North Carolina! Come on and raise up! This one’s for you!
It is, in fact, time to break out Petey Pablo’s iconic anthem because football in the Tar Heel State is back. Not only that, it’s better than ever. 2018 was a dark time; almost every team fell short of expectations or just plain struggled while our neighbors to the south cemented themselves as a dynasty.
Speaking of Clemson, they unfortunately made a sacrificial lamb out of UNC Charlotte, pummeling the 49ers 52-10 at Death Valley. Sitting at 2-2, UNCC has a big upcoming match next Saturday at 3:30 against Lane Kiffin and Florida Atlantic. The game will be shown on NFL Network. The 49ers are clawing to become bowl eligible in Head Coach Will Healy’s first season after just missing out at 5-7 last year.
Heading eastbound up I-40, NC State bounced back from a humbling defeat to West Virginia with a 34-23 victory over Ball State at Carter-Finley Stadium. After losing their starting QB, WR, Center and Middle Linebacker to the draft last year, the Wolfpack have weathered the tide and sit at 3-1 on the season. The Wolfpack will look to avoid the collapse that haunts many programs after losing such a class. Next Saturday they travel to Florida State for a must win conference match for both teams. The game will be played on ACC Network at 7.
Merging off of I-40 and onto the 264 over to Greenville, East Carolina got a big win over William & Mary. While former star ECU QB Gardner Minshew and his mustache enjoy success both on the field for the Jaguars and in the Twitterverse, his Pirates were able to grit out a 19-7 win at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Looking to bounce back after a disastrous 3-9 season last year, Eastern Carolina is a hopeful 2-2 and will look to match their former win total with a big road win over Old Dominion next Saturday. The game will be played at 6 on ESPN+.
Taking I-40 back to Durham, NC Central got its first win of the season in big fashion over in-state rival Elizabeth City State 45-7. It’s the first career win for NCCU coach Trey Oliver as he looks to restore the program to its former elite glory on the HBCU football scene. They travel to Morgan State next Saturday as they look to rack up another win and rally from the 0-3 start they had this season.
Taking 40 West into Winston-Salem, Wake Forest continues to look like it may be a force in the ACC this season as they improved to 4-0 and are only two wins from bowl eligibility. The Deacons obliterated in-state rival Elon 49-7. Although Elon is an FCS team, they are an elite one and can compete with lower level FBS teams with ease, making this a very impressive win for Wake Forest. The Deacons travel to Chestnut Hill, MA on Saturday for their first official ACC game of the season against Boston College. The game will be played on ACC Network at 3:30.
Last but certainly not least is the in-state match of the week. Two teams who have had impressive seasons up to this point faced off in UNC and App State and the game did not disappoint. App State, of course, made its name known with the upset of the century over Michigan in 2007. The Mountaineers blocked a kick as time expired to defeat a top-ranked Wolverine team at Michigan Stadium in a defining moment for FCS Football.
Since then, App State has made the jump to FBS and is coming off it’s most successful season yet, finishing 11-2. Unfortunately, the rest of the country noticed and head coach Scott Satterfield was hired at Louisville and former NC State offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz took over in his place. For all of the success App State has had since the Michigan upset, they haven’t been able to repeat that feat and defeat a Power 5 opponent. They came painfully close last season losing in overtime on the road to a Penn State ranked in the Top Ten.
The old saying goes that history repeats itself, and that is just what it did, as App State blocked a field goal as time expired to defeat UNC 34-31 and improve to 3-0 on the season. While the merit of the word upset can be debated for this game, the victory is still a strong show of resilience and pride for an App State team that has built itself into a great program.