NC STATE FOOTBALL
Joe Giglio (N&O)
N.C. State holds on for 10-7 victory at Connecticut
N.C. State made the equivalent of football sausage Saturday against Connecticut.
For the Wolfpack, how it was made was not as important as the end result, which was a 10-7 grind-it-out win over the offensively-challenged Huskies.
N.C. State’s offense made mistakes and struggled to protect quarterback Mike Glennon, and the defense forced four turnovers but had a fourth-quarter lapse that nearly cost the game.
But a win is a win, and a much-needed one after a 35-21 loss in the opener to Tennessee, said Glennon, whose 46-yard touchdown pass to receiver Bryan Underwood in the third quarter was the difference.
“We played well enough to win and that’s all that matters,” Glennon said.
Caulton Tudor (N&O)
Wolfpack’s O-line had better shape up
Connecticut, a 5-7 team last season that is generally predicted to do about the same in 2012, was almost as effective with its blitz tactics as Tennessee was a week earlier in Atlanta.
State, a 35-21 loser in that one, obviously suffered some offensive line injuries against the Vols. Junior tackle Rob Crisp didn’t play against the Huskies and his absence led to some reshuffling.
But quarterback Mike Glennon, who was intercepted four times in the opener, got sacked frequently and was pressured on almost all of his 30 passes against the Huskies. Add in the fact that the running game was anemic and it’s borderline amazing the Wolfpack didn’t lose the game by double digits.
Joe Giglio (N&O)
Observations: N.C. State-Connecticut
This was N.C. State’s first nonconference road win over a Division I-A team since beating Central Florida in 2010. The Pack lost consecutive road games outside the ACC to East Carolina (2010) and Cincinnati (2011). It was the first road nonconference win over a major conference opponent under Tom O’Brien and first since beating Texas Tech in 2002.
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
FIFTH QUARTER: It wasn’t always pretty, but another solid week
2. Secondary redemption: A week after getting embarrassed on national television against Tennessee, N.C. State’s secondary bounced back with three interceptions against UConn. All-America David Amerson, who was burned twice for long touchdowns against the Volunteers, had one of them and broke up a fourth-down pass in the final minute to seal the Wolfpack’s 10-7 win.
4. Fedora’s folly: New UNC coach Larry Fedora openly second-guessed himself after sending QB Bryn Renner back onto the field one series after he was shaken up in a goal-line collision with Wake’s Duran Lowe. Renner was still visibly shaken on the possession, which ended with a fumble that helped give the Deacons a go-ahead touchdown just before halftime.
PATEaton-Robb (The Associated Press)
Defense carries N.C. State Wolfpack to win over UConn Huskies
N.C. State’s David Amerson was looking for a little redemption after being burned deep a couple of times in a season-opening loss to Tennessee.
The All-America cornerback responded with an interception and knocked down a fourth-down pass on Connecticut’s final drive Saturday as the Wolfpack (1-1) held on for a 10-7 win over the Huskies (1-1).
“I wanted to get back out here and show people what I can do,” said Amerson, whose interception was the 14th of his career. “Every time we get turnovers, we win.”
Pack Pushes Past Huskies, 10-7
Jacey Zembal (TheWolfpacker.com)
NC State Locker room report
How was fullback Logan Winkles on his blocking, especially in the second quarter during the field goal drive?
“You got me on that one because I can’t remember exactly. He is in there to pass protect. We were getting blitzed from all over. That is what [UConn defensive coordinator] Don Brown does. He did that at Maryland, a lot of the same stuff. They overload you and pressure you. He is in there because he is much bigger, powerful guy than the tailbacks trying to take on those big linebackers. They got 240-pound linebackers coming.”
How good was UConn defensive end Trevardo Williams?
“He’s good. He’s comparable to the guys that we are going to face. He has a good first step, he’s got power and he has speed. He ran Mike [Glennon] down from behind when he got out of the pocket. Maybe another guy isn’t going to get there. Maybe Mike will be able to out-run him and get a first down. That’s all good.
“Tyson Chandler did a great job for [injured] Rob Crisp [at left tackle]. He had to play most of the game, and once again, it’s a win. We are happy to go home and build upon this.”
Was the offense trying to manage the game in the second half?
“Yeah, but if we got one more touchdown, it would have been a different story. We actually had one where both guys were running by corners and we actually got sacked. We ran a sluggo pass, a slant and go, and we just didn’t get it off. We get that one off, and it’s two quick touchdowns, and then who knows what they are going to do.”
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
Quick hits from NC State’s win over Connecticut
State may want to reconsider playing games in the Northeast. Last year State lost 14-10 at Boston College. Since BC joined the ACC, State has scored 10, 17, 20 and 10 points in four games in Massachusetts. Now comes this output at Connecticut.
NCSU gained just 258 yards of total offense. The only time they had less last year was when they mustered just 166 total yards in a shutout 34-0 loss at Florida State. NCSU could only manage 54 yards rushing, a number partly skewed by the fact they allowed six sacks, the most given up since Cincinnati got to Wolfpack quarterback Mike Glennon six times last year.
