RALEIGH — Coming off its big victory at Florida State last weekend, N.C State is getting a simple message from head coach Dave Doeren as the Wolfpack prepares for Syracuse.
“Be disciplined and block the noise,” Doeren said Wednesday during the ACC’s weekly teleconference.
“Whether it’s good noise or bad noise, block it out, and focus on what we need to do better from week four to week five. Just keep our eyes where they need to be, and that’s one day at a time.”
After earning its first victory since 2005 at Doak Campbell Stadium, N.C. State (3-1) will welcome the Orange (2-2) to Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday aiming for its 200th victory in the venue.
It appears to be a clear trap game ahead of Thursday’s matchup with Heisman winning quarterback Lamar Jackson and Louisville.
The Wolfpack is 9-1 against Syracuse, with its only loss coming in 2013 in Raleigh.
But Doeren knows the Syracuse offense, led by quarterback Eric Dungy, has the ability to score in bunches. The Orange is averaging 35 points per game.
“Defense has got a great challenge in front of them, and on the other side of the ball, their defense has forced eight takeaways,” Doeren said. “So we have to continue to do what we’ve done the last few weeks and take care of the football.”
In N.C. State’s only loss of the season, a 35-28 defeat against South Carolina, the Wolfpack turned the ball over twice and allowed a special teams touchdown.
In three games since, the Wolfpack has a zero in the turnover column.
“I think anytime you play, if you’re a good football team that wants to be great, each week of the season you have to eliminate errors from the previous week’s film,” Doeren said. “I think our guys have done that.”
N.C. State is looking for its first 2-0 start in ACC play since 2006.
Miami (2-0) at Duke (4-0)
Coming off its victory against rival North Carolina, Duke has already matched its win total from last season’s stumble.
The Blue Devils will welcome Coastal Division favorite Miami to Durham on Friday night with a chance to be 5-0 for the first time since 1994.
Miami has rolled in non-conference play, averaging 46.5 points and 568.5 yards per game despite being interrupted by Hurricane Irma. The Hurricanes look to prove themselves in the ACC starting with Duke, which is allowing just 15.2 points per contest.
Miami is making its first visit to Durham since a wild finish two years ago. The Hurricanes won that game on a final-play, eight-lateral kickoff return for a touchdown — a play the league later said shouldn’t have counted and led to the suspension of game officials.
With several wins over Power Five opponents, this is Duke’s best chance yet to enter the top-25 discussion.
North Carolina (1-3) at Georgia Tech (2-1)
The injury-riddled Tar Heels will continue their tough start to ACC play with a trip to Georgia Tech on Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets, known for their triple-option attack, have feasted on the ground this season as the top rushing team in nation. But in last week’s win over Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech had four fumbles.
The Tar Heels have allowed an average of 38.0 points per game in five meetings against Georgia Tech under head coach Larry Fedora. UNC has dropped seven of its last eight games in Atlanta, but has won the last three meetings between the two teams, including a 38-31 victory in Atlanta in 2015.
UNC has managed to enter the fourth quarter with the lead in each of their losses. With a makeshift offensive line and Quarterback Chazz Surratt continuing to adjust to the college level, it could be a long afternoon for the Tar Heels.
Florida State (0-2) at Wake Forest (4-0)
After escaping Boone with a 20-19 victory, Wake Forest faces its biggest test of the season when winless Florida State comes to Winston-Salem on Saturday.
The Demon Deacons are off to a 4-0 start for the second straight season and will look to avoid a sixth straight loss to the Seminoles. The last victory for Wake Forest in the series came in 2011.
Known for its stout defense in recent years, the Wake Forest offense is finally doing its part, averaging nearly 38 points after ranking last or next-to-last in the ACC in scoring in each of the past three years.
Wake Forest leads the ACC in turnover margin this season, while the Seminoles have yet to take the football away.
No better chance for the Demon Deacons to put the rest of the nation on notice.
South Florida (4-0) at ECU (1-3)
After earning its first win of the season in the American Athletic Conference opener at UConn, ECU returns home to face top-25 USF.
The Pirates will look to go 2-0 in league play for the sixth time in the last nine years when they face the unbeaten Bulls. South Florida is 6-1 against ECU in the series, and a perfect 3-0 in Greenville.
ECU, which snapped a seven-game losing streak that dates back to last season, nearly blew a 20-point lead in its win last week. The Pirates will need to put together a complete game if they hope to upset the Bulls.
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5162. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.