Freshman wide receiver Jakolbe Baldwin get tackled by a Furman Paladin defender during the game against Furman on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021 at Carter-Finley Stadium. Baldwin had one carry for four yards. The Wolfpack beat the Furman Paladins 45-7.

The No. 18 NC State football team is set to make another ACC road trip this Saturday, traveling to Miami to take on the underperforming Hurricanes. After an all-around great performance against Boston College, the Wolfpack will take on a Miami team that is without its starting quarterback or running back. 

“Obviously [Miami’s] record at 2-4 is not impressive, but they’re playing a lot better than I expected to see them on tape,” said head coach Dave Doeren during his weekly presser. “They’ve played some really great teams.”

The Hurricanes season took a major setback when starting quarterback D’Eriq King went down with a season-ending shoulder injury in week three against Michigan State. King was a preseason sleeper pick for the Heisman trophy. 

Stepping in his place has been Tyler Van Dyke. The freshman quarterback has shown flashes of his potential, throwing for five touchdowns and 737 yards. One thing that plagued him last week in a 45-42 road loss to UNC-Chapel Hill was interceptions, throwing three.

Look for the Wolfpack defense to bring lots of blitz packages to make Van Dyke as uncomfortable all night long at Hard Rock Stadium. 

Outside for the Hurricanes offense, their go-to target is Rambo Charleston. He leads the team by far with 35 receptions and 422 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Another popular option for Van Dyke is Mike Harley, who has 25 receptions for 229 yards and two scores. 

“On offense, they’re still scoring 30 points a game without [D’Eriq] King,” Doeren said. “They’ve got a bunch of receivers a lot of people would love to have.”

On the ground for the Hurricanes, they heavily relied on Cam’ron Harris, who racked up 409 yards on 71 carries. However, Harris picked up a season-ending knock this week. The Hurricanes will now look to Jaylan Knighton to carry the load. He has 136 yards on 32 carries thus far. 

As a defense, Miami is giving up 30 points per game, which is 12th-best in the ACC. Despite the stats, NC State is not taking its defensive unit lightly at all this week in preparation. 

“[Miami’s] corners are long and active,” Doeren said. “The linebackers run well to the football, and there’s a rotation up front.”

At safety, Bubba Bolden leads the team with 41 tackles. Another safety that actively finds himself making big hits is Gurvan Hall Jr. with 29 tackles on the season. 

The Hurricanes linebacker core is led by the duo of Waynmon Steed and Corey Flagg Jr. They each have 27 tackles thus far. 

NC State redshirt sophomore quarterback Devin Leary will look to keep his impressive four-game streak without an interception alive. If he does that, and the running back duo of junior Ricky Person Jr. and sophomore Zonovan Knight continue to be workhorses, NC State should not have a problem scoring on Miami.

“It’s just another opportunity for us to get better as a football team,” Doeren said. “Try to build on what we’ve done in the last four weeks.” 

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, with the game being televised on ESPN2. A win would move NC State to 3-0 in ACC play. 

Staff Writer

I’m Will Thornhill, a staff writer for the Technician’s sports department since March of 2019. I am in the class of 2022 at NC State, with a double-major in Sport Management and Communication Media.