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Carolina at NC State game notes

Posted Friday, September 23, 2005

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Wolfpack looking for 150th victory at Carter-Finley

Raleigh, NC - One of NC State's first victories in Carter-Finley Stadium was against North Carolina, 13-7, in the season opener of 1967,
Chuck Amato's senior campaign. The stadium had opened midway through the 1966 season.

Since then, NC State has gone 7-11 against the Heels in Carter-Finley, but has posted a 149-79-6 overall record on its home field. A win over Carolina on Saturday would mark the Wolfpack's 150th in Carter-Finley.

The Wolfpack has struggled at home in recent games, losing its last four league games on its home field. The Pack's last home league victory was against Wake Forest on Oct. 2, 2004.

HOME BOYS: Eighteen players on this week’s two-deep chart hail from the state of North Carolina, and although the Wolfpack has become known for recruiting in the Sunshine State, the majority of the team still calls North Carolina home. On the preseason roster, 54 players hailed from the Tar Heel state, almost double the amount from any other state.

RUNNING GAME CRUCIAL AGAINST HEELS: Heading into last year's game against North Carolina, rushing had proved to be the key to victory under Chuck Amato when the Pack played the Heels. NC State has outrushed UNC 621-324 in Amato's three wins over the instate rival and was outrushed 161-52 in the 2001 loss.
Last season in a loss at Chapel Hill, however, the Pack gained 304 yards on the ground, compared to UNC's 164 yards. That marked the highest rushing total for a State squad under Amato and ranks as the highest for NC State in the Pack’s last 128 games (dating back
to the Maryland game on Nov. 5, 1994, when NC State rushed for 327 yards).

THE STATE TITLE: The informal “state” championship in North Carolina will take a different tone this season, as NC State and Duke do not play and the Wolfpack does not take on East Carolina. However, since Chuck Amato took over as head coach for the 2000 season, NC State has posted the state’s best record against in-state Division I schools.
The Wolfpack has gone 12-3 against Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest and East Carolina, an .800 winning percentage. The Demon Deacons have posted a 13-8 mark against in-state competition for a .619 mark.
Here’s a look at the records of the instate schools against each other in the last five years:
School Record Mark
NC State 12-3 .800
North Carolina 11-6 .647
Wake Forest 15-9 .625
Duke 2-15 .118
East Carolina 2-9 .182

KILLER B's TAKE CARE OF EASTERN KENTUCKY: The Wolfpack's bounteous backfield of Bnamed backs provided most of the offensive dazzle in the win over Eastern Kentucky, as Baker, Bobby, Brown and Blackman tallied 333 cumulative of allpurpose yards and scored five touchdowns (three rushing and two receiving).
Toney Baker, who earned the start at tailback in just his second career game, was the team's leading rusher with 85 yards on six carries. He scored on his second play of the game on a 13-yard pass from Jay Davis. He rushed for 23 yards on his third touch, 15 on his fourth, 11 on his fifth and for 32 yards and a TD on his sixth. On his seventh touch of the game, he only gained three yards, but it was for his third score.
Bobby Washington set up Baker's second score with a 20-yard rush and ended up with eight carries for 34 yards in the contest.
On the first carry of his college career, Andre Brown ran for a seven yard touchdown. He ended up with nine carries for 25 yards.
Darrell Blackman had just 17 yards rushing at halftime and had not caught a pass, but on the second play of the third quarter, was on the receiving end of the longest pass of Davis' career - a 70-yard touchdown streak.

TURNOVERS CONTINUE TO PLAGUE PACK: For the first time in a dozen games, NC State won the turnover margin in the win over Eastern
Kentucky. The last time the Wolfpack had turned the ball over less times than its opponent was in the season opener of 2004 against Richmond. Since then, the Pack posted a 33-12 turnover lead over its opponent heading into the EKU contest.
The stat was a mixed blessing however. Although the Pack had less miscues than the Colonels, there were still three lost fumbles and an interception in the game.

WOLFPACK GETS OFFENSIVE: Heading into the third game of the season, NC State leads the ACC and ranks 18th nationally with 456.5 yards of total offense per game. The Wolfpack ranks fourth in the league in rushing with 158 yards per game and first in passing, 298.5 (14th in NCAA) and second in scoring (35 ppg).

