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Previewing Miami Hurricanes Football Vs NC State with Backing the Pack

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The Hurricanes are looking to make it three in a row this weekend in Raleigh Vs a very physical NC State team, whom much like Miami, is much better than their record.

But which under the radar players do we need to watch?

Who are their greatest players in program history?

And how will this game play out?

To get all that and more, we caught up with our colleagues over at Backing the Pack.

Here is the full Q&A:

SOTU: Give Miami fans an overall feel for the 2016 Pack and the program as a whole. Is NC State heading in the right direction? How hot is Coach Dave Doeren's seat right now?

BTP: Beating Syracuse last week probably cranked down the warmth from where it had been, which, admittedly was pretty hot. Doeren's tenure with the Pack has been one of the main topics of the season so far, and it's been hard to say one way or the other as to what's going to happen. Doeren still has yet to win a big game against a ranked opponent while at State, although he's come close quite a few times. He just can't seem to break through.

The other mitigating factor is the fact that the Pack's athletic director, Debbie Yow is retiring soon, and many think she won't make a change prior to retiring unless something totally drastic happens.

All that being said, if the Pack wins one of the remaining two games and qualifies for a bowl, I tend to believe Doeren is safe for another year, but is the program headed in the right direction? Will another season really make that big a difference for Doeren? Kind of hard to say at this point, but I'm not optimistic.

SOTU: Give me two players  that 'Canes fans need to watch/be aware of Saturday afternoon.

BTP: On the offensive side of the ball, definitely first and foremost Jaylen Samuels. He's one of the most versatile players on the roster - his ability to line up in multiple offensive positions makes him a constant threat to score. In particular, the coaching staff loves to run wheel routes and sweeps with Samuels, but he can also run more traditional passing routes just as well. NC State is successful when they get him a lot of touches, so expect him to be involved early and often.

In addition, Kelvin Harmon has become one of the Pack's most consistent scoring threats, as he's scored a touchdown in three of the last four games. He's also a very good possession receiver, so when the Pack needs a big first down, he's likely going to be involved on the play.

SOTU: Who are the players/match-ups on UM that concern you?

BTP: Absolutely I'm concerned by Brad Kaaya. He's tossed 19 touchdown passes this year, and NC State's secondary has not been all that great this year - it's certainly the weakest part of the defense. The key to this game for me is whether or not the Pack's front 7 can get Kaaya to rush his throws and potentially make some mistakes. If Kaaya has time to make plays and can find some one on one coverage, this could be a long afternoon for the Wolfpack.

SOTU: Who are your top 3 all time players in NC State history, and why?

BTP: That's a great question - here are my three:

3. Nate Irving - Nate played linebacker at State and was an absolutely ferocious tackler. As a fan of old school wrasslin', I always enjoyed Nate's ability to tackle anyone with a suplex during the game.

2. Torry Holt - Big Game 81 was the first player I really remember while growing up that stuck with me while watching NC State football. Even before he got to the NFL, Torry's ability to step up against opponents like Florida State made him a legend among the Wolfpack faithful.

1. Philip Rivers - Rivers will always my absolute favorite player at NC State. An entertaining as hell player with an edge and charisma that Pack fans hadn't seen in a long time, Rivers is and will forever be an NC State legend.

SOTU: Last but not least, who wins this weekend and why?

BTP: A few weeks ago I didn't feel good about this game at all, but both teams now seem to have found some sort of offensive identity again. I ultimately see this being a close game, and if the Wolfpack can get a lot of touches for Jaylen Samuels and get Matthew Dayes running well, I think that will be enough to get a victory over the Hurricanes. I'll take the Wolfpack in a nailbiter, 38-35.

I can't say I agree with that prediction but thanks again to the fine folks at Backing the Pack for working with us.

To find my answers to their questions be sure to drop by HERE.

Enjoy the game this weekend ‘Canes fans!