Next: A look at this week’s opponents of Duke, Wake Forest and ECU

October 23, 2012 

DUKE (6-2, 3-1 ACC) vs. Florida State (7-1, 4-1)

Last time out: beat Miami 33-20

Name to know: James Wilder Jr. will likely receive the majority of carries at running back on Saturday. The sophomore will take over for Chris Thompson, the Seminoles’ leading rusher who was lost for the season with a torn ACL last week against Miami.

Wilder was the top-rated recruit as a senior at Tampa Plant in 2010. After struggling with the playbook last season, he has rebounded this year and has collected 369 yards on 61 carries (an average of six yards per touch) along with a team-high seven rushing touchdowns.

Wilder is complemented by fellow sophomore Devonta Freeman. Last week against Miami, the duo combined for 119 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries.

But Thompson, who had a team-leading 687 rushing yards, will be missed.

Bottom line: Florida State is ranked No. 11 in the AP poll and has never lost to the Blue Devils in the 17 games the two schools have played. After Duke lost to Virginia Tech, coach David Cutcliffe talked how the Blue Devils have to play nearly perfect assignment football and have equally effective execution to beat physically superior teams. The Seminoles are certainly one of those.

— Laura Keeley

EAST CAROLINA (5-3, 4-1 C-USA) vs. Navy 4-3 (Independent)

Last time out: Navy overcame a nine-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat Indiana 31-30 on Saturday.

Name to know: True freshman QB Keenan Reynolds has been lightning in a bottle for the Midshipmen as he has led them to three straight wins; in the most recent, the Midshipmen rallied from a 30-21 deficit in the fourth quarter.

Reynolds assumed the starting role after subbing in for injured starter Trey Miller with his team down by a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter against rival Air Force and guided the Midshipmen to a 28-21 overtime victory on Oct. 6.

Reynolds, the first true freshman to start at QB for Navy since 1991, is 2-0 as a starter and passed for 285 yards and ran for 90 in his last nine quarters of action.

Bottom line: East Carolina’s run defense has been stout this season as it ranks 32nd in the nation allowing 123.1 yards per game. That defense will be put to the test by a Navy option attack that racks up 235 rushing yards per contest. With five wins under their belt, the Pirates are on the cusp of bowl eligibility, but in order to lock up a bowl berth this weekend they must first lockdown the Navy ground game.

— Brian Haines

WAKE FOREST (4-3, 2-3 ACC) vs. No. 14 Clemson (6-1, 3-1)

Last time out: The Tigers' defense, among the worst in the league this season, stepped up with three interceptions and held Virginia Tech to seven points in the second half in a 38-17 victory Saturday.

Name to know: RB Andre Ellington. The 5-foot-9 redshirt senior is not only among the league leaders in rushing (693 yards – second in the ACC behind UNC's Giovani Bernard – and seven touchdowns), but in all purpose yards as well (141.6 yards per game, third in the league). Last week against the Hokies, Ellington finished with 96 yards rushing and one TD, and caught one pass for 8 yards.

Bottom line: The Tigers are the ACC's leader in red zone offense, converting on 32 of 33 scoring chances (23 touchdowns, nine field goals) with the ball inside their opponents' 20-yard line. If the Deacons' defense – the worst in the ACC in the red zone – can thwart Clemson on a few (not all) of those opportunities, it could give Wake Forest a much-needed boost in confidence.

— Bill Kiser

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