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Both North Carolina and N.C. State need to win Saturday’s game – but for different reasons. NC State is looking for its first win over a Power 5 team this season. UNC is trying to knock off another rival after beating Duke last week. Both teams need a win to improve their bowl position.

If the Tar Heels can beat NC State at Kenan Stadium on Saturday – and North Carolina has won two straight in the series – they’ll know that a single winnable game kept them from making their first appearance in the ACC Championship Game.

Ahead of Saturday’s game in Chapel Hill, NC State safety Hakim Jones took verbal aim at North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams on Monday, saying the Tar Heels star “basically almost quits” after he’s hit a few times.

Greer Martini has played extensively at linebacker for Notre Dame as a true freshman, thanks in part to his offseason work with Carolina Hurricanes trainer Pete Friesen.

After missing chances to put the game on ice, North Carolina puts away Duke in the second half to end a two-game losing streak and secure bowl-eligibility with a 45-20 win.

When Duke plays North Carolina in football on Thursday, Tar Heels soccer player Bianca Gray will be rooting for the Blue Devils. And when North Carolina plays soccer on Friday, Duke safety Jeremy Cash will be rooting for the Tar Heels.

As North Carolina prepares for another in-state rival, with even bigger stakes this time, the Tar Heels consider the motivational lessons of the East Carolina disaster learned going into Thursday’s game at Duke.

In the space of eight hours, Duke went from on the ropes in the ACC’s Coastal Division to back in control. Again. That’s where the Blue Devils started Saturday, before a home loss to Virginia Tech. It’s also where they woke up Sunday morning after Florida State beat Miami.

The Carolina Hurricanes lost their third straight game Sunday, 2-0 to the San Jose Sharks, but goaltenders Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin have bounced back from last season and given the Hurricanes a chance to win.

By securing bowl eligibility and, at worst, a .500 regular-season record with a 42-13 win over Wake Forest, NC State met the minimum expectations for this season.

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Luke has worked for The News & Observer since 2000. He covered the Carolina Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a sports columnist in August 2008. A native of Evanston, Ill., he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.
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