UNC, Wake Forest gear up for early-season clash

From staff reportsSeptember 8, 2012 

UNC18-SP-090112-RTW

UNC's Ethan Farmer (96),Tommy Heffernan (55) and Brandon Ellerbe (20) stop Elon's Thuc Phan (36) for no gain in the fourth quarter on Saturday September 1, 2012 at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C.

ROBERT WILLETT — rwillett@newsobserver.com

THREE TO WATCH

1) UNC at Wake Forest, 3 p.m. (Fox Sports Net)

The Tar Heels looked great in their opener, the Deacons did not but they both won. UNC pasted Wake 49-24 last year in Chapel Hill with a couple of late “forget-me-not” touchdowns tacked on in the fourth quarter.

2) Miami at Kansas State, noon (FX)

Miami beat Boston College last week but surely Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein took note that Miami’s defense gave up 441 passing yards in the process.

3) Penn State at Virginia, noon (WTVD)

If Virginia can get more solid efforts like the one from quarterback Mike Rocco had against Richmond (311 passing yards, a touchdown), it has a chance to win the Coastal Division.

NUMBER TO KNOW

12-2:  Jim Grobe’s home record against the Triangle ACC teams, including an eight-game winning streak. UNC (31-24 in 2004) was the last Triangle team to win at BB&T Field.

INSIDE THE ACC

•  With the pending elimination of “automatic qualifier” from the unabridged college football lexicon, most observers have downgraded the Big East from “BCS” status.

If the conference wants to make a stand, Saturday would be a good day (with some help from the ACC). Connecticut hosts N.C. State, Syracuse faces No. 2 USC in New Jersey and Temple gets Maryland at home. Not that beating Maryland will help any conference’s cause, but you get the point.

•  You think Virginia Tech has learned its lesson about scheduling during a short week? After losing to Boise State to open the 2010 season on a Monday, the Hokies slept-walk through a 21-16 loss to a motivated James Madison five days later.

After beating Georgia Tech on Monday, the Hokies wanted no part of an in-state team or even a functional “FCS” opponent. Instead, they have lined up Austin Peay. The Governors, 3-8 a year ago, gave up 72 points in a loss to Cincinnati last season.

•  How many times do you think David Cutcliffe and Mike MacIntyre talked this week? MacIntyre, Cutcliffe’s former assistant at Duke and Ole Miss, nearly led his San Jose State team to an upset of Stanford last week. The Blue Devils visit the Cardinal late Saturday night.

There’s hope for Duke, too. San Jose State lost to Stanford 57-3 last year but only lost 20-17 last Saturday. Duke got smoked 44-14 by the Cardinal and quarterback Andrew Luck last season. Luck’s now safely in the NFL.

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