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Games to Watch – College Football: Week 2

John Robbins

#18 North Carolina vs Syracuse – Noon – ACC Network

These two ACC foes look to bounce back after mediocre 2019 seasons. North Carolina finished 7-5 last year in their first season with coach Mack Brown since his return to Chapel Hill. This year, North Carolina comes in with lots of hype. The Tar Heels are ranked in the top 20 and were able to pick up the 13th best recruiting class in the country, according to 24/7 sports. They also have rising sophomore Sam Howell leading the offense as quarterback. Howell threw for 3,641 yards, 38 touchdowns, with only 7 interceptions as a true freshman.

North Carolina’s opponent, the Syracuse Orange, look to bounce back after going 5-7 and 2-6 in conference. Syracuse had made large strides under head coach Dino Babers, but following a 10-win season in 2018, they took a step back in 2019. The offense, that the Orange have been known for under Babers, will look to rebound as well. The junior quarterback and second year starter had a good year statistically in 2019. He threw for 19 touchdowns and 5 interceptions but only managed 2,360 yards.

Both teams look on the rise this season and with second year starters. This could be a high scoring game by the end of it with these two teams.

#10 Notre Dame vs Duke – 2:30pm – NBC

For the first time in Notre Dame’s 133-year history, the Fighting Irish are playing a conference game. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Notre Dame has decided to add their football team to the ACC for this season only. They went 11-2 last year and finished 11th in the country, beating two ranked teams in the process, #18 Virginia and #23 Navy. The Irish return last year’s starting quarterback, Ian Book, who threw for 6,000 yards and 57 touchdowns. Yet, Notre Dame lost their offensive coordinator, who helped make the offense so powerful last season.

Duke, coming off a mediocre 5-7 season, will have a tall task in stopping the Irish. The offense was not the Blue Devils best attribute last season. They finished 94th in scoring and 114th in total offense in highest level of Division 1 football. Duke did manage to land a huge transfer, former Clemson backup quarterback Chase Brice, who was just named the starter for the Blue Devils. Brice might be enough to jumpstart the Duke offense and push them over the edge Saturday afternoon.

#1 Clemson vs Wake Forest – 7:30pm – ABC

Last year’s Clemson Tigers came within one game from earning their first ever back to back national titles. Clemson went 14-1 last year, only losing to LSU in the national championship game. They rolled through the ACC going undefeated in conference for the second year in a row. Trevor Lawrence, one of the top prospects in the 2021 NFL draft and a consensus preseason first team All-American, will look to continue the Tigers’ 18-game ACC win streak against Wake Forest. Lawrence helped lead Clemson to their 6th straight ACC title and second national title game appearance in a row. Trevor, in his first two games against Wake Forest, has beaten them 115-6.

Wake Forest had a strong offense last season and will look to avoid another blowout at the hands of Clemson. They were the best in the ACC at converting on third down and second in passing offense. Wake Forest also was 15th in the nation for total yards. They were hoping to have Sage Surratt back this season following a shoulder injury that kept him out in 2019. He decided to opt out this season and prepare for the NFL draft. So, the offense rests mainly on the shoulders of Sam Hartman who sat behind Jamie Newman who transferred to Georgia. Hartman was the starter in 2018 and now has been in the system for 3 years.

Look for this game to be a high scoring affair with these two high powered offenses.

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