East Carolina vs NC State

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College football enthusiasts may have bigger games on their mind on Saturday, but North Carolina and East Carolina still have a few noteworthy qualities.

Tar Heels quarterback Bryn Renner has a big-time arm, and East Carolina’s Shane Carden has looked solid in his first two appearances.

Both of these teams have a long way to go before they’re worthy of the Top 25, but you have to start somewhere.

North Carolina has enough talent to eventually break into the mix, but it must score a blowout win here. The Pirates are not expected to break the barrier, but no one wants to lose to their in-state rival.

The Tar Heels have been very inconsistent through the season’s first three weeks. They show flashes of brilliance, then they commit some boneheaded play minutes later.

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Associated Press reporter Aaron Beard supplied a quote (via Knoxville News-Sentinel) from Bryn Renner regarding his team’s shaky play:

East Carolina head coach Ruffin McNeill talked about the emotions involved in this game in his weekly press conference (via East Carolina’s official website):

Carden didn’t start the Pirates season opener against Appalachian State, but he’s played both games since. In two games, he’s thrown for 311 yards and two touchdowns. He’s only a sophomore, so there’s still room to improve.

The Pirates are No. 92 in the nation in scoring. Carden must step up if they want to steal one from their in-state nemesis.

The Tar Heels are 1-2, but Renner has turned in three excellent performances. Through the first three weeks, his quarterback rating is 158.2. He’s thrown for 870 yards and nine touchdowns with three interceptions.

North Carolina still has some work to do defensively, but its offense will push it past the Pirates. Renner’s throwing ability is too much for the East Carolina defense to contain, and the Pirates won’t score enough points to counteract that production.

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