NC STATE FOOTBALL
Omega Wolf (Backingthepack.com)
First and Foremost: Opening Quarter Doomed Pack and Heels in Losses
My old man used to say that you can’t win a game in the first half, but you can lose one. N. C. State and North Carolina have both demonstrated the truth of this old saw on the gridiron this fall, particularly in the first quarter. In their 5 wins, the Wolfpack have outscored their opponents 35-13 in the opening 15 minutes. In a pair of losses they have been on the wrong end of a 45-14 margin. Thanks largely to blowout wins over Elon and Idaho, the Heels own a 70-14 first-quarter advantage in wins, but they have been outscored 32-10 in the opening frame of their 3 losses.
Whichever team avoids its first-quarter woes will likely be the victor Saturday between the pines. For State to be that team, it will need a better defensive effort over the first 15 minutes. Pack opponents have rushed for 307 yards on 58 carries in the first quarter, an average of 5.29 yards per carry. In the second through fourth quarters, the Pack allow a paltry 2.95 yards per rush. The Pack secondary has been gutted for 10.5 yards per attempt in the first quarter and 5 touchdowns. No team in all of the FBS has allowed an average of 10.5 yards per attempt over an entire game, so State would rank dead last in that category if it didn’t clean things up a bit after the opening frame. In the second through fourth quarters, they are yielding a respectable 7.8 yards per attempt and just 4 scoring passes over 21 total quarters.
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
Sterling Lucas wants a focused Pack in practice
“Obviously it’s a big rival game,” Lucas acknowledged. “Everybody gets up for this game. It’s NC State-North Carolina, so it’s a really important game.”
But don’t expect Lucas to dwell on the past. He has put his recruitment well past him, simply noting, “I’m happy with my decision.”
“This is the place that God wanted me to be,” he concluded.
Lucas also chooses to look at the big picture of Saturday’s game. A win Saturday helps NC State get one step closer to attaining its goals for this season.
“Obviously you don’t want to be that class that loses to UNC, obviously,” Lucas said. “Like I said, it’s a big game. But it is just another game. Our ultimate goal is to go to the ACC championship, and this is another game that we have to win.
“It’s just another game. It is a big game, I am not trying to downplay the rivalry or anything, but it is another game. You have to prepare the same way you prepare for Maryland, prepare for Florida State.”
As one of the leaders of the team, Lucas said that he is pleased with the team’s attitude early in the week of practice.
“I feel like everyone is coming out with the mindset to just go to work on a daily basis,” he stated.
Ryan Tice (TheWolfpacker.com)
Q&A: Mike Archer breaks down UNC’s offense
Is UNC different because they use their tight end as such a focal point?
He’s a very talented tight end. He’s a big, strong guy and they’ll flex him out as a receiver. It’s a four wide look – he’s to the field as much as he is to the boundary. Highsmith is the leading receiver with 39, but he has 31. He looks like he is the go-to guy. He’s very strong, he goes after you and attacks the ball. If it’s in his area, he’s going to come down with the ball. It’s a matchup problem for everyone that has played them, whether it’s man or zone. They’re going to try to isolate him on the linebackers, so it’s going to be a situation where we have to do a good job on him.
How does Giovani Bernard compare to some other running backs you’ve seen this year?
They use him in everything. The two guys at Miami, Johnson and James, were similar. James is a little bit bigger, Johnson is similar in size. Gio is hard to see, he reminds me a lot of the Thompson kid from Florida State that just got hurt.
He’s a very quick, north-south guy, he’s very hard to get off of his feet and they use him in all phases of the game – they use him in the screen, they use him on check downs, he blocks on blitzes; they’re not going to take him out, he’s a complete back.
He’s been that way, he was that way in high school – we evaluated him in high school. He’s very important to their offense, the two games that they lost, he wasn’t in there. Since he’s been back, you can see their offense has taken off.
Ryan Tice (TheWolfpacker.com)
Rob Crisp returns, is ready for UNC
It wasn’t the start NC State starting left tackle Rob Crisp wanted, but he was just happy to be back on the field against Maryland last Saturday. The junior, who missed the last five games with an injury, was knocked down by the defender he was blocking on the Wolfpack’s first offensive play of the day, but he quickly knocked the rust off after that initial wake-up call.
