LIBERTY at SYRACUSE
Noon Saturday, MASN
This is the first of three games Liberty (4-0) will play against ACC teams this year. The Flames are 0-8 all-time against ACC foes.
“Everything we do is about, in Year 2, trying to advance our program,” Liberty second-year coach Hugh Freeze said. “What better opportunity do you have than to go play an ACC team on the road and hopefully be in the game and have a chance to compete to win it? That’s our goal. Are we ready for those opportunities yet? I don’t know.
“There are actually people that are expecting us to compete [at Syracuse]. So that’s an expectation we embrace. … Are we worthy of it? I don’t know.
“I think we’re further along in Year 2 than I thought we would be.”
Syracuse (1-3) stifled Liberty 24-0 last year. But Orange coach Dino Babers said the Flames are better this year.
“They’re extremely explosive,” Babers said. “They’re a complete team and they’re very athletic.”
Syracuse QB Tommy DeVito left last weekend’s loss to Duke with a leg injury when he was sacked in the fourth quarter. It was the latest serious injury on the team.
“The injuries mount up and you’re getting younger and younger people playing who have not been developed in the weight room the way they need to be developed, and they’re hitting guys that are bigger than them,” Babers said. “We have to match the physicality.”
Former Salem Red Sox play-by-play announcer Evan Lepler will do the play-by-play for this telecast.
CLEMSON at GEORGIA TECH
Noon Saturday, WSET
Trevor Lawrence has thrown for 1,140 yards and 10 touchdowns for No. 1 Clemson (4-0, 3-0). He leads the ACC in passing efficiency.
“As far as Trevor as a [pro] quarterback prospect, I don’t know what you would want in a quarterback that he doesn’t possess,” Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said. “You want size? You got it. You want a guy that can run? You got it. You want a guy that has great football IQ? You got it. You want a guy that’s a great leader? You got it. … You want a guy that’s accurate? You got it. You want a guy that’s got great pocket presence? You got it.”
The surprising Yellow Jackets (2-2, 2-1) are coming off a win over Louisville.
“This team is playing with confidence and playing with great effort,” Swinney said of Georgia Tech.
Giles High School and Radford University graduate Marty Smith will be the sideline reporter for this telecast.
NORTH CAROLINA at FLORIDA STATE
7:30 p.m. Saturday, WSET
No. 5 North Carolina (3-0, 3-0) moved into the top five of the Associated Press Top 25 poll this week for the first time since 1997.
“That’s fun. It’s good for recruiting,” UNC coach Mack Brown said.
The Seminoles (1-3, 0-3) will face a ranked foe for the third time this year.
“They’re the most talented team we’ve played to this point,” Brown said of FSU. “They’re huge, and can run on defense.”
The Seminoles are coming off a 42-26 loss at Notre Dame.
“Defensively, we’ve got to do a better job of eliminating the explosive play,” coach Mike Norvell said. “Just too many times where … we weren’t all 11 playing on the same page.”
PITTSBURGH at MIAMI
Noon Saturday, ACC Network
Pitt (3-2, 2-2) has suffered back-to-back one-point losses to North Carolina State and Boston College.
“We’re this far away from really being 5-0, and that’s really the attitude we take,” coach Pat Narduzzi said. “You’re a few plays away, and we’ve got to win it in the fourth quarter. We’ve got to find a way to finish the darned game.”
No. 13 Miami (3-1, 2-1) is girding for a Pitt team that leads the ACC in total defense (263.4 ypg) and rushing defense (52 ypg).
“They’re going to put as many people as they can find close to the line of scrimmage and they’re going to play press man-to-man [coverage] on the outside,” Miami coach Manny Diaz said. “They’re going to force you to throw the ball down the field and win some one-on-ones.”
LOUISVILLE at NOTRE DAME
2:30 p.m. Saturday, WSLS
Even though QB Malik Cunningham and WR Tutu Atwell are back, the Cardinals (1-3, 0-3) have not hurt foes with the deep ball as much as they did last fall.
“Malik’s overthrown a few of them, but it seems like there’s been something different, whether it be Malik not throwing the proper ball or the receiver not running the proper route or the O-line or tight ends not protecting,” coach Scott Satterfield said. “Malik’s got to be able to hit some of those balls. … We’ve just not connected like we needed to down the field. … We’re not good enough to not connect on those big plays.”
No. 4 Notre Dame (3-0, 2-0) leads the ACC in scoring defense (13 ppg), but coach Brian Kelly wasn’t thrilled with how his defense fared in last weekend’s 42-26 win over Florida State.
“It’s not the kind of defense … I want to put out there,” Kelly said. “We had a lot of those guys that were not practicing during the week, and it showed. … There were some uncharacteristic … lapses. … They’ll be corrected for this weekend.”
DUKE at N.C. STATE
3:30 p.m. Saturday, MASN
New offensive coordinator Tim Beck has N.C. State (3-1, 3-1) clicking.
“With [QB Devin] Leary settling in at quarterback, plus two really outstanding backs and a big, physical offensive line and receivers that can play, this is a complete football team,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said of State. “They do a great job of mixing things up with run and pass.”
Duke (1-4, 1-4) will be visiting State for the first time since 2009.
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