University of Miami

Hurricanes and Wolfpack back to winning, so something has to give Saturday

Miami coach Mark Richt said ‘Miami hasn’t played [NC State] that often, so it’ll be a new experience for all of our players. ... Very rough place to play. Their crowd does a beautiful job, and we’re looking forward to that challenge.’
Miami coach Mark Richt said ‘Miami hasn’t played [NC State] that often, so it’ll be a new experience for all of our players. ... Very rough place to play. Their crowd does a beautiful job, and we’re looking forward to that challenge.’ AP

Remember when the Miami Hurricanes had lost four games in a row, dropped out of the polls, and a prospective bowl scenario was on the fringe of becoming just a tad sketchy?

Say hello to the North Carolina State Wolfpack, which knows exactly what that feels like as it prepares to meet Miami (6-4, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium.

The Wolfpack (5-5, 2-4) started the season 4-1 before dropping games to Clemson (will be back in a bit about this game), Louisville, Boston College and Florida State. Except for Boston College, how’s that for murderer’s row?

Last week, the Pack rebounded with a 35-20 victory at Syracuse and will play its final home game of 2016 — Senior Day — in search of a bowl-qualifying victory before its finale at nemesis North Carolina.

Miami, meanwhile, came off its second win in a row last Saturday after that nasty four-game slide and qualified for a bowl game in the process.

UM coach Mark Richt was asked this week if he notices any difference in the way programs play when they’re one game from qualifying.

“It makes it easier to motivate your team,’’ Richt said. “To me, there are two things going very positive for [NC State] from a psychological point of view. The opportunity to become bowl eligible is important to coaches and players [and] very important to fans, obviously.

“And Senior Day … is the last time these guys are going to put the pads on and play for the Wolfpack at home, and that’s an emotional time. There’s a lot of motivation that’s kind of naturally built into this thing for them.’’

So what about Miami?

“I just want to finish out these last two games strong,’’ said senior safety Rayshawn Jenkins, who hopes to head to the NFL next season. “I just want to go into the game and play as best as I can — run and tackle like I’ve been doing. The plays will find me. I am not going to overthink it.”

Senior safety Jamal Carter said he wants to make an “impact” for the younger players. “I’m trying to go all out for these last few games — give my team my all and show these young guys how to finish.”

UM true freshman and tackles leader Shaquille Quarterman (tied with Corn Elder with 61) knows how to start, finish and excel in between: “Everybody’s working. Everybody’s grinding it out …,’’ Quarterman said. “Just keeping up the everlasting fight of getting to the ball, hunting the ball, hunting the tackle for loss, getting your cleats across the line of scrimmage.’’

The last time these teams met in Raleigh was the 2008 regular-season finale. Miami was 7-4 going into the game and North Carolina State needed a victory to qualify for a bowl. The Pack, which belongs to the Atlantic Division of the ACC and thus does not play Miami often, won 38-28.

The Canes took the last game 44-37 at home in 2012, when UM quarterback Stephen Morris threw for a school-record 566 yards and five touchdowns, including the game-winning, 62-yard touchdown to Phillip Dorsett with 19 seconds left.

In Saturday’s chapter, Matt Dayes, a senior running back out of Weston Cypress Bay High, needs only 61 yards to become the Wolfpack’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2002.

Also, the Hurricanes will contend with a Pack team that ranks fourth nationally in rushing defense (99.4 yards allowed per game), ninth in fumbles recovered (11) and 20th in total defense (344.4 yards allowed).

Individually, defensive end Bradley Chubb is tied for third in the nation with 17.5 tackles for loss and has eight sacks.

The Pack is led offensively by redshirt sophomore quarterback Ryan Finley, who threw for a career-best 340 yards last week and surpassed 300 yards for the third consecutive game.

As for that Clemson game that began NC State’s four-game losing streak, it’s one that left most college football fans shaking their heads.

Tied 17-17 against then-No. 3 Clemson on Oct. 15, NC State drove down the field for what appeared would be a game-winning, 33-yard field goal with two seconds left. But Kyle Bambard’s kick went wide right and Clemson won in overtime.

A month later, the Pack, like UM, appears to be headed in a positive direction. On Saturday, something has to give.

“Miami hasn’t played them that often,’’ Richt said, “so it’ll be a new experience for all of our players.”

Saturday: Miami @ NC State

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m.; Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, North Carolina.

TV/radio: CBS-4; WQAM 560; WURN 1020 (Spanish); WVUM 90.5 FM.

Favorite: Miami by 3.

Records: Miami 6-4 (3-3 ACC); NC State 5-5 (2-4 ACC).

Series: Miami leads 8-5.

Miami injuries: Questionable — DL Courtel Jenkins (undisclosed); OT Trevor Darling (lower body). Out — DB Adrian Colbert (arm); S Cedrick Wright (suspension); C Nick Linder (shoulder); TE Sunny Odgowu (leg); LB Jamie Godinier (knee); RB Trayone Gray (knee); Lawrence Cager (knee).

NC State injuries: Out — RB Johnny Frasier (shoulder); WR Brian Sessoms (achilles); WR C.J. Riley (knee); WR Jurmichael Ramos (knee).

PROBABLE UM STARTERS

OFFENSE

DEFENSE

POS.

NO.

PLAYER

YR.

POS.

NO.

PLAYER

YR.

QB

15

Brad Kaaya

Jr.

DE

9

Chad Thomas

Jr.

HB

1

Mark Walton

So.

DT

7

Kendrick Norton

So.

FB

36

Marquez Williams

Sr.

DT

80

R.J. McIntosh

So.

WR

3

Stacy Coley

Sr.

DE

33

Trent Harris

Jr.

WR

8

Braxton Berrios

Jr.

LB

53

Zach McCloud

Fr.

TE

23

C. Herndon IV

Jr.

LB

55

Shaq Quarterman

Fr.

LT

73

Trevor Darling

Jr.

LB

56

Michael Pinckney

Fr.

LG

52

Kc McDermott

Jr.

CB

29

Corn Elder

Sr.

C

68

Nick Linder

Jr.

CB

22

S. Redwine

So.

RG

63

Daniel Isidora

Sr.

FS

26

R. Jenkins

Sr.

RT

78

Tyree St. Louis

So.

S

4

Jaquan Johnson

So.

PK

15

Michael Badgley

Jr.

P

16

Justin Vogel

Sr.

PROBABLE NC STATE STARTERS

OFFENSE

DEFENSE

POS.

NO.

PLAYER

YR.

POS.

NO.

PLAYER

YR.

QB

15

Ryan Finley

Jr.

DE

45

Darian Roseboro

So.

RB

21

Matt

Dayes

Sr.

DT

27

Justin Jones

Jr.

WR

7

Nyheim Hines

So.

DT

98

B.J. Hill

Jr.

WR

13

Bra’lon Cherry

Sr.

DE

9

Bradley Chubb

Jr.

WR

12

Stephen Louis

So.

LB

58

Airius Moore

Jr.

TE

48

Cole Cook

Jr.

LB

43

Jerod Fernandez

Jr.

LT

53

Tyler Jones

So.

LB

8

Dravious Wright

Sr.

LG

65

Garnett Bradbury

So.

CB

29

Jack Tocho

Sr.

C

66

Joseph Scelfo

Sr.

CB

2

Michael Stevens

Jr.

RG

50

Tony Adams

Jr.

S

31

Jarius Morehead

Fr.

RT

70

Terronne Prescod

So.

FS

14

Dexter Wright

So.

PK

92

Kyle Bambard

So.

P

90

AJ Cole III

So.

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