PENALTY PROGRESS: NC State made some progress in terms of penalties in the EKU game, drawing just eight yellow flags after getting a dozen in the season opener against Virginia Tech. The Wolfpack is tied with North Carolina at 10th in the ACC in penalties with each team being called for 20 for 182 yards this season. Last season, the Wolfpack averaged 9.2 penalties per game, the 115th mark in the nation. Currently, the squad ranks 107th in penalties, 110th in penalty yards.

NC STATE OUTGAINS OPPONENTS: In the last 14 games, the Wolfpack has posted a 7-7 record. However, Chuck Amato's squad has outgained its opponent in all of those contests, dating back to the 2003 Tangerine Bowl game against Kansas (12/22/03). The last time NC State did not gain more yards on offense than its opponent was against Maryland on Nov. 22, 2003. That streak of outgaining opponents is the longest in school history. During the 14-game stretch, NC State has averaged 386 ypg (5,405) while holding its opponents to 239.8 ypg (3358).

SPECIAL PLAYS LEAD TO WIN: After the Wolfpack's 54-10 rout of Eastern Kentucky, the plays that stood out in head coach Chuck Amato's mind were not the seven touchdowns or the 10 tackles for loss. In fact, the two plays that he thought were the most important were both special teams plays.
Senior linebacker Oliver Hoyte "set the tone" for the entire game on the first play, according to his head coach. On the opening kickoff, Hoyte hammered the returner, causing him to fumble. NC State recovered at the EKU 14 yardline and scored two plays later.
Later in the first quarter, with the Pack up 24-0, Mario Williams blocked a punt, which was recovered by Manny Lawson at the EKU 20. Two plays later, rookie Andre Brown scored on a seven-yard run.

BATTLE OF THE TRIANGLE: This season, with Duke no
longer on NC State’s schedule, the battle for the Triangle
has become more of a straight line. However, the Wolfpack
will face its oldest rival, as the NC State-UNC rivalry dates
back to 1894, when the Wolfpack’s season consisted of two
games versus the Tar Heels (both UNC wins).
The squads played 12 games before NC State could put up
a victory in 1920, following eight losses and four ties.
The Wolfpack’s win in 2000 at Chapel Hill marked the
squad's first victory over the Heels in eight games. After
dropping the 2001 contest in Raleigh, State won in Kenan
Stadium once again in 2002, the first time the Pack had won
back-to-back road games against Carolina since 1992 and
1990. The 2003 win (47-34) in Raleigh marked the first time
NC State had beaten the Tar Heels in Carter-Finley Stadium
since 1991.

DAVIS RUNS THE SHOW: Quarterback Jay Davis has certainly
taken control of the Wolfpack offense, ranking second
in the league in total offense (265 ypg), second in passing
yards per game (272.5) and third in passing efficiency
(147.8). He has completed 65% of his passes this season.
In the season opener against eighth-ranked Virginia Tech,
Davis threw for a career-high 311 yards and 27 completions.
In the win over Eastern Kentucky, he threw the longest pass
of his career - a 70-yard TD strike to Darrell Blackman.
Davis now ranks 12th in school history with 2,826 career
passing yards, 11th in completions (232), 11th in attempts
(402), and t-12th in TD passes (16).

HARRIS, KING OF STATS: Another year, another stat for
center Leroy Harris. Last season, offensive line coach Mike
Barry made up a stat called a 'round trip,' after Harris began
to block defenders in a complete circle.
This season, Harris has inspired another stat. The players
are already graded on 'Raleigh Rails,' which is when they
drive a defender at least five yards backwards. Harris is the
author of the new "RDU Express,' which means driving the
defender back at least seven yards. Barry says the difference
between a 'Raleigh Rail' and an 'RDU Express' is like
the difference between flying coach and flying first-class.
Harris leads the team with 12 knockdown blocks and six
Raleigh Rails so far this season.
SPREADING THE WEALTH: Eight different receivers
caught passes from Jay Davis in the season opener, while
nine had grabs in the Eastern Kentucky contest.
Tramain Hall has led the team in receptions in the first two
games, seven times in his career. He leads the ACC with
6.0 catches per game.