The Pack had to play this game without starting left tackle Rob Crisp, as the junior did not make the trip to Connecticut with an unspecified injury. In his place was redshirt sophomore Tyson Chandler, and he struggled mightily to contain UConn senior defensive end Trevardo Williams.
Williams had 12.5 sacks last year and had a four-sack performance against Rutgers. He finished the game with 2.5 sacks and assisted on another hit for a loss. He now has 22.5 career sacks.
The poor offensive performance did net one career-high. Sophomore punter Wil Baumann’s nine punts matched the most he has done in a game with the nine he had at Virginia last season. Baumann averaged 38.6 yards per kick on the windy afternoon.
Freshman receiver Charlie Hegedus saw more playing time and like last week caught one pass, this time for 11 yards. A second true freshman got onto the field Saturday. Linebacker M.J. Salahuddin played on special teams.
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
BOX SCORE: NC State 10, UConn 7
Joe Ovies (WRALSportsfan.com)
Talking points: NC State beats UConn
1. NC State’s offensive line needs to do a better job protecting quarterback Mike Glennon, who was pressured throughout the game and sacked a whopping six times. Not having Robert Crisp in the lineup due to injury exposed depth concerns, and the Huskies were more than happy to take advantage with various blitzes. Glennon was attacked from all angles, not just one particular point of entry.
The Wolfpack punted five times and fumbled once before finally putting points on the board. The field goal came at the end of NC State’s best drive of the game, a march that consisted of 15 plays for 61 yards and 7:02 of playing time. Outside of that series, the Wolfpack averaged 4 plays per drive.
Part of the issue for Glennon is that his wide receivers have difficulty creating separation. No doubt they can catch the ball, just check Quintin Payton’s grabs in the highlights, but they struggled to get open and Glennon was forced to hang on to the ball.
N.C. State Insider
Sobering Start For O’Brien, Wolfpack
This summer was one full of optimism for N.C. State football, even from the usually stoic head coach Tom O’Brien, who brazenly stated during the ACC Kickoff in July that he thought with good health his team could compete with anyone.
“This is by far the most experienced and deepest team we’ve had,” O’Brien said. “Now it’s a question of, can we take that next step and get to that next level and get to Charlotte, where we want to go?
“I think we’re going to be very competitive, and we’ll be able to play against everybody in the country.”
But after two games, the Pack was 1-1 following a season-opening loss by two touchdowns to Tennessee and an ugly 10-7 win at Connecticut. It continued a string of slow starts for the Wolfpack under O’Brien.
Purvis Drama Worth Watching:
The Twitter hashtag #freerodneypurvis may not be a trending topic, but it’s popular in N.C. State world. Although ESPN analyst Jay Bilas may not have been Twitter-savvy enough to include the hashtag in his tweets, on three different occasions he voiced his support for freshman guard Rodney Purvis.
Bilas and others make valid points in Purvis’ case. The talented McDonald’s All-American is being held out as the NCAA reviews Upper Room Christian Academy in Raleigh, which Purvis attended.
Purvis is part of Upper Room’s first graduating class, but at first glance the school does not appear to be a diploma mill, which is presumably the NCAA’s chief concern. The NCAA is reviewing the school’s core classes.
Aside from Purvis, though, Upper Room has had just one borderline major basketball recruit in Tyrek Coger, a post player in the 2013 class who transferred out after the Purvis developments.
Purvis spent all of his high school years at Upper Room. He even attended middle school there. A guesstimate would be that Purvis is probably one of the very few top basketball recruits to stay at one high school his entire career.
NC State Athletics
NOTES: Greene Earns The Start
• The Pack’s 10 points were the least in a victory since beating South Carolina 10-0 in the second game of the 1999 season. In terms of least points in a road win, you have to go all the way to the season opener in 1968 when the Pack won 10-6 at Wake Forest.
• Sophomore Wil Baumann tied his career-high with nine punts on the day.
• Redshirt sophomore Tyson Chandler earned his first career start, filling in for the injured Rob Crisp at left tackle. Coming into the game, Chandler played a total of just 26 career snaps.
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
Monday morning quarterbacking
Three things that worked:
The numbers speak for themselves. NC State held Connecticut to just 11 first downs and 239 yards of total offense. The Huskies were only able to rush for 35 net yards on 32 carries.
2. Winning the turnover battle
In a game where offenses are not moving the football consistently, the biggest factor would be turnovers. Such was the case Saturday. NC State was able to turn Connecticut over four times, including three interceptions. The Pack however only gave it up once, a first quarter fumble by redshirt sophomore running back Mustafa Greene.
3. Gutting it out
The bottom line is this: a win is a win. Winning on the road against a BCS opponent is typically not easy, and Connecticut presented a stiff challenge for the Pack’s offense. Despite not playing its best football, NC State was able to make the crucial stops on defense at the end of the game to preserve an ugly but also gutsy win.
