BTP: This is the first time the Pack and the Hurricanes have met in awhile. Have you gotten to watch any of the Wolfpack play this year, and what's your impression of the team?
SOTU: I caught most of both the FSU and Clemson games, in which NC State was very competitive and close to pulling off upsets. It seems like the Clemson game really took the wind out of their sails. Their D played with a lot of passion in that contest and the missed FG's against the Tigers were heart breaking to watch, even as a Hurricanes fan. Ryan Finley had some very good moments against Florida State. He looks like a promising passer. Overall NC State looks like a team that could easily be 2-3 games better than their record. Very similar to Miami in that regard.
BTP: Both NC State and Miami have suffered through four game losing streaks this season, each featuring some brutally difficult losses. Both also went through stretches where they struggled to get points. What in your opinion was the reason for Miami's struggles in terms of scoring?
SOTU: Miami has all the weapons you can ask for on O. Brad Kaaya is a seasoned vet as a QB. Mark Walton and Joe Yearby are both outstanding backs. And freshman Ahmonn Richards and senior Stacy Coley on the outside are complimented very nicely by super athletic TE David Njoku. But the O line has been inconsistent. Sacks and bad penalties in the red zone have really plagued UM this year. Make no mistake about it, all of the players I mentioned above have NFL future. It's a shame the guys up front aren't a touch better, otherwise the 'Canes could have had a special season
BTP: Brad Kaaya is having another great season statistically. What is it about him that makes him such a dangerous weapon for the Hurricanes?
SOTU: Kaaya is smart and accurate, and he can make any throw you ask on a football field.. He's actually been a touch off a few games this season. But as mentioned above, his protection hasn't been the best this season. But he is a potential 1st Round draft pick at the next level. He won't beat you with his legs, but he has a great arm, and a great mind to match as a signal caller.
BTP: Who is one player on the Wolfpack that gives you the most concern heading into the game on Saturday?
SOTU: Nyheim Himes looks to be a bit undersized at the WR position, but boy did he give the Seminoles trouble. UM will have to make sure to keep an eye on him in the return game as well. S Josh Jones looks like he makes a ton of plays too for the Pack D.
BTP: Other than Kaaya, who is one player on the Miami roster that Wolfpack fans should keep an eye on?
SOTU: Walton at RB is just getting better and better every week. He breaks a lot of tackles. And Richards is on pace to break Miami's all time freshman record for receiving yards. The kid can make all the catches, and if you don't wrap him up, he will take it to the house.
BTP: Any major injuries to report heading into Saturday?
SOTU: The Hurricanes have lost a lot this year to injuries. There are almost too many to mention. Most recently they lost starting C Nick Linder for the year. But they have to keep the next man up mentality. No one is going to feel sorry for "The U."
BTP: Let's get a prediction on the game. Who wins?
SOTU: I think the 'Canes turned the corner a few weeks back against Pitt. The offense is starting to hum, now that the guys up front are playing better. Look for huge games from Walton and Richards, and just enough defensive pressure on the Finley, in a 34-20 Miami win.