BATTLE FOR N.C.: Duke on the rise
By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector
Monday, September 30, 2019
Labor Day weekend seems like so long ago.
That is when N.C. State cruised against East Carolina and debuted at No. 1 in these rankings. Duke also couldn't hang with Alabama during the holiday weekend.
A major shakeup comes on the heels of Duke's rout over Virginia Tech and North Carolina, somehow, almost upsetting No. 1 Clemson in a 21-20 loss.
Wake Forest is undefeated and still deserves the top spot in the state, but Appalachian State and Duke are lurking. It is getting tight.
Here are updated rankings:
1. Wake Forest
Why No. 1? Another quality win for Wake, scoring a 27-24 victory at Boston College in a game that was tied at halftime. What remains is a razor-thin margin over App. State, and now Duke.
2. Appalachian State
Why No. 2? The Mountaineers even mixed in a defensive touchdown in routing Coastal Carolina 56-37. It was the second time in three games that ASU, which doesn't play again until Oct. 9, scored 56.
Why No. 3? Throw out a 42-3 loss to Alabama and the Blue Devils are 3-0 with lopsided road wins over Middle Tennessee and Virginia Tech. Duke's 45-10 Friday night thrashing in Blacksburg, Va., featured the visitors rushing for 234 yards and three touchdown against the Hokies, who used to be dominant at home and especially at night.
4. North Carolina
Why No. 4? How does UNC jump N.C. State after a loss? Because the loss was against Clemson, and the Tar Heels were a successful 2-point conversion away from having wins this year against both South Carolina and Clemson. Continue reading below for more on State's struggles.
5. N.C. State
Why No. 5? Preventing East Carolina from serious consideration in the top-five is the Wolfpack's 34-6 win over the Pirates on Aug. 31. NCSU, which is 0-2 against Power 5 competition, has looked off and slipped since then. On Saturday it lost 31-13 at Florida State, trailing 24-6 during the third quarter.
Contact Ronnie Woodward at email@example.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.