First look: Top story lines, betting odds for NC State vs Miami football game

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N.C. State is on a roll.

The Wolfpack, ranked No. 18 in the AP Top 25, has won four in a row, including last weekend’s 33-7 win at Boston College. The challenges keep coming and the next one is in South Beach, against a Miami team with only two wins. Head coach Dave Doeren doesn’t want anyone to be fooled by the record.

“They are playing a lot better than I expected to see on tape,” Doeren said. “And they’ve played some great teams. They are scoring a lot of points, they are very fast on the perimeter. On offense they are scoring 30 points a game without (D’Eriq) King. They’ve got a bunch of receivers that everyone would love to have.”

A lot of people would also love to have N.C. State’s defense. The Wolfpack defense is ranked No. 1 in the league through six games. Hurricanes’ head coach Manny Diaz talked about how experienced N.C. State is on that side of the ball, adding that they understand what to do and do it well.

The Wolfpack is searching for its fifth straight win, something that has only happened twice under Doeren.

NC State vs Miami game, TV info

Who: NC State (5-1, 2-0) vs. Miami (2-4, 0-2)

Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Fla

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

TV: ESPN2

Vegas odds: NC State vs Miami point spread

N.C. State is a 3.5 point favorite versus Miami.

How to keep it rolling?

The most impressive thing N.C. State did versus Boston College was make halftime adjustments. It seems trivial, and something coaches do each game, but Doeren and his staff have fallen under fire in the past for not adjusting. Whatever changes they made in a short period of time versus Boston College worked. If they keep doing that, adjusting on the fly, they’ll be tough to beat.

Against the Eagles, N.C. State showed how dominant they can be when it’s all clicking. It wasn’t all clicking in the first half when they only scored 10 points. But the 21-point outburst in the third quarter was a good sign moving forward.

“Every game we make adjustments,” Doeren said. “You’re trying to get your players to completely grasp what you’re talking about. A lot of times that happens, but sometimes it doesn’t. We did some things at the half in three or four minutes … I was impressed. Detail for detail they took them out on the field and did it. Mature group.”

Which Miami team shows up?

It’s been mostly bad Miami this season, especially against Power 5 teams. The Hurricanes are on a six-game slide dating back to last season against Power 5 opponents. Will the team mail it in against the Wolfpack? Is Diaz a lame duck coach just holding the spot until the end of the season?

Miami has had seasons when things fell apart in the end, but it’s never looked so bad so early. However, with a ranked team coming to the stadium for a night game, could this be the night they wake up and get it together?

3 Hurricanes players to watch

James Williams, DB: Ever seen a 6-5, 224 pound safety who can run? That’s what N.C. State will face in Miami rookie defensive back James Williams. Doeren talked about how big the safety’s are for the Canes and they get any bigger than Williams.

Through the first six games, Williams has 14 tackles and one interception.

Bubba Bolden, DB: Speaking of big defensive backs, before every snap, the N.C. State offense better local No. 21. Bolden leads the team in tackles (25). Bolde has recorded eight tackles or more in at least three games this season. He had seven in their last contest, a road loss at UNC.

Jaylan Knighton, RB: Knighton has only played in two games this season due to an early suspension, but it’s obvious that head coach Manny Diaz envisions a big role for the freshman. He had 92 yards rushing and two scores last weekend versus the Tar Heels.

3 Wolfpack players to watch

Zonovan Knight, RB: As good as the passing game was against Boston College, the run game was noticeably ineffective. Knight and Ricky Person combined for just 79 yards. Against Miami, Knight needs to have a breakout game. Knight had 100 yards or more in two of the first three games, but has yet to crack the century mark in three straight. The offense needs a big night from the man nicknamed ‘Bam.’

Chris Toudle, TE: The former wide receiver turned tight end is turning into a sneaky favorite target for quarterback Devin Leary.

Toudle (6-4, 240) didn’t have a reception before this season, but has nine through the first five games with two touchdowns. He still has the route running ability like a receiver, which can cause matchup problems with defensive backs.

Daniel Joseph, DE: Joseph led the team in sacks a year ago, and even though he has just one this season, the Canadian constantly lives in the opposing backfield. It seems nearly every passing play the disruptive Joseph is in the quarterbacks face, despite facing double teams.

“When you put the tape on he plays hard as he can physically play,” Doeren said. “He’s mastered that and that is a huge skill set, when you get a guy who plays with maximum effort and Daniel does that.”

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