College Sports

Saturday’s area college football games: Here are 11 matchups to watch

N.C. State quarterback Ryan Finley and the Wolfpack will visit Pittsburgh on Saturday in ACC football.
N.C. State quarterback Ryan Finley and the Wolfpack will visit Pittsburgh on Saturday in ACC football. ehyman@newsobserver.com

Saturday’s area college football games to watch:

FLORIDA STATE (1-3, 1-2 ACC) at DUKE (4-2, 1-2)

Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, noon, ESPN2

Florida State ranks 12th of 14 ACC teams in offensive efficiency, and Duke is 13th (they’re leading only Boston College). Seminoles quarterback James Blackman ranks last in passing yardage. Duke’s Shaun Wilson ranks fourth in total yardage in the league.

No. 20 N.C. STATE (5-1, 3-0 ACC) at PITTSBURGH (2-4, 0-2)

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, noon, Fox South Carolinas

The Wolfpack likes to throw the ball (70 percent of its offense), and Pittsburgh has a hard time stopping the pass (last in the ACC). Wolfpack QB Ryan Finley is the only ACC regular who has not thrown an interception this season.

VIRGINIA (4-1, 1-0 ACC) at NORTH CAROLINA (1-5, 0-3)

Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, 3:30 p.m., Fox South Carolinas

Cavaliers’ QB Kurt Benkert has thrown for more than 1,400 yards and made few mistakes in his team’s big start. He will look to control the game against a Tar Heels defense that ranks last in the ACC (466.8 yards allowed per game).

SOUTH CAROLINA (4-2, 2-2 SEC) at TENNESSEE (3-2, 0-2)

Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn., noon, ESPN

QB Jake Bentley is the No. 3 statistical quarterback in the SEC, but the Gamecocks’ offense will test a Volunteers defense featuring linebackers Charles Wright (league-leading seven sacks) and Emmanuel Smith (40 tackles – No.2 in the SEC).

EAST CAROLINA (1-5, 1-2 American Athletic) at No. 22 CENTRAL FLORIDA (4-0, 2-0)

Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, Fla., 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network

It’s the league’s worst defense (47.5 points a game for ECU) against the best offense (47.7 points for UCF). Sophomore QB McKenzie Milton is averaging nearly 300 yards a game passing for the Knights.

CHARLOTTE (0-6, 0-2 Conference USA) at WESTERN KENTUCKY (3-2, 1-1)

L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, Ky., 4:30 p.m.

The two-time defending conference champion Hilltoppers lost most of their skill-position players from last season, but junior QB Mike White is completing 65 percent of his passes and has thrown for 1,255 yards. The 49ers expect to have RB Benny LeMay (concussion) back in action.

APPALACHIAN STATE (3-2, 2-0 Sun Belt) at IDAHO (2-3, 1-1)

Kibbie Dome, Moscow, Idaho, 5 p.m.

Quarterbacks Taylor Lamb (Appalachian State) and Matt Linehan (Idaho) have similar stats, and a big game by either could make the difference. Idaho has the league’s No. 2-ranked defense, and the Mountaineers are No. 3.

COASTAL CAROLINA (1-4, 0-2 Sun Belt) at ARKANSAS STATE (2-2, 1-0)

Centennial Bank Stadium, Jonesboro, Ark., 7 p.m.

Both teams have struggled with turnovers in recent weeks. The Chanticleers are using a four-back running attack. QB Justice Hansen, who has been inconsistent but shown some brilliant flashes, leads the Red Wolves’ attack.

GARDNER-WEBB (1-4) at No. 25 N.C. CENTRAL (4-1)

O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium, Durham, 2 p.m.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs hope QB Tyrell Maxwell can put together long drives and keep the ball out of the Eagles’ hands. QB Chauncey Caldwell has been efficient with a short passing game, as his team has won four straight after an opening loss to Duke.

DAVIDSON (2-3, 0-2 Pioneer Football) at STETSON (1-5, 0-3)

Spec Martin Stadium, Deland, Fla., 1 p.m.

Davidson freshman RB Wesley Dugger is rushing for an average of about 100 yards a game and goes against a Stetson defense that is near the bottom of the conference in rushing defense.

FAYETTEVILLE STATE (2-4, 1-2 CIAA) at JOHNSON C. SMITH (0-6, 0-3)

Irwin Belk Complex, Charlotte, 1 p.m.

The Golden Bulls’ defense must stop Fayetteville State RB Stevie Green, who is averaging 115 rushing yards a game. The Bulls’ offense ranks last in the league, but CB Carlo Thomas is among the league’s defensive leaders in several categories.

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