“Just coming back from the injury, it felt great to be out there with my guys again,” he said. “It was like the first game all over. The first play, I was a little bit nervous, I even got put on my butt. After the first play, I had to realize, I’m out here with the big boys, so I shook it off and went on, played the game.”
NC State pulled out the win, thanks to another game-winning drive in the game’s closing moments from quarterback Mike Glennon. It marked the second-straight from the signal caller in the game’s final two minutes and 30 seconds.
“It was Mike,” Crisp said. “It was great, Mike stayed calm, the offensive line stayed calm. Maryland was rocking, so congrats to their fans, but the biggest thing was we just stayed calm. Our kicker made one great kick, and he helped us win the game.”
Pack Looking to Repeat Recent Success Against North Carolina
NC State head coach Tom O’Brien and company will be going for their sixth straight win against rival North Carolina on Saturday. The Wolfpack has defeated the Tar Heels each of the past five years, tying State’s longest previous winning streak over UNC (1988-92).
Here is a look at each of those previous five victories.
Akula Wolf (Backingthepack.com)
NC State Vs. UNC: A Statistical Review Of The Pack’s Five-Game Winning Streak
Making the Heels one-dimensional during those years was hugely beneficial for the Wolfpack because the quarterbacks UNC had under center could be counted on to do some dumb stuff. While the team’s average per attempt is solid, Carolina threw five touchdowns and nine interceptions over the last five meetings, compared to 10 touchdowns and four interceptions for NC State.
It seems State’s edge at quarterback, the turnover margin, and State’s ability to negate Carolina’s ground game have been the major factors in making this winning streak possible. It hasn’t always been pretty. And sure, we’ve had the good fortune of the occasional two-yard hail mary, blocked field goal, or fumble recovery in the end zone. But the result has been a whole lot of happy.
Thursday Football Notebook
NC STATE VS. UNC
Saturday’s game will mark the 102nd meeting in the series between the Wolfpack and the Tar Heels. The rivalry, which began in 1894, is the Wolfpack’s oldest among ACC teams and the fourth-most played series in the ACC.
When the series began, the two teams actually played twice a year for several years (1894, 1899 and 1901). The series moved to an annual basis for 1919 through 1943 and then after a three-year hiatus, the Wolfpack and the Tar Heels have played every year since 1947 with one exception. In 1952, the game between the two teams was cancelled because of a polio outbreak on UNC’s campus.
The Tar Heels hold a 63-32-6 overall mark over the Wolfpack, including a 34-18-2 advantage in Chapel Hill. However, NC State has won the last five meetings between the two teams and four of the last six at Kenan Stadium.
TO RUSH OR NOT TO RUSH
NC State’s rushing attack has been a bit up-and-down this season. The reason behind the ‘down’ could be that the Wolfpack has faced three teams that ranked in the top 10 nationally in rushing defense at the time the games were played – Florida State, Maryland and Connecticut. In those three games combined, the Pack rushed for a total of 160 yards – an average of 53.3 yards per game.
Rushing for less than 100 yards in a game hasn’t had too negative of an impact, however, as State has won all three of those contests!
In the four games that the opponent was not ranked in the top-10 nationally, the Pack has rushed for an average of 188.0 yards an outing. (Tenn – 119, South Ala. – 127, The Citadel – 282, Miami – 224).
The good news for the Pack, however, is that the final five opponents rank an average of 76th in this week’s NCAA rushing defense rankings, with only one school ranked in the top-50.
Ryan Tice (TheWolfpacker.com)
Tom O’Brien Q&A: NC State is ready for Carolina
Is there any extra pressure having won five in a row and the players are going to classes with everybody saying, ‘you own these guys?’
No, I think there’s pressure anytime you play your rival. Each and every year is different because the dynamics of the teams change every year. Hopefully we’ve done a good job with them that they realize that this is their team, this is their year and this is their chance to make a statement one way or another.
How active were you in the ‘Our State’ campaign?
It was done by marketing. I think I’ve spoken through the years about being the State University. I just follow what I’m told to do.
