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ACC & Big 12 Week 5 Preview: Notre Dame, Texas Tech face tall tasks at home

In the fifth 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:

North Carolina (1-2, 1-0 ACC) at No. 16 Miami (3-1, 0-0 ACC) – 8 p.m. (Thursday) on ESPN

The Tar Heels and the Hurricanes will meet for the 21st time in program history this weekend. The teams have split the previous 20 matchups 10-10, and Miami carries a 7-5 all-time in games played at home.

The ‘Canes are coming off their 11th straight home victory (dating back to Oct. 15, 2016) after they defeated FIU 31-17 last weekend. Miami is ranked No. 2 in the nation in total defense, allowing an average of just 223.8 yards per game. The defense is led by defensive lineman Gerald Willis III, who is tied for the national lead with an average of 2.5 tackles for loss per game (10.0 total).

North Carolina is also coming off a win after beating Pittsburgh 38-35 in Chapel Hill last week. The Tar Heels are led by quarterback Nathan Elliott, who completed 22 of 31 passes for a career-high 313 yards and two touchdowns against the Panthers, while wide receiver Antonio Williams topped the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career.

No. 7 Stanford (4-0, 2-0 Pac 12) at No. 8 Notre Dame (4-0) – 7:30 p.m. on NBC

The Cardinals and Fighting Irish will meet in primetime Saturday in the first matchup of top-eight teams at Notre Dame Stadium since Ohio State visited the Irish in 1996. (No. 4 Ohio State topped No. 5 Notre Dame 29-16 in that contest.)

Overall, Notre Dame has hosted 35 Top-10 matchups and has won 22 of those games, however, the Irish have lost their last three Top 10 matchups at home, with their most recent victory in such games coming against No. 1 Florida State in 1993. Notre Dame and Stanford have never met with both squads ranked in the Top 10, and this year’s game will mark the first time both teams will enter the game undefeated since their first-ever matchup, in the 1925 Rose Bowl.

On the field, Notre Dame is coming off of a 56-27 rout of Wake Forest that saw new starting quarterback Ian Book average 13.0 yards per completion and complete a pass to 10 different receivers. Stanford, meanwhile, rallied from 10 points down with 4:39 left in the fourth quarter to earn a 38-31 overtime victory at Oregon.

 No. 12 West Virginia (3-0, 1-0 Big 12) at No. 25 Texas Tech (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) – 12 p.m. on ESPN2

West Virginia holds a 5-2 all-time lead in the series, which dates all the way back to West Virginia’s 7-6 victory in the 1938 Sun Bowl. The Mountaineers currently hold a four-game win streak over the Red Raiders, including a 46-35 victory in Morgantown last season.

The Red Raiders are ranked fifth nationally in scoring at 52 points per game, and have scored at least 60 points in each of their last two games inside Jones AT&T stadium. Texas Tech also features the No. 1 passing offense (435.8 yards per game) and total offense (623.5 yards per game) among FBS programs.

Texas Tech will get a challenge, however, from West Virginia’s scoring defense, which is tied for first in the nation allowing an average of just 12.3 yards per game. Offensively, the Mountaineers have scored on 20 of their 32 drives this season, including 17 touchdowns, and are 12-for-12 in the red zone, including nine touchdowns. 

Virginia (3-1, 1-0 ACC) at NC State (3-0, 0-0 ACC) – 12:20 p.m. on ACC Network

The Cavaliers and the Wolfpack are meeting for the 58th time in a series that began in 1904, but are meeting for only the fifth time in 15 seasons. The last time the programs played each other was in 2012, when Virginia beat NC State 33-6 in Raleigh.

The Cavaliers’ offense is led by quarterback Bryce Perkins, who is one of eight FBS quarterbacks since 2000 to record over 800 passing yards, 300 rushing yards, nine passing touchdowns and three rushing touchdowns through the first four games of the season. Of Virginia’s 17 touchdowns, 10 have come on scoring plays of 20 yards or more, including six of over 35 yards.

NC State features the No. 4 passing offense in the FBS (370.7 yards per game) thanks to quarterback Ryan Finley, who ranks fourth nationally in passing yards per game (352). The Pack defense has also held its opponents to an average of 13.3 points per game this season, good for ninth among FBS programs.