THREE AND OUT: Not only did NC
State's defense held Virignia Tech to
just 232 yards of total offense, but the
Wolfpack's tenacious defense also
forced the Hokies to five three-andouts.
In the EKU game, the Colonels
went three-and-out on six occasions
(including when the first half ended on
a fourth-down).

made the most of his first collegiate
start, leading the Pack in rushing and
gaining 98 all-purpose yards.
The most impressive statistic, however,
was in the number of times the
rookie reached the endzone. In just
NINE snaps, Baker scored on a 13-yard
reception on his second play of the
game, and also ran for scores of 32 and
three yards.

ACTION: Chuck Amato has always
contended that the fewer young players
who are forced into action early, the
better off the team is. In his previous
seasons, he hasn't had the luxury of
being able to let his new players sit and
learn - they've been thrown right into
the fire.
This season, however, is a slightly
different story, or at least it has been
in the first two games. Only one true
freshman saw action for the Pack
against Virginia Tech, tailback Toney
Five more true frosh were called into
action in the Pack's rout of Eastern
Kentucky: Andre Brown, Curtis Crouch,
Geron James, J.C. Neal and Levin
The Pack's true freshmen scored five
of the seven touchdowns against EKU.
Those numbers are vastly different
from the last four years, even though
the Pack's opening opponent was a
tougher one than in past years. In the
past four seasons, an average of 17.5
newcomers saw their first career action
in the season opener (8.3 true freshmen).

M&M MAKE PLAYS: Much has been
made about the Wolfpack's dominating
duo of defensive ends: Manny Lawson
and Mario Williams. The two have
been tabbed for a number of preseason
honors, while Mario was a first-team All-
ACC performer last season and Manny
just missed the first-team by one vote.
The duo has combined for 49 career
tackles for loss and 22 sacks.
In the win over Eastern Kentucky, it
was fitting that the M&M boys made
one of the key plays of the game, when
Mario blocked a punt and Manny fell
on it. That play set up the Pack's fifth
score of the game.

NATION'S BEST: The 2005 Wolfpack
defensive line was picked as the
nation’s best by a couple of preseason
college football publications, including
The Sporting News, ESPN Insider and
Lindy’s. That unit, which returns eight
of its 10 letterwinners from last season,
tallied 50 tackles for loss and 16 sacks
a year ago en route to leading NC State
to the national total defense title.
Both returning ends, Mario Williams
and Manny Lawson, earned All-
ACC honors last season, with Williams
earning a first-team nod and Lawson
gaining second-team accolades. That
pair is on the preseason watch lists for
the Bednarik and the Lombardi Awards,
while Williams is also on the Walter
Camp and Nagurski preseason lists.
John McCargo and Tank Tyler started
at the tackle spots in 2004, with
McCargo being the unsung hero of the
unit. Demario Pressley, who was the
only true freshman to start a game on
defense last season, has started the
first two games at tackle.
In the first two games of the season,
the defensive line tallied 55 tackles,
including seven tackles for loss.

NC State's tailback this season, Bobby
Washington, Darrell Blackman, Toney
Baker and Andre Brown were named
Parade All-Americans during their high
school careers.

(LISTS): Five different Wolfpack players
are on the preseason watch lists for
seven different national awards.
Defensive end Mario Williams tops
the list, as he is on the lists for the
Walter Camp, Lombardi, Nagurski and
Bednarik Awards. Another DE, Manny
Lawson, is also on both the Bednarik
and Lombardi lists.
Junior center Leroy Harris made the
Rimington Trophy's preseason tally,
while tight end T.J. Williams is on the
Mackey Award list. Jay Davis is on the
preseason list for the Johnny Unitas
Golden Arm Award.

in the air around Wolfpack football, or
at least it has been for nine NC State
players. That is the number of current
members of the squad who have tied
the knot.
The offensive line boasts the most
married members in its ranks, as
James Newby, Dwayne Herndon,
Leroy Harris and Luke Lathan are all
married. Newby and Harris are both
expecting their first child, while Herndon
has a son. Lathan is the newlywed in
the bunch, as he just entered the state
of matrimony in June.
The defensive secondary is about to
catch up. Marcus Hudson and Miguel
Scott got married this spring and J.J.
Jones tied the knot a couple of days
before preseason camp opened.
Wide receivers Brian Clark and Fred
Span are also old married folk, with
Span’s second son being born last season.
Offensive line coach Mike Barry also
got married this summer.

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