UNC, NC State football prepare as uncertainty looms

For college football teams, life in 2020 is essentially circling a date on the calendar and hoping the game goes off as planned.

It doesn't always work that way in this crazy COVID-19 world as UNC found out when its home game against Charlotte was recently canceled.

Over in Raleigh, N.C. State is holding its breath, hoping its Saturday game against Virginia Tech -- already rescheduled once -- doesn't meet a similar fate.

"To be honest, 2020 has been a year of uncertainty," N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said. "So, it's kind of what you're used to at this point. Would it be great to know who's going to be out there? Yeah, it would, but that's not where we're at, so I can't dwell on that."

The Wolfpack made their season debut a week later than North Carolina or Duke, beating Wake Forest 45-42 in Raleigh on Saturday night. N.C. State was supposed to play Virginia Tech in the season opener, but the game was moved to September 26 after several Wolfpack athletes tested positive for COVID-19.

"We've just got to focus on being able to make good adjustments," Doeren said. "I think that's the key."

Likewise in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels have one game under their belt, a 31-6 win over Syracuse, but no opponent now since last Saturday's scheduled matchup with the 49ers fell through and an open date this week.

Despite efforts, UNC officials were unable to find an opponent willing and able to play Saturday, leaving UNC with no football for a two-week stretch for the first time in 68 years.

"We're going to play a game next week, and if we don't, it is what it is," UNC senior running back Michael Carter said Thursday.

The Tar Heels are scheduled to play October 3 at Boston College.

"Just got to stay the course," said Tar Heels receiver Dazz Newsome. "Keep focusing on what you're doing. Some things you can't control. You've got to control what you can control."

UNC continues to seek a replacement non-conference game. The next targeted date is November 19 or 20, the week before the Heels host Notre Dame at Kenan Stadium.
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