RALEIGH, N.C. – Syracuse and North Carolina State, the only two ACC Atlantic Division teams that are winless in conference play, face off Thursday night. The Orange and host Wolfpack have each had nearly two weeks to prepare as they seek their first ACC victory of the campaign.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: N.C. State -4.5
Syracuse absorbed a 41-6 loss to No. 2 Clemson in its ACC opener before bouncing back with victories against Western Michigan and Holy Cross. The Orange scored 93 points in those two triumphs and erupted for 51 in last season's meeting with N.C. State - a 10-point win that was only the second victory by Syracuse in 12 encounters with N.C. State. The Wolfpack were handed a 31-13 loss against Florida State in their last game as they lost two fumbles, turned it over on downs twice and punted six times in a sloppy overall effort. "Weird feeling after this game," N.C. State coach Dave Doeren, who plans to switch quarterbacks this week, told reporters. "I'm really proud of the way our defensive kids battled. We struggled offensively in a lot of ways."
ABOUT SYRACUSE (3-2, 0-1 ACC)
The Orange average only 3.4 yards per carry as a team with Moe Neal (317 yards, 4.4 average) leading the way. None of his 11 carries went for more than six yards against Holy Cross, but sophomore quarterback Tommy DeVito carried the load with four touchdown passes to four receivers. One of those scoring strikes went to Trishton Jackson, who leads the team in receptions (24), receiving yards (393) and touchdown catches (five) - all of which are already career highs for the junior wideout.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (3-2, 0-1)
The Wolfpack will go with Bailey Hockman as their starter at quarterback and Devin Leary as their backup with former starter Matthew McKay dropping to third string against Syracuse. Hockman, who was 21-of-40 for 208 yards with a touchdown in relief of McKay against Florida State, could continue to lean on tailbacks Jordan Houston (7.1 yards per carry) and Zonovan Knight (5.4). Larrell Murchison has five sacks - only 15 players in the nation have more - and Chris Ingram has registered two of the team's three interceptions.
1. DeVito has thrown eight TDs in his last two games after totaling three in the first three outings.
2. N.C. State WR Emeka Emezie has a team-high 28 catches this season, although none of his receptions have gone for more than 19 yards.
3. Syracuse K Andre Szmyt, a preseason All-American, has only attempted five field goals in the first five games and made all five.
PREDICTION: Syracuse 33, North Carolina State 21