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NC State and Wake Forest played in football for the first time in 1910 and have met every season since, making it the longest continuous series between two current ACC schools and the third longest in college football nationally.

It's a history that, by definition, qualifies the matchup as a rivalry.

But according to wide receiver Tabari Hines, who played three seasons for the Deacons before coming to State as a graduate transfer by way of Oregon, one side takes the matchup much more seriously than the other.

Perhaps that's the reason Wake has defended its home field so ferociously in recent years, winning seven of the past eight meetings in Winston-Salem heading into Saturday's renewal at BB&T Field.

"I believe they just get up for this game. They take it seriously," Hines said earlier this week. "I don't know if NC State considers Wake Forest a rival, but I know being in that locker room, they consider it a rivalry."

It's no secret that the matchup against neighboring North Carolina evokes far more passion among the Wolfpack and its fans than do games against their ACC Atlantic divisional foe, whose campus moved from Wake County to Winston-Salem in 1956

But according to coach Dave Doeren, State "definitely (sees) it as an in-state rivalry game.

"We're aware of that," he said.

At the same time, though, Doeren said he's not one to artificially hype up emotion for any opponent -- concentratring instead on the more tangible aspects of game preparation.

"With our football team, and even in the UNC week, we just have to be the best us," he said. "If I spend all my time talking about the rivalry ... it’s about how we’re going to play in this game that matters.

"From being here, the build-up to certain games hasn’t been good for us as opposed to the focus to play well. We respect them a lot. We want to be undefeated in the state and that’s something we still control right now. This is the next step to doing that, and we have to play a really good football team."

The Deacons, who like the Wolfpack are coming off an open week, are 6-1 (2-1 ACC) and ranked 20th in the nation.

Their success this season has created a role reversal from recent meetings -- especially the past two years, in which underdog Wake scored dramatic victories against State teams on their way to nine-win seasons.

Now that the Wolfpack is the hunter rather than the hunted, will it make any difference?

"Yeah, they are the ranked team," Doeren said. "Record-wise, them and Clemson have the best records in the league, so our players know what's going on out there."

Just in case, Hines has taken it upon himself to help raise the urgency level among his teammates by letting them know what it's like on the other side of the field. He said that his presence in red and white will only add to the Deacons' incentive Saturday.

"I can only imagine they'll definitely get up for this game because I'm on the other side," he said. "We've just got to bring the juice, match their energy and come out with the win.