You’re saying that wasn’t your idea, you just participated?
I just participated. I’m a good soldier. Actually, I am a good Marine.
The Sports Xchange
Quick Take: North Carolina
Fedora: It Will Be A Battle
Can you talk about the type of atmosphere you expect on Saturday. N.C. State fans are trying to get whatever loose tickets there are out there. But is it liable to be a pretty intense atmosphere, lot of recruits talk about that and what you’re hope to go see from there?
I think it will be a great atmosphere Saturday. I really do. Our fans will be excited. I’m sure they’ll have some fans here. It’s a typical rivalry game it’s one of the great things about college football is the passion that the fans have in a rivalry.
I think it will be a tremendous atmosphere. I think it’s one of the reasons you play the game as a young man is for games like this. That’s what you dream about. So it should be a lot of fun.
Andrea Adelson (ESPN.com)
Payton, Underwood step up for NC State
When the season began, NC State receiver Quintin Payton knew he had a huge opportunity in front of him.
He earned a starting job for the first time in his career, and he wanted to prove he deserved it. He has done so, leading the Wolfpack with 29 catches for 551 yards and a touchdown. He is averaging 71 yards per game to rank No. 8 in the ACC.
Consider that Payton had 11 catches for 145 yards receiving combined headed into this year.
“I knew that I had to play a different role for the team this year, just with me being one of the upperclassmen, so I took every opportunity that was given,” Payton said in a recent phone interview. “I knew it was my turn to lead the receiver corps this season. So I just got more focused, and more consistent with the playbook.”
N.C. State Trumpet Section Comes to Chapel Hill, Annoys Many
Which is why it came as a bit of a surprise when my Twitter feed was suddenly filled with UNC students, all complaining about the N.C. State fight song being played outside of their dorms. It turns out the Wolfpack trumpet section took it upon themselves to put some heat back into the week by driving over to Chapel Hill and playing the two songs they know, loudly and repeatedly. You know, the Cassion one and the other one. (I, unfortunately, only know the UNC-created lyrics for the pair, so to me it’s the one about plowing fields and sheep, and the other one about having one’s papers sent back from Carolina.) Picture, well, something like the photo above,but with the schools reversed and it being dark.
CFN’s Take: NC State vs. UNC
Why NC State Might Win: Defensive coordinator Mike Archer continues to do a terrific job with a unit that was supposed to struggle this fall.
Save for the Miami game, the Pack has been air-tight on D, allowing no more than 18 points in five of the last six games. It’s getting backfield pressure from DT T.Y. McGill and linebackers Rickey Dowdy and Rodman Noel, and will create turnovers with a ball-hawking secondary. In fact, NC State leads the ACC in sacks and tackles for loss, which sets the stage for an intriguing matchup with a Carolina offensive line that has as much talent as anyone in the league.
What Will Happen: New coach. New mindset.
Fedora is still relatively new, which means he hasn’t been tainted by Carolina’s recent skid versus NC State. He also has the more talented overall team and the backing of the Kenan Stadium crowd, which has yet to witness a home loss this season. The Wolfpack defense has become stingy of late, yet the Tar Heels will find a way to navigate it. The passing of Renner combined with the running of Bernard will provide the difference in a competitive game that has all of the energy and passion of a century-old rivalry.
CFN Prediction: North Carolina 26 … NC State 24
ATS Consultants Line: North Carolina -7 O/U: 56.5
Andrew Jones (FoxSports)
ACC Capsules: Week 9
N.C. State (5-2, 2-1) at North Carolina (5-3, 2-2)
Where: Chapel Hill, NC, Kenan Stadium (63,000)
When: 12:30 p.m.
The blitz: The Wolfpack have won five consecutive games in a series that overall has been dominated by the Tar Heels. UNC has the weapons to exploit an N.C. State defense that has at times been awful but lately rather stout, including in a 17-16 win over Florida State a few weeks ago. The keys here are simple: N.C. State must avoid turning over the ball; can’t let North Carolina get deep too often in the passing game; and must generate a decent ground attack. UNC must put pressure on N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon, QB Bryn Renner must play much better than he has the last two weeks and tailback Giovani Bernard must be Giovani Bernard.
