College Sports

Saturday’s area college football games include these 12 to watch

Clemson freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence will start for the Tigers when they play host to Syracuse on Saturday.
Clemson freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence will start for the Tigers when they play host to Syracuse on Saturday. tdominick@thestate.com

SYRACUSE (4-0, 1-0 ACC) at No. 3 CLEMSON (4-0, 1-0)

Memorial Stadium, Clemson, S.C., noon, WSOC

All eyes on Clemson freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence, now that he is the starter and Kelly Bryant is leaving the program. How will Bryant’s friends on the team react? And can the Tigers stop QB Eric Dungey and a Syracuse offense that totaled more than 470 yards in last year’s upset of the Tigers?

VIRGINIA (3-1, 1-0 ACC) at N.C. STATE (3-0, 0-0)

Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, 12:20 p.m., WBTV

Wolfpack QB Ryan Finley averages 370 passing yards a game, but the team is last in the ACC in rushing. Coach Bronco Mendenhall’s rebuild project in Charlottesville has produced an explosive offense led by QB Bryce Perkins, a solid runner and passer.

VIRGINIA TECH (2-1, 1-0 ACC) at No. 22 DUKE (4-0, 0-0)

Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, 7 p.m., ESPN2

The Hokies come to Durham off the embarrassing loss to Old Dominion and the loss of QB Josh Jackson to a broken leg. The key might be if Duke’s air game can take advantage of a Virginia Tech defense that allowed 400 passing yards last week.

SOUTH CAROLINA (2-1, 1-1 SEC) at No. 17 KENTUCKY (4-0, 2-0)

Kroger Field, Lexington, Ky., 7:30 p.m., SEC Network

The Gamecocks are used to playing a nationally-ranked Kentucky team, but in basketball, not football. Wildcats RB Benny Snell shredded the tough Mississippi State defense for 165 rushing yards last week. Gamecocks QB Jake Bentley threw for 304 yards last season against Kentucky.

CHARLOTTE (2-2, 1-0 Conference USA) at UAB (2-1, 0-0)

Legion Field, Birmingham, 7 p.m.

Charlotte QB Chris Reynolds threw for more than 280 yards in last Saturday’s loss at Massachusetts. Blazers QB A.J. Erdely has thrown more interceptions (four) than touchdowns (three), but UAB is among the nation’s top rushing teams. In case you’ve forgotten, the 49ers’ only victory last season was over UAB.

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

Kidd-Brewer Stadium, Boone, 3:30 p.m.

Jaguars QB Evan Orth has completed 66-of-96 passes this year, providing a challenge for DB Clifton Duck and the App State defense. Two high-scoring offenses meet on homecoming day in Boone.

COASTAL CAROLINA (3-1, 1-0 Sun Belt) at TROY (3-1, 1-0)

Veterans Memorial Stadium, Troy, Ala., 3:30 p.m.

Chanticleers QB Kilton Anderson was injured last week, and the Chants need him against a rugged Troy team that beat Nebraska earlier this month. The winner of this game emerges as top challenger to Appalachian State in the Sun Belt East.

RICE (1-3) at WAKE FOREST (2-2)

BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, 3:30 p.m., Fox Sports Southeast

Kendall Hinton, who was replaced at QB by Davidson Day’s Sam Hartman, was moved to WR. The Deacons were battered last week by Notre Dame but face a smaller foe this week. Rice’s Austin Walter is among the nation’s top kick returners.

OLD DOMINION (1-3) at EAST CAROLINA (1-2)

Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, 3:30 p.m.

Which Old Dominion team is for real – the one that lost to Charlotte two weeks ago, or the team that beat nationally-ranked Virginia Tech last Saturday? If East Carolina QB Reid Herring (bad ankle) can’t play, Vance High product Kingsley Ifedi could get on the field.

No. 6 WOFFORD (2-1) at GARDNER-WEBB (1-3)

Spangler Stadium, Boiling Springs, 6 p.m.

Both teams like to run the ball, and they also usually play tight games against each other. Wofford won 27-24 last year. The Terriers moved up a notch in the national FCS rankings despite a 17-14 loss last week at Wyoming.

DAVIDSON (3-1, 0-1 Pioneer Football) at VALPARAISO (0-3, 0-0)

Brown Field, Valparaiso, Ind., 2 p.m.

It's the conference's leading rushing team against a Valparaiso team that got 209 passing yards last week from freshman QB Trey Bilinski in his first game. ...The teams rank near the bottom of the conference in defense, so look for plenty of points. It's homecoming, and Valparaiso has won four of its past five homecoming games.

JOHNSON C. SMITH (0-3, 0-1 CIAA) at LINCOLN (0-4, 0-1)

University Stadium, Lincoln University, Pa., 1 p.m.

J.C. Smith played two quarterbacks last week, with Harold Herbin replacing Antonio Wallace. Herbin completed 5-of-8 passes and a touchdown. Lincoln has been outscored 161-7 this season.

Steve Lyttle

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