Things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Week 4:
GAME OF THE WEEK: North Carolina State at No. 12 Florida State. The Wolfpack (3-1) started the year as an Atlantic Division dark horse thanks to plenty of returning veterans and a strong defensive front. N.C. State gets its first shot at one of the division heavyweights when it visits the preseason league favorite Seminoles (0-1). FSU, meanwhile, hasn’t played since the season-opening loss to Alabama due to Hurricane Irma-related issues and will have a freshman starting quarterback in James Blackman after losing Deondre Francois to a season-ending knee injury. ”This isn’t one of those games where I’m going to have to do a whole lot as far as motivating them,” Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said.
BEST MATCHUP: No 25 LSU’s defense will try to slow Syracuse’s passing attack. The Tigers rank tied for 17th in the Bowl Subdivision ranks in total defense (268 yards per game) and 29th in scoring defense (15.7). The Orange rank 29th in FBS in passing offense (297.3 yards) while averaging 38 points.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Louisville’s Lamar Jackson is putting up big numbers again. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner now owns an ACC career mark for most rushing yards by a quarterback (2,834), while he enters Saturday’s game against Kent State within three touchdowns of the ACC career record for rushing scores by a quarterback (38, set by Georgia Tech’s Tevin Washington).
LONG SHOT: Appalachian State will have a home-field advantage against Wake Forest. The Mountaineers, a Sun Belt Conference member, lost 31-10 at Georgia to start the year but threw a scare into Tennessee last season on the road. Appalachian State is a 4+-point underdog against the Demon Deacons, who are trying to start 4-0 for the second straight season. It’s also an instate matchup of programs separated by about 90 miles.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert is coming off a huge game against Connecticut and now leads the Cavaliers into a Friday game at Boise State. Benkert threw for 455 yards and three touchdowns against the Huskies , and now ranks tied for third nationally in the Bowl Subdivision for completions per game (32). He’s also in the top 15 in passing average (325.3 yards) to go with seven touchdowns against one interception in three games.
Compiled by AP Sports Writer Aaron Beard in Raleigh, North Carolina.
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