 Florida State (2-2, 0-2 ACC) at Louisville (2-2, 0-1 ACC) – 3:30 p.m. on ESPN2

Both Florida State and Louisville are looking for their first conference win this weekend as the Seminoles head to Cardinal Stadium. Florida State leads the series 14-4, including a 5-2 mark at Louisville, but the Cards have won the two most recent contests between the programs.

The Seminoles evened their record to 2-2 last weekend after a 37-19 win over Northern Illinois. Florida State’s rushing defense is ranked 11th in the FBS, allowing an average of 97.5 yards per game, and held NIU to just six rushing yards last weekend — the fewest allowed by an ACC defense this season.

The Cardinals are coming off a 27-3 loss to Virginia, in which they failed to score an offensive touchdown for just the second time under head coach Bobby Petrino. (The first was in the 2016 Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl against LSU.) Kicker Blanton Creque leads Louisville with 20 points this season and ranks fourth in the program’s history with 37 made field goals and 216 points by a kicker.

 No. 18 Texas (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) at Kansas State (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) – 3:30 p.m. on FS1

The Wildcats lead this series 10-8 and are riding a five-game home win streak against the Longhorns, whose last victory in Manhattan came in 2002. The home team has won the last six meetings between these teams, including last year’s 40-32 double-overtime victory by Texas.

The Longhorns are on a three-game win streak for the first time since 2014 after wins over Tulsa, No. 22 USC and No. 17 TCU. Over the past two weeks, Texas has outscored its opponents 42-3 after halftime and 58-10 after the first quarter.

Kansas State is seeking its first conference win this weekend after a 35-6 loss to West Virginia. In their first four games, the Wildcats offense has utilized two quarterbacks – Skylar Thompson (39-66 for 505 yards and 4 touchdowns) and Alex Delton (15-31 for 259 yards and 1 touchdown), with Thompson earning all four starts. 

Iowa State (1-2, 0-1 Big 12) at TCU (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) – 7 p.m. on ESPNU

The Cyclones and the Horned Frogs are meeting for the 10th time in program history; TCU holds a 7-2 series lead including a 3-1 advantage in Fort Worth. Last season, Iowa State snapped a four-game win streak with a 14-7 win over TCU in Ames.

TCU is returning home after playing three straight weeks away from Fort Worth for the first time since 2011. Although on the road, the Horned Frogs didn’t have to leave the state of Texas as they played in Dallas (at SMU), Arlington (neutral site vs. Ohio State) and Austin (at Texas). TCU is looking to protect a seven-game win streak at home after going 6-0 in Amon G. Carter Stadium last season — its third perfect campaign at home in the past four seasons.

Wide receiver Hakeem Butler leads the Cyclones offense with 297 all-purpose yards this season, including two touchdown catches of 50 yards or longer this season. With 17.6 yards per catch for his career, Butler ranks fourth in program history. The Iowa State defense features cornerback Brian Peavy, who has 39 career passes defended, earning him the No. 1 rank among active FBS players.

Other ACC and Big 12 games being played this week:

Syracuse (4-0, 1-0 ACC) at No. 3 Clemson (4-0, 1-0 ACC) – 12 p.m. on ABC
Temple (2-2, 1-0 AAC) at Boston College (3-1, 1-0 ACC) – 12 p.m. on ESPNU
Bowling Green (1-3, 0-1 MAC) at Georgia Tech (1-3, 0-2 ACC) – 12 p.m. on ACC Network
Oklahoma State (3-1, 0-1 Big 12) at Kansas (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) – 12 p.m. on TBD
Pittsburgh (2-2, 1-1 ACC) at UCF (1-0 AAC) – 3:30 p.m. on ESPNU
Rice (1-3, 0-1 C-USA) at Wake Forest (2-2, 0-1 ACC) – 3:30 p.m. on ACC Network
Baylor (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) at No. 6 Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) – 3:30 p.m. on ABC
Virginia Tech (2-1, 1-0 ACC) at No. 22 Duke (4-0, 0-0 ACC) – 7 p.m. on ESPN2


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