Pick: UNC, 27-23.
Matt Hinton (CBSSports.com)
Upset Bait: NC State is charging rent in Chapel Hill , and more love for Week 9 underdogs
Last Week: Missed on Maryland (+3) over N.C. State. Season: 4-for-8.
MATT HINTON: NC State (+7.5) over North Carolina
The ACC has always been a topsy-turvy league from week to week, and now that perennial frontrunner Virginia Tech is struggling just to keep its head above .500 and perennial doormat Duke is almost certainly headed for a bowl game, there’s only one constant left: NC State still owns North Carolina. Since Tom O’Brien arrived as head coach in 2007, the Wolfpack have taken five in a row over their rivals from Chapel Hill, the last four of which NC State has entered as the underdog. Last year’s 13-0 blanking in Chapel Hill was the first time either side had been shut out in the series since 1970. The last two years, the Tar Heels as a team have been held to minus-4 yards rushing.
This year, the Wolfpack also have the benefit of being the better team: Since their opening night loss to Tennessee, the Pack are 6-1 with arguably the biggest upset of the season under their belt against Florida State, and still control their destiny in the ACC’s Atlantic Division. On the other side, the Tar Heels are coming in off a deflating loss at Duke and have no championship to play for due to NCAA sanctions. All streaks must end, but there’s no compelling reason to think this one is going to on this Saturday.
Heather Dinich (ESPN.com)
ACC predictions: Week 9
North Carolina 24, NC State 21: The hex is over. NC State’s inability to run the ball consistently will be the difference in the game. In last Saturday’s win over the Tar Heels, Duke’s ability to establish a ground game was the difference. The Pack is too one-dimensional to control the clock and keep Giovani Bernard off the field.
Andrea Adelson (ESPN.com)
What to watch in the ACC: Week 9
2. The best in North Carolina? The annual rivalry game between NC State and North Carolina has arrived. NC State, leader in the Atlantic, will try to extend its winning streak over the Tar Heels to six straight. North Carolina enters off a tough loss to Duke and is 0-2 against state teams this year, also losing to Wake Forest earlier in the season. Coach Larry Fedora wanted to get the attention of his players headed into this game so he had the locker room decorated in red. By the way, Duke has early bragging rights, with a 2-0 record against state teams; Wake Forest is 1-1. This is NC State’s first game against an ACC team from North Carolina. The Wolfpack and Blue Devils do not play this year.
8. North Carolina secondary vs. Bryan Underwood and Quintin Payton. The Tar Heels are going to have to keep an eye on Underwood and Payton. Underwood has caught a touchdown pass in a school-record seven straight games. Underwood has 22 catches on the season, but eight of them have gone for scores. Payton, meanwhile, leads the team in receptions and yards and has come up with huge plays for the Wolfpack.
10. Bowl watch. NC State (5-2) becomes bowl eligible with a win over North Carolina; Boston College (1-6) will officially be eliminated from bowl contention with a loss.
Sean Bielawski (CBSSports.com)
ACC Divisional Race Breakdown: Atlantic Division
Florida State (7-1, 4-1 ACC)
• Record of remaining ACC opponents: 14-9, 7-4 ACC.
• Next up: vs. Duke, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU).
• Jerry Palm bowl projection: Orange Bowl vs. Louisville.
• Must win: Nov. 24 vs. Florida. The Seminoles have been an afterthought in the national championship conversation since losing at NC State. Running the table and beating their in-state rival would send a pretty good message, even if it is too little, too late.
• Nice to have: Nov. 8 at Virginia Tech. Florida State will be playing in a hostile environment on national television. The Hokies are having a down year, but they will be up for their game against Florida State.
• It comes down to: Focus. The Seminoles are 28-point favorites this weekend and will be heavily favored in every remaining conference game from here on out.
Clemson (6-1, 3-1 ACC)
• Record of remaining ACC opponents: 19-10, 9-6 ACC.
• Next up: at Wake Forest, Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN).
• Jerry Palm bowl projection: Chick-fil-A vs. Georgia.
