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Miami Hurricanes vs North Carolina St. Wolfpack: Matchup to Watch

Miami is on the road for a key conference matchup and must do what to win the game?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 15 Miami at Toledo Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes return to action on Friday night taking on the North Carolina St Wolfpack on ESPN. The Canes have won two in a row and currently sit at 5-1 coming off their final bye week of the regular season. North Carolina St is 4-2 but was blown out in their previous game by in state rival North Carolina. Miami has had a penchant of struggling coming off bye weeks, though Manny Diaz said he will change nothing leading into this game.

Statistical Leaders

North Carolina State v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

North Carolina St

Devin Leary 66-110 890 yards 8 TDs 2 Ints (Out for game)

Bailey Hockman 41-70 531 yards 3 TDs 4 Ints

Zonovan Knight 69 carries 406 yards 3 TDs

Ricky Person Jr. 73 carries 335 yards 3 TDs

Emeka Emezie 23 catches 370 yards 3 TDs

Devin Carter 13 catches 243 yards 1 TD

Miami

Miami v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

D’Eriq King 112-183 1401 yards 11 TDs 4 Ints

Cam’Ron Harris 66 carries 346 yards 5 TDs

D’Eriq King 67 carries 301 yards 2 TDs

Donald Chaney Jr. 38 carries 166 yards 3 TDs

Mike Harley 27 catches 344 yards 2 TDs

Brevin Jordan 18 catches 243 yards 3 TDs

Miami should be happy that Brevin Jordan is returning from injury and Mike Harley is coming off his best performance as a Miami Hurricane. The Canes have struggled some offensively since Jordan went out with injury, and his return should allow OC Rhett Lashlee to get into his bag calling plays. The Canes were good the 1st three weeks of the season exploiting Brevin in mismatches with LBs and safeties and his return should open that part of the offense. Also, since Brevin was out the running game has struggled to find the traction it had three weeks into the season. Miami should be able to move the ball against a very average Wolfpack defense which is currently 76th in total defense but 82nd in scoring defense where they give up 34.2PPG. The Canes should be able to get healthy again on offense and get this game into the upper 30s. In that scenario the Wolfpack will not be able to match Miami’s output.

Matchup to Watch

Miami v Florida State Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Much has been made about the Canes struggles under Manny Diaz coming off bye weeks. Miami is 0-4 in such contests. Miami lost 28-25 to UNC, 42-35 to Virginia Tech, 30-24 to FIU and 42-17 this year to Clemson. If you throw in the shutout bowl loss to La Tech 14-0, then Manny and company are truly 0-5 with extended time off. The key matchup is Miami against themselves. NC St. is an average team at best, and without their starting QB Devin Leary, who is out with a broken fibula, Miami has zero reason to lose this game. I have stated multiple times that Miami had to learn how to win the games they are supposed to win, and through 6 weeks the Canes have done exactly that. Miami is a 10.5-point favorite in most publications, so Vegas thinks the Canes should win with relative ease. These are situations in the past where Miami has started slow, and laid an egg in heartbreaking defeats, but this cannot happen on Friday Night. Normally I would be extra cautious on the road in a hostile environment for a conference game. This is not one of those occasions. The fact that people asked Manny Diaz about bye weeks, should mean that he has the team extra prepared for this game, and if Miami simply plays it’s game, and not down to NC St, this should be a Miami win.

Prediction

Miami 35-20 over NC St

Go Canes