Rivalry Week Preview: UNC vs. NC State

The disdain between North Carolina and North Carolina State has grown exponentially in the past couple years as NC State message boarders took full credit for discovering the ins and outs of UNC’s academic scandal. It doesn’t help these two schools are just 20 miles apart and fight for recruits year in and year out. UNC has won the past two in the series, but before that NC State had won five in a row and ex NC State quarterback Russell Wilson was a huge part of that. To put it lightly, he owned them.

UNC fans love to give NC State a hard time because of Russell Wilson’s decision to leave the Wolfpack for a one-year run with Wisconsin. Essentially, it doesn’t take much ammo for these two rivals to spew venom and anything goes when it comes to these two programs.

NC State free safety Hakim Jones made a questionable decision on Monday after taking a shot at UNC’s star quarterback and candidate for ACC player of the year, Marquise Williams. Jones said, “If you hit Williams hard enough, he basically quits”.

I’m not sure if he has even watched tape of Marquise Williams because it can be argued Williams is one of the toughest players in the conference. Behind a porous offensive line, the Charlotte native has basically been the entire offense. Williams has thrown for almost 3,000 yards, has accumulated 30 total touchdowns, and leads the team with 700 rushing yards. Put him on a solid team and he would be in the Heisman conversation, as he’s right up there with the likes of Marcus Mariota, Dak Prescott, and Jameis Winston in terms of production.

NC State won’t have to delve deep into their souls to find any motivation either as they keenly remember the Tar Heel players stomping on the midfield logo last year at Carter-Finley stadium. Understandably, UNC was pumped after beating NC State in Raleigh for the first time since 2005.

This year the matchup features two teams trending in two totally opposite directions. NC State hasn’t defeated a team with a winning record since September and has struggled in conference the past two years with a combined record of 2-13. UNC on the other hand has won four out of the last five games and is coming off a complete dismantling of Duke on primetime this past Thursday night. Bragging rights are once again on the line as both teams try to avoid being deemed the next to worst team in the state of North Carolina. NC State will have to run the ball efficiently in order to take the pressure off QB Jacoby Brissett. If UNC can force Brissett to beat them, similar to what they did to Anthony Boone when they played Duke, then NC State could end up losing by two touchdowns or more.

Prediction: UNC 35 NC State 27

 

*Section Photo credit to Lance King, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Rob Kinnan, USA Today Sports.