Miami faces Pitt in the ACC best game this week. FSU takes on North Carolina.

Pittsburgh’s defense should challenge No. 13 Miami’s offense. The Panthers lead the ACC in total defense (263.4 yards per game), run defense (52.0) and sacks (4.8) – ranking in the top six in the Bowl Subdivision ranks in each. Pitt also ranks 12th nationally in scoring defense by allowing 18.2 points per game.

The Panthers (3-2, 2-2) have lost consecutive one-point games to North Carolina State and Boston College. The Hurricanes (3-1, 2-1) struggled to 210 yards in last weekend’s loss at No. 1 Clemson, but averaged 499 yards in their first three games.

Florida State 1-3 hosts 3-0 North Carolina as they face another nationally ranked team this week. The Seminoles host the Tar Heels in a 7 p.m. game at Doak Campbell Stadium.

On the season North Carolina is averaging 37.7 points per game while averaging 506.7 yards per game. Quarterback Sam Howell has had a big year throwing for 777 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions. The Tar Heels defense wasn’t great in the last game and needs to be better especially against an offense that has been less stellar at times. 

On the other side of this matchup is the Florida State Seminoles who are trying to build back up their program and there have been some growing pains so far. On the season Florida State has won only one game and in the last game against Notre Dame, they didn’t look good giving up 42 points. On the season Florida State is averaging only 22.5 points per game while the defense is giving up 33.5 points per game. Under center for the Seminoles is Jordan Travis who has given Florida State a bit of a boost this season but the defense hasn’t allowed them to stay close. 

Boston College at No. 23 Virginia Tech. This is the only game on the week’s schedule to match a pair of one-loss teams, meaning the loser will slide significantly back in an ACC race headlined by three unbeatens: No. 1 Clemson, No. 4 Notre Dame and No. 5 North Carolina. The Hokies (2-1, 2-1 ACC) are coming off a 56-45 road loss to the Tar Heels and have played shorthanded every week due to a combination of coronavirus and injury issues, though returning starting quarterback Hendon Hooker made his debut in UNC loss and played the entire way after halftime. As for the Eagles (3-1, 2-1), first-year coach Jeff Hafley’s squad is coming off a 31-30 overtime win against Pittsburgh after a close home loss to UNC.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

Duke visits North Carolina State on Saturday for the 83rd meeting in a longtime series between instate neighbors, one far more rare after waves of ACC expansion. Separated by about 25 miles, the schools played every year except once from 1924 through 2003, the exception being in 1944 during World War II. But they haven’t played since 2013 and the Blue Devils haven’t visited Raleigh since 2009.

LONG SHOT

Georgia Tech opened the week as a 26½-point underdog against visiting Clemson, which has won five straight ACC championships and 25 straight games against league opponents. The Yellow Jackets haven’t beaten the Tigers since the 2014 season as every-year opponents. And Wake Forest was a 2-point home underdog as of Wednesday against visiting Virginia as it seeks a first league win.

IMPACT PLAYER

UNC receiver Dazz Newsome will look for another big game in Saturday night’s trip to Florida State. The returning 1,000-yard receiver had just three catches for 31 yards before last week, when he had seven catches for 69 yards and a score to go with a rushing touchdown in the Virginia Tech win. Offensive coordinator Phil Longo said Monday he needed to get Newsome more involved after the first two games, saying: “I think the more Dazz touches the football, the more explosive he’ll be this season.”

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