N.C. State (4-5) at Syracuse (4-5)
Kickoff: 12:30 p.m., Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
TV/Radio: WRAL, 101.5-WRAL
Syracuse’s strength: Receiver Amba Etta-Tawo leads the ACC in receiving yards (1,158) and receptions (75). The Maryland graduate transfer entered the season with 61 career catches for 938 yards.
Key theme: N.C. State has stumbled twice in these situations this season losing at East Carolina on Sept. 10 and at home to Boston College on Oct. 29. The Wolfpack’s bowl hopes are dwindling after four straight losses. An injury to Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey won’t fundamentally change Syracuse’s up-tempo offense. N.C. State’s defense will have to duplicate its effort from the FSU loss last week.
SMU (4-5) at East Carolina (3-6)
Kickoff: Noon, Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville
TV/Radio: ESPNews, 570-WFNL
SMU’s strength: The Mustangs rank third in the American Athletic Conference with 27 sacks in nine games. Sophomore defensive end Justin Lawler leads the team with six.
Key theme: The Pirates need to win out to reach a bowl game. Every week is a big week for receiver Zay Jones (127 catches, 1,300 yards) but the Mustangs rank No. 95 in the country in pass defense. SMU, under former Clemson assistant Chad Morris, is coming off of a 51-7 home loss to Memphis but the Mustangs knocked off Houston earlier this season.
Other area games
Campbell (4-4) at Morehead State (3-6), 1 p.m., gocamels.com, Jayne Stadium, Morehead, Ky.: The Camels try to even their road record (1-2) in their last game away from home this season. Running back Jared Joyner ran for 184 yards in last week’s 28-0 home win over Davidson.