North Carolina State at Connecticut, Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
Line: N.C. State by 14 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: N.C. State leads 3-0.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
N.C. State opens its 11th year under Dave Doeren with a team picked to finish fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference, though it will be one facing multiple changes — most notably, a new offense — after reaching eight-plus wins for the fifth time in six seasons. As for UConn, Jim Mora begins his second season as head coach after leading the Huskies to a 6-7 record last year and the program's first bowl appearance since the 2015 season.
UConn's offensive line versus N.C. State's defensive front. The Huskies return four starters to the offensive line, including guard Christian Haynes, who was a third-team All-American last season. The Wolfpack gave up just over 19 points per game a year ago, tied for the best in the ACC. Their defensive line will be bolstered by the return of fifth-year defensive end Savion Jackson, who started seven games last season, before being sidelined with a knee injury.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
N.C. State: WR Keyon Lesane. Receiver is an area of concern for the Wolfpack entering the season, with Lesane being the most game-tested of the group. The fifth-year player had 31 grabs for 342 yards and two touchdowns last year.
UConn: LB Jackson Mitchell. The senior captain is the Huskies unquestioned leader. He recorded a team-high 140 tackles (50 solo) last season, including 9.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks, an interception and two forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.
FACTS & FIGURES
This year marks a reunion for N.C. State quarterback Brennan Armstrong and new coordinator Robert Anae, with the two connecting again after being together at Virginia in 2021. That season, Armstrong ranked second nationally in passing (404.5 yards per game) with 31 touchdowns. ... Joe Fagnano, a senior transfer from Maine, won a three-way battle to become UConn's starting QB in a system run by former Maine head coach Nick Charlton. Fagnano threw for 2,231 yards and 15 touchdowns with six interceptions for the Black Bears a year ago. He beat out last year's starter, sophomore Zion Turner, and Penn State transfer Ta'Quan Roberson, who won the job at UConn a year ago, but suffered a season-ending right knee injury. ... N.C. State won 41-10 in last year's meeting at home and survived a 10-7 win in 2012 in its lone visit to Connecticut. ... This marks the Wolfpack's second straight season opener on the road going back to last year's narrow escape at East Carolina.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll