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ACC & Big 12 Week 9 Preview: Longtime ACC Rivals Face Off and Notre Dame Looks for First Win — and TD — against NC State

In the ninth week of the college football season, members of the Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee are making visits throughout ACC and Big 12 country, meeting with fans across both conferences in advance of the Camping World Bowl on December 28.

Here are a few of the games our representatives will be taking in this week:

No. 14 NC State (6-1, 4-0 ACC) at No. 9 Notre Dame (6-1) – 3:30 p.m. on NBC

The NC State Wolfpack and Notre Dame Fighting Irish will meet for just the third time in school history on Saturday. NC State remains undefeated in the ACC after its most recent game, a 35-17 win over Pittsburgh in Week 7. The team’s No. 14 ranking is its highest since Philip Rivers led the ‘Pack to a No. 14 ranking heading into Week 2 of the 2003 season. The Wolfpack’s defense, which includes defensive end Bradley Chubb — who is No. 2 in the nation in tackles for loss — ranks sixth in the nation in rushing D and will have its work cut out as it faces Notre Dame’s No. 6 rushing offense.

The Irish are coming of a big 49-19 victory in the latest installment of its rivalry with USC, scoring the program’s most points against the Trojans since 1977. The 19th-best offense in the nation is paced by running back Josh Adams, who averages 138.1 rushing yards per game (No. 6 nationally), and quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who ranks ninth in FBS in points per game at 18.0. The Irish have defeated each of their past five opponents by 20 points or more, the longest such streak by Notre Dame since the 1996 national title team won seven straight by 20 or more. Like the Wolfpack, Brian Kelly’s squad only have one loss on the season — a 20-19 loss to No. 3 Georgia in Week 2.

The Irish are not just seeking their first win against NC State, which owns a 2-0 record in the series — they’re still waiting for their first touchdown. The teams’ first matchup was in the 2003 Gator Bowl, when NC State ended their winningest season in school history (11-3) with a 28-6 victory over No. 11 Notre Dame. The game last season was played at Carter-Finley Stadium during Hurricane Matthew, with the teams battling it out in the pouring rain. A blocked punt return by Dexter Wright gave NC State a 10-3 victory. 

No. 11 Oklahoma State (6-1, 3-2 Big 12) at No. 22 West Virginia (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) – 12:00 p.m. on ABC

The Cowboys are fresh off a 13-10 overtime win at Texas — a nail-biter that saw Ramon Richards intercept a pass in the end zone in the extra frame, setting up a 34-yard Matt Ammendola field goal . The defense held Texas to 42 rushing yards and their lowest scoring total this season. OSU’s offense, meanwhile, is averaging an FBS-best 584.6 yards per game and features Heisman Trophy candidate Mason Rudolph, who leads the nation in passing yards and has thrown for more than 300 yards in seven of his last eight games.

West Virginia has pulled out back-to-back wins over Texas Tech (46-35) and Baylor (38-36), as quarterback Will Grier threw five touchdown passes in both contests. Grier has topped 300 yards passing six times this season and leads the nation with 26 passing touchdowns, while wide receiver David Sills V leads all of FBS with 15 receiving touchdowns on the season — six more than the next-closest player. Oklahoma State will be the fourth ranked opponent for the Mountaineers this season, others including Virginia Tech (31-24 loss), TCU (31-24 loss) and Texas Tech (46-35 win).

Saturday’s game will be a tie-breaker in the all-time series, with each team posting four wins in eight games dating back to 1928. The teams also played in 1929 and in the 1987 Sun Bowl, and have met every season since 2012. The Cowboys have won in the past two meetings but West Virginia holds a 2-1 advantage in Morgantown. In last year’s contest, Oklahoma State handed No. 10 West Virginia its first loss of the season.

 Georgia Tech (4-2, 3-1 ACC) at No. 7 Clemson (6-1, 4-1 ACC) – 8:00 p.m. on ABC/ESPN2

The Yellow Jackets will visit longtime rival and defending national champion Clemson in a crucial primetime ACC matchup. Georgia Tech has won four of their last five games after last week’s 38-24 victory over Wake Forest. Both of their losses this season were by a single point, falling only to No. 8 Miami (25-24) in Week 7 and Tennessee (42-41) in double-overtime in the season opener. Georgia Tech’s rushing offense is ranked second in the nation and is led by quarterback TaQuon Marshall, who has racked up 11 rushing touchdowns this season. Marshall is just the third quarterback in the school’s history to hit double-digits in a single season, and ranks fifth in the nation for scoring with 11.0 points per game.

Clemson is coming off a bye week after its first defeat of the season, a 27-24 road loss to Syracuse. The Tigers defense is 10th in the nation in total defense (289.4 yards per game) and also leads the FBS in sacks, averaging 4.0 per game. Their scoring defense (13.6 points per game), rushing defense (107.9 yards per game) and passing defense (181.6 yards per game) are all ranked second in the ACC. Quarterback Kelly Bryant has accounted for 1,768 yards and 11 touchdowns in seven games this season but suffered multiple injuries including sprained ankle against Wake Forest in Week 6 and a concussion that took him out of the Syracuse game.

Clemson will rely heavily on its 19th-ranked rushing in the 83rd meeting between the programs. Clemson is Georgia Tech’s fourth-most common opponent of all-time (behind Georgia, Auburn and Duke) and the Yellow Jackets have more wins over the Tigers than other any program in Clemson’s school history. Georgia Tech owns the overall edge 51-29-2, but Clemson has the advantage at home with a 13-6 record. Clemson was victorious in their two most recent meetings, including last year’s 26-7 win in Atlanta.

Here are the rest of the ACC and Big 12 games our selection committee members will attend:

Kansas State (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) at Kansas (1-6, 0-4 Big 12) – 3:00 p.m. on FS1
Florida State (2-4, 2-3 ACC) at Boston College (4-4, 2-3 ACC) – 8:00 p.m. (Friday) on ESPN
Texas Tech (4-3, 1-3 Big 12) at No. 10 Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) – 8:00 p.m. on ABC/ESPN2

Other ACC and Big 12 games being played this week:

Texas (3-4, 2-2 Big 12) at Baylor (0-7, 0-4 Big 12) – 12:00 p.m. on ESPNU
No. 8 Miami (6-0, 4-0 ACC) at North Carolina (1-7, 0-5 ACC) – 12:00 p.m. on ESPN2
Louisville (5-3, 2-3 ACC) at Wake Forest (4-3, 1-3 ACC) – 12:20 p.m. on ACC Network
Virginia (5-2, 2-1 ACC) at Pittsburgh (3-5, 1-3 ACC) – 12:30 p.m. on ACC Network
No. 4 TCU (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) at No. 25 Iowa State (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) – 3:30 p.m. on ABC/ESPN2
Duke (4-4, 1-4 ACC) at No. 13 Virginia Tech (6-1, 2-1 ACC) – 7:20 p.m. on ACC Network


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