Three things that did not work:
1. Moving the football
Again, the numbers tell the story. NC State ran for just 54 yards as a team on 41 attempts. Yes, that includes six sacks on Glennon, but even without the sacks and the final-second kneel down, State ran 34 times for 100 yards, or 2.9 yards a rush.
Glennon did not have much luck in the air either, completing just 15 of 30 passes for 204 yards.
2. Protecting Glennon
Last week State could not get any pressure on Connecticut junior quarterback Tyler Bray. This week it was the reverse problem. They could not keep Connecticut’s front seven off of Glennon. The six sacks included two from Williams, giving Williams 22.5 sacks for his career now.
3. Putting the game away
Just as State gets credit for gutting out the win, you also wish they had put Connecticut away earlier. The best chance came after Wolfpack junior corner David Amerson picked off UConn sophomore quarterback Chandler Whitmer the first play following the long touchdown pass to Underwood.
State got the ball at the UConn 34 with 8:14 left in the third quarter. The Pack probably could have been aggressive there to go up 17-0, but instead ran three running plays, including a two-yard loss on third and one, setting up a 44-yard field goal attempt for sophomore Niklas Sade that missed wide right.
EMERY P. DALESIO, Associated Press
Slow-moving UNC academic-sports scandal unresolved
A two-year scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that’s led to sidelined football players, NCAA penalties and the departure of a big-name coach has slowly built into questions of how widely academic fraud has spread at the elite public university.
After a series of campus reports into what went wrong, the oversight board for the 17-campus state university system is examining whether athletes were guided into no-show classes and lightly supervised independent studies. State criminal investigators are looking into signs of possible forgery, conspiracy, fraud, and whether a professor was paid for summer courses he didn’t fully teach. A former governor is looking for signs corners were cut beyond the one academic department identified so far.
Harvard University is coping with its own cheating scandal, and universities nationwide for decades boosted sports with academic compromises. But UNC-Chapel Hill will continue to thrive despite the current black eye, said Jay Smith, a history professor and member of an informal group of faculty members critical of the role of athletics on campus.
“Our academic programs are as strong today as they were in 2010, but our reputation for truth-telling has taken a real hit. I think the administration needs to dedicate itself to restoring that reputation,” Smith said.
Laura Keeley (N&O)
Duke F Lance Thomas purchased jewelry over holiday break
Lance Thomas’s $97,800 jewelry purchase in 2009, now the subject of a lawsuit, came while the Duke team had dispersed for its holiday break.
After the Blue Devils’ Dec. 19 victory over Gonzaga in Madison Square Garden, the team had a few days off before the Dec. 29 game in Durham against Long Beach State. Thomas purchased five pieces of diamond jewelry with a $30,000 down payment at Rafaello & Company, a Manhattan jeweler, on Dec. 21, according to an Associated Press report. Thomas lived just outside the city in Scotch Plains, N.J.
Now, Rafaello & Co. is suing Thomas for the remaining $67,800, which he had agreed to pay within 15 days of his purchase. The lawsuit was filed in Texas’s Travis County in January and had not previously been publically disclosed.
One of the issues at hand is whether the $67,800 loan Thomas received constituted an “extra benefit” based on his status as an athlete. According the NCAA bylaw 16.01.3, receiving a benefit “is not a violation if it is demonstrated that the same general benefit is available to the institution’s students, their relatives, and friends determined on a basis unrelated to athletics ability.”
Bowers declined to comment whether it was standard practice for the jeweler to extend a college student that type of loan.
Rafaello & Co. filed a similar lawsuit last year against former Oklahoma State (and current Dallas Cowboys) wide receiver Dez Bryant for failing to pay $240,000 he owed for jewelry in 2010. Bryant made his purchases after he had declared he was leaving Oklahoma State early for the 2010 NFL Draft.
If (and that’s a big if) Thomas is found to have received an extra benefit, It may not matter whether Duke knew of his purchase. In 2009, the NCAA ruled that Memphis had to vacate its 2008 season, including its Final Four appearance, because Derrick Rose was retroactively ruled ineligible for a fraudulent SAT score. The NCAA coined the term “strict liability” and concluded that it did not matter Memphis didn’t know Rose was ineligible.
“The institution’s assertion that, prior to the start of the 2007-08 season, it did not have sufficient information to conclude that student-athlete 1’s SAT test would be cancelled was not relevant under the circumstances,” the NCAA wrote.
The “strict liability” ruling broke from the precedent established in the NCAA’s handling of former Duke player Corey Maggette, a member of the Blue Devils’ 1999 Final Four squad. Maggette left Duke for the NBA draft after that season. In 2000, after a federal grand jury indictment was released, Maggette admitted to receiving cash payments from Myron Piggie, a summer basketball coach, prior to his arrival at Duke. Piggie admitted the money came in part from two agents. The NCAA said in April 2000 that it would investigate whether Duke used an ineligible player and whether anything would need returned.
It took until 2004 for the NCAA to make a decision. Duke was not punished because the NCAA ruled Duke did not and should not have known about the payments.