Miami football most underrated 2021 opponent North Carolina State

Dec 5, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports /

The game of the year for the Miami football team in 2020 was a 44-41 victory at North Carolina State. Miami quarterback D’Eriq King put on a show with 430 yards passing and five touchdowns and 105 yards rushing. King threw a 54-yard TD pass to Mike Harley with 2:43 remaining gave Miami the victory over the Wolfpack.

North Carolina State was one of the surprise teams in the ACC in 2020. The Wolfpack finished the regular season with four straight victories after starting the 4-3. N.C. State lost 23-31 to Kentucky in the Gatorbowl. The Wolfpack return two elite offensive linemen, quarterback Devin Leary and running back Zonovan Knight.

The Miami football team held Knight to 45 yards on 13 carries, but he scored two TDs. Knight put the Wolfpack in front 38-31 in the third quarter with a 100-yard kickoff return. Knight led ACC RBs on the preseason All-ACC teams with 96 votes. N.C. State is picked to finish second in the ACC behind Clemson.

Leary didn’t play versus Miami last season after suffering a broken fibula a few der before the teams met in Raleigh. N.C. State is being overlooked by most media outlets being left out of the consensus top 25. Pro Football Focus profiled N.C. State recent as one of “5 underrated teams entering the 2021 college football season. 

"NORTH CAROLINA STATE WOLFPACKWhy they are being slept on: The NC State offense is underrated heading into 2021. Firstly, the program has one of the most well-rounded centers in college football in Grant Gibson and one of the best run-blockers overall in Ikem Ekwonu.And they’ll be opening up lanes for running back Zonovan Knight, who is the most valuable returning running back in the ACC, per PFFWAA. Then there is the receiving unit, which is oozing with potential. Wide receiver Emeka Emezie is coming off a late-career breakout year after a move back to the outside.Following middling grades of 60.7, 63.2 and 61.4 from 2017 to 2019 and a short stint from the slot to open 2020, Emezie looked like a different player from the outside starting in Week 5 of last year. He recorded a 77.3 receiving grade, 2.40 yards per route run and a Power Five-best 83.3% contested catch rate from that point forward.He saw press coverage on nearly half of his outside snaps in that span and ranked second to only then-Alabama wideout DeVonta Smith in receiving grade on those plays.Starting quarterback Devin Leary looked like a new man in the four games we got to see from him in 2020, too, as he tallied at least four big-time throws in all three games he started.Bottom line: The defense isn’t anything to brag about, but if the offense can reach its full potential, this is quite easily an above-0.500 team. It wouldn’t be a complete shock to see NC State start the year 5-1."

The Miami football team cannot overlook the Wolfpack. Miami plays in the Research Triangle in back to back weeks. Playing N.C. State a week after North Carolina will be a difficult stretch for the Miami. Emezie had four receptions for 95 yards against Miami in 2020. Harley burnt N.C. State for eight receptions, 153 yards and two TDs.

The Miami football team needs at least a split at N.C. State and UNC to have a chance at winning the ACC Coastal Division in 2021. Miami returns to the Raleigh-Durham area for a third time in 2021 when they play at Duke on November 21. Miami won 48-0 in Durham in 2020. Miami will be heavily favored versus Duke in 2021.

The Miami defense obviously needs a better performance against N.C. State in 2021. Miami will need the defensive line to be able to generate more negative plays defensively. The Hurricanes had six tackles for loss and two sacks against the Wolfpack in 2020. The Miami offense had 620 yards against NC State last season.

Next. Bubba Bolden Pro Football Focus draft profile. dark

If Miami at N.C. State matches last season, the Hurricanes and Wolfpack will again be one of the games of the year in the ACC. King and Leary should be a duel worth watching. The ACC is loaded with outstanding QBs. King is the only QB in the last five years with a 400/100 game. He also accomplished those numbers with Houston.