No. 5 North Carolina (3-0, 3-0 ACC) at Florida State (1-3, 0-3), Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC).
Line: UNC by 13 1/2.
Series record: FSU leads 15-3-1.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
North Carolina has its highest AP Top 25 ranking since last cracking the top 5 in 1997 – which was Mack Brown’s final season in his first stint with the Tar Heels. Now Brown has them climbing the polls in his second season back in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels are coming off a 56-45 win against a ranked Virginia Tech team that featured a dominant offensive performance, keeping them in the hunt in the Atlantic Coast Conference race behind No. 1 Clemson and No. 4 Notre Dame. Florida State is simply looking for its first league victory and is playing a top-5 opponent for the second straight game in coach Mike Norvell's first season.
The Seminoles’ run defense against UNC’s tandem of Michael Carter and Javonte Williams. FSU entered the week ranked 61st of 76 Bowl Subdivision teams to have played this year in run defense, surrendering 194.3 yards per game. As for the Tar Heels, much of the attention has followed touted quarterback Sam Howell, but they’re at their best when they run the ball well. They ran for 399 yards against Virginia Tech, with Carter (214) and Williams (169) going for career highs.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
FSU: CB Asante Samuel Jr. The junior is tied for the national lead with three interceptions this year, but he’s also among the national leaders in fumble recoveries with two.
UNC: WR Dyami Brown. The returning 1,000-yard receiver found the end zone last week against the Hokies, making three catches for 86 yards with scores of 37 and 43 yards.
FACTS & FIGURES
UNC’s last game with a top-5 ranking was a loss to third-ranked Florida State in 1997 for its only defeat, with Brown leaving about a month later to take over at Texas. … Brown has lost all nine meetings against his alma mater, including going 0-6 in his first stint with the Tar Heels from 1988-97. … The Tar Heels rank eighth nationally in rushing (245 yards per game) and seventh in total offense (506.7) while averaging 37.7 points. … This is the third straight meeting between the teams coming at FSU, with UNC winning the previous two in 2010 and 2016. … The Seminoles have blocked three kicks this year, tied with Miami, Kansas State and Western Kentucky for the most in FBS.
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