Coach Doeren: 'Not a trap game' when NC State hosts Syracuse
By JOEDY McCREARY
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) North Carolina State beat one highly ranked Atlantic Division opponent last week and faces another one next week.
Sandwiched in between is a matchup with Syracuse on Saturday - but coach Dave Doeren refuses to call the visit from the Orange a trap game.
"I don't look at it" that way, Doeren said. "Any time you play a team that can score and that has a quarterback that thinks he's that good, or is that good, it's not a trap game at all. And our guys know that."
Maybe, but it seems like an obvious psychological hurdle for the Wolfpack (3-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who moved to the brink of their first Top 25 ranking since the 2010 season with their 27-21 victory over then-No. 12 Florida State.
A visit from reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and No. 17 Louisville awaits next Thursday night.
So, it might be easy to overlook Syracuse (2-2), which has a home loss to Middle Tennessee State on its resume.
Doeren isn't buying it.
"Just because we beat Florida State doesn't mean that Syracuse is going to be an easy game," he said.
The Orange figures to have enough offensive weapons to test an N.C. State defense that ranks second in the ACC against the run and is the strength of the team. Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey (321.3 ypg) trails only Jackson (431) among the ACC's leaders in total offense, and the Orange throw for 300 yards per game.
"I think that we're playing well. The hard thing about our country and football is it always comes down to Ws and Ls," second-year coach Dino Babers said. "I know that we're getting better, but I can't prove it in the box score."
Some things to know about the Syracuse-N.C. State game:
POLL IMPLICATIONS: The Wolfpack were the first team out of the Top 25 this week, winding up five points behind No. 25 LSU - which beat Syracuse last week. N.C. State hasn't appeared in the rankings since the final poll of the 2010 season - when Russell Wilson was still taking snaps.
TALE OF THE TAPE: The stats appear similar for N.C. State and Syracuse. Both teams average roughly 35 points, allow about 23 and gain about 460 total yards per game. The biggest difference is turnovers - the Wolfpack have just two of them while Syracuse has given it away eight times.
THE SERIES: The Wolfpack have won nine of the 10 meetings between the schools. Syracuse's lone victory came in Raleigh in 2013, a 24-10 win that came as part of a season-ending eight-game losing streak for N.C. State in Doeren's first season.
CHUBB IN CONTROL: N.C. State DE Bradley Chubb had three tackles for a loss against Florida State, two sacks - including one that forced a field goal late in the first half - and a forced fumble. He has 19+ sacks for his career, six behind school-record-holder Mario Edwards.
QUICK HITS: N.C. State QB Ryan Finley has thrown 224 straight passes without an interception - the longest active string in the nation. ... The Wolfpack have not allowed a touchdown in the fourth quarter. ... Syracuse WR Steve Ishmael leads the nation with 11.3 receptions per game.
More AP college football: collegefootball.ap.org and twitter.com/AP-Top25
Updated September 29, 2017