Duke (3-4) at Georgia Tech (4-3)
Kickoff: Noon, Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta
TV/Radio: RSN, Blue Devil IMG Sports Network
Georgia Tech’s strength: It’s triple-option offense. Georgia Tech averages 234.9 rushing yards a week, gaining 265 in a 25-24 win over Georgia Southern two weeks ago. Quarterback Justin Thomas and back Dedrick Mills as usual led the charge, combining for five touchdowns.
Key theme: Everyone’s still talking about how Duke played against Louisville two weeks ago. It was the first game of the year where the Blue Devils didn’t commit a turnover. Before then, they had 18. The 24-14 loss to the Cardinals was a driver for Duke, which hopes to extend a two-game winning streak in the series with Georgia Tech. Duke knows it must limit mistakes and play solid defense to contain Georgia Tech’s option. Tech is looking for a win to stay within bowl eligibility.
Boston College (3-4) at N.C. State (4-3)
Kickoff: 12:30 p.m., Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh
TV/Radio: WRAL, 101.5-WRAL
Boston College’s strength: The Eagles rank No. 7 in the country in total defense (292.9 yards per game) and No. 8 against the run (102.8 yards per game). Junior defensive end Harold Landry, from Pine Forest, is one of the best pass-rushers in the league.
Key theme: How will N.C. State quarterback Ryan Finley bounce back from a subpar effort in a 54-13 loss at Louisville? Finley has been steady for the Wolfpack offense this season. He’s not spectacular but he takes care of the ball and makes good decisions. The Eagles’ defense does not have the speed of Clemson or Louisville but they are tough and will make Finley, and the Wolfpack offense, earn every yard.
Connecticut (3-5) at East Carolina (2-5)
Kickoff: Noon, Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville
TV/Radio: ESPNews, 107.9-WNCT
UCONN’s strength: Like East Carolina, Connecticut has one of the best wide receivers in the country. Noel Thomas is sixth in the country in receiving yards with 923, and he averages 115 yards per game. Also, with the exception of two games, the Huskies have had success stopping the run.
Key theme: Quarterback Philip Nelson returned last week from a concussion that sidelined him for a couple of weeks. However, he wasn’t very effective early on. Their passing defense didn’t play well either. Both must play better. While the Huskies have one of the best wide receivers, he’s their only receiving option, accounting for nearly 50 percent of the team’s catches and yards. East Carolina would be smart to keep a safety over the top.
Jonathan M. Alexander
Other area games
Winston-Salem State (6-2) at Shaw (1-7), 1 p.m., 88.9-WSHA, Durham County Memorial Stadium, Durham: First-year head coach Adrian Jones and Shaw finally got their first win of the season, in a low-scoring game against Johnson C. Smith last week. The Golden Bears have struggled this year. But this week Shaw will play Winston-Salem State, which hasn’t yet lost a conference game. The Rams’ two-headed passing attack are hoping to spoil Shaw’s homecoming.
St. Augustine’s (2-6) at Johnson C. Smith, 1 p.m., 750-WAUG, Stadium, Charlotte: St. Augustine’s lost 39-16 to Fayetteville State last week, but this week, the matchup may be a little more favorable. The Falcons will try for their third win as they face a Johnson C. Smith team that has had its struggles this season. Last week, the Golden Bears lost to Shaw 11-8. But the Falcons will have to stop the run and reduce their turnovers in order to win.
Campbell (3-3) at Drake (3-4), 2 p.m., 88.3 WUAW, Drake Stadium, Des Moines, Iowa: After a fast start to the season, Campbell has lost two straight now. But Drake is coming off a bad loss two weeks ago, 38-7 against San Diego. Last season, the Camels beat Drake 24-14 and picked up nine sacks. Senior running back De’Shawn Jones leads the Camels on offense, rushing for 601 yards and nine touchdowns, and is also the school’s all-time leading rusher.