Dame and Georgia Tech a week ago. However, as is the nature of rivalry games, none of that matters on Friday. Chapel Hill or Raleigh, favorite or underdog, title contender or underachiever; all external factors fly off the table each year in this historically spiteful matchup.

Players to know:

michael allen – State of North Carolina, RB

2022 Stats: 210 yards, 5.5 yards per carry, longest rush: 36 yards

Injuries are an unfortunate part of the sport, but with time lost from constant headlines, the opportunity arises for young talents to show what they’re made of. In the case of Michael Allen, the continued absence of Demie Sumo-Karngbaye has opened the door for more plays from the backfield, and he has done more with them than many expected. Continually interrupting runs for big gains and plowing through any defender brave enough to get in his way, Allen could put in another great performance if Sumo-Karngbaye misses any more time.

draco thomas – State of North Carolina, LB

2022 Stats: 80 total tackles, 13 TFL, 5.5 sacks, four passes defensed

The leader of one of the best defenses in the conference, Drake Thomas, is the Drake to watch out for on the defensive end of the ball. Obviously, Maye deserves credit for him as an elite threat at quarterback, but he has yet to see a linebacker like Thomas this season. Known for terrifying opposing signal callers, Thomas will be as determined as ever to get his hands on the school’s least favorite QB of his.

drake maye – North Carolina, QB

2022 Stats: 3,614 yards, 39 touchdowns, four interceptions, 68.8% completion percentage

Going into the season, much was unknown about the direction the Tar Heels’ offense was taking following the departure of Sam Howell. While “sky high” may not have seemed like a viable option at the time, it certainly is now, all thanks to Drake Maye. To make matters worse for NC State, with the small number of things he can’t accomplish with his arm, Maye makes up for it tenfold with her legs. Dual threat quarterbacks have been the weakness of this defense all season, and Maye is the best of the bunch.

josh down – North Carolina, WR

2022 Stats: 77 receptions, 878 yards, 11.4 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns

Of the Wolfpack’s defensive struggles this season, the easiest to notice outside of containing mobile quarterbacks has been blocking opposing star pass catchers. Syracuse, Wake Forest and even Boston College tore apart the Pack defense for yards through the hands of their top receiving talents. North Carolina’s Josh Downs might be the best of the lot, and he’s more than capable of making up for his quiet performance in last year’s game on Friday.

Key injuries:

  • Devin Leary: North Carolina State, quarterback: Shoulder injury, out

  • Jalen Mitchell: North Carolina State, RB: Undisclosed injury, questionable Saturday

  • Malik Cunningham: Louisville quarterback: Shoulder injury, questionable

  • Savion Jackson: State of North Carolina, DE: Knee injury, out on Saturday

  • Anthony Smith: North Carolina State, WR: Undisclosed injury, out

For more college football coverage, like this NC State preview, visit amNY Sports

North Carolina kicker Christopher Dunn
Junior placekicker Christopher Dunn celebrates with the team after kicking and catching an onside kick during the final home football game of the season against UNC-Chapel Hill at Carter-Finley Stadium on Friday, November 26, 2021. The Wolfpack won 34-30 (Photo: Technician Griffin Bryant)

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