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NC State vs. Miami Football Prediction and Preview

Zonovan "Bam" Knight, NC State Wolfpack Football

Zonovan Knight and Wolfpack look for a fifth straight win they take on the injury-plagued Hurricanes on Saturday night

The Miami Hurricanes have seen better days.

Not only have the Hurricanes failed to defeat a team from a Power 5 conference this year, but Miami (2-4, 0-2 ACC) is currently on a two-game losing streak. This weekend, the Hurricanes will try to get their first win in nearly a month at home against the NC State Wolfpack (5-1, 2-0).

The No. 18-ranked Wolfpack have been on the opposite end of the spectrum entering this matchup with a four-game winning streak. Last weekend, NC State rolled past Boston College 33-7 in Chestnut Hill.

NC State has lost the past three meetings against Miami, including a 44-41 defeat in Raleigh last year. Miami trailed by 10 points early in the fourth quarter before coming back to win the high-scoring affair.

No. 18 NC State at Miami

Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m. ET
Spread: NC State -3.5

When NC State Has the Ball

The Wolfpack are led by their dynamic quarterback Devin Leary, who is completing 67.3 percent of his passes to rank third in the ACC. Leary has thrown for 1,534 yards with 15 touchdowns only two interceptions.

Not only can the Wolfpack throw the ball effectively, but they can run it as well, as the tag team of Zonovan Knight and Ricky Person Jr. is one of the best in the nation. Knight leads the way with 503 rushing yards and three touchdowns while Person has gained 384 yards with four scores on the ground to give NC State two of the conference's top-10 ball carriers.

This duo could spell bad news for Miami because the Hurricanes have given up 151 rushing yards per game. They are holding teams to four yards per carry, but missed tackles have been an issue too, especially in recent close losses to Virginia and North Carolina.

When Miami Has the Ball

Miami came into the year with high expectations primarily due to D'Eriq King returning at quarterback. But that would be short-lived as King injured his shoulder in the Hurricanes' Sept. 18 loss against Michigan State. He has since been ruled out for the rest of the season.

In King's place, Tyler Van Dyke has taken over at quarterback, and the results have been mixed, to say the least. In four games, Van Dyke has thrown for 737 yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions.

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Van Dyke will face an NC State defense that is 11th in the country with 292.7 yards allowed per game. Despite this, Van Dyke had some interesting comments leading up to the game about the Wolfpack defense.

"NC State has a great defense," Van Dyke said. "What are they? Like top something in the country, top whatever. ... I mean, that doesn't matter.

"They're still the same guys we played last year. We put up 44 points last year on them. They have different type of wrinkles on defense.

"We feel really confident. ... I don't think they can stop us."

For Van Dyke to be proven correct he will need support from the running game, which is led by Jaylan Knighton (4.3 ypc, 2 TDs) with leading rusher Cam'Ron Harris (409 yds., 5 TDs, 5.8 ypc) out for the rest of the season due to a knee injury. It also doesn't help that NC State has the ACC's stingiest rushing defense (90.8 ypg) and has yielded just one touchdown the ground through six games.

Final Analysis

Miami was struggling before the team lost King. Now that King and Harris are both out for the season, the Hurricanes could have difficulty moving the ball against what has been a stout NC State defense.

The Hurricanes showed positive signs against a North Carolina defense that isn't nearly as good as the one they will see this week. This game will come down to the defenses, and that's where the Wolfpack appear to have a distinct advantage.

Miami has struggled with giving up big plays and committing penalties this year. It is hard to believe Saturday will be any different for the Hurricanes, even at home.

Prediction: NC State 37, Miami 21

Podcast: Previewing Week 8 + CFB Expansion + Washington State Coaching Search

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.