• Must win: Nov. 17 vs. NC State. The Wolfpack are a dangerous team, and they come to Death Valley the week before South Carolina comes calling. Clemson can’t overlook NC State.
• Nice to have: Thursday at Wake Forest. The Tigers are on the road on a short week. Clemson is 1-9 all-time in Thursday night games.
• It comes down to: Improvement. Clemson’s defense looked like it took a step forward against Virginia Tech on Saturday. The Tigers gave up some yards but came up with big plays. If the defense keeps getting better, Clemson will be tough to beat down the stretch.
NC State (5-2, 2-1 ACC)
• Record of remaining ACC opponents: 18-19, 7-14 ACC.
• Next up: at North Carolina, Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET (ACC Network).
• Jerry Palm bowl projection: Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Rutgers.
• Must win: Saturday at North Carolina. The Wolfpack have won five in a row against the Tar Heels and would love nothing better than to make it six.
• Nice to have: Nov. 17 at Clemson. If NC State gets past North Carolina this weekend, the game at Clemson could be the last significant hurdle to winning the Atlantic Division.
• It comes down to: Road warriors. NC State’s toughest tests remaining on the schedule are at North Carolina and at Clemson. The other three are home games against Virginia, Wake Forest and Boston College.
NC STATE BASKETBALL
Jeff Goodman (CBSSports.com)
NC State’s Lorenzo Brown belongs with elite point guards
Brown was always a scoring guard, someone who was certainly versatile enough to play both backcourt positions but was almost always played at shooting guard because of his size and ability to score. Then it all changed when Ryan Harrow bolted for Kentucky following the coaching change. Gottffried said he would have moved Brown to the point even if Harrow had remained, but who knows how that would have played out.
I remember seeing Brown in March in Columbus when he nearly put up a triple-double (17 points, nine rebounds, eight assists) against San Diego State. Two days later I watched him go for 12 points, seven assists and six boards against Georgetown as he helped lead NC State to a Sweet 16 appearance. He wound up averaging 12.7 points, 6.3 assists and 4.5 boards per game — not bad for a guy who managed to fly under the radar for the most part.
Brown was terrific in the NCAA tournament — and he elevated his play this past offseason.
Now he’s become consistent while running the team. He pushes the ball when needed and creates easy opportunities for his teammates. Expect him to improve upon his 35 percent from beyond the arc a year ago. He’s quick and athletic enough to get to the basket and strong enough to finish once he gets there — and he also brings it on the defensive end of the floor. He’s also got the size (6-foot-6 with shoes) that most of his peers at the point guard spot don’t possess.
I honestly can’t find a weakness in his game.
Vandenberg Back And Ready To Contribute
In many ways, NC State junior center Jordan Vandenberg is returning to a completely new program.
The 7-foot-1 native of Melbourne, Australia, sat out last season as a medical redshirt and watched as his teammates put together one of the best seasons in recent memory, winning 24 games and advancing to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament.
Now that he is ready to play again, the expectations are substantially higher for the team – and for him – as the Wolfpack enters the 2012-13 season as a consensus preseason top 10 pick and the preseason favorite to win the ACC. It’s a whole different world for a player who devoted last season to repairing his injured shoulder and learning from the sidelines.
With four starters – C.J. Leslie, Lorenzo Brown, Richard Howell and Scott Wood – returning and a highly touted freshman class of Rodney Purvis, T.J. Warren and Tyler Lewis looking to earn playing time, Vandenberg knows that there will be much competition to get on the court. He and sophomore Thomas de Thaey will look to replace the contributions of the departed DeShawn Painter, who averaged 20 minutes a game in the paint with Leslie and Howell.
“Last year was good for me because I got to see how the team interacted, how C.J. wanted the ball, how Rich wants the ball, how Lorenzo passes the ball, where Scott wants to catch the ball,” Vandenberg said. “It was really good watching and learning how everyone plays as a unit.
“Now, I believe, I can work my way into the lineup.”
NC STATE ATHLETICS
NC State (19-3, 9-2) at Wake Forest (8-15, 2-9)
Friday | 7 p.m. | Oct. 26, 2012
Series record: Wake Forest leads, 27-21
Last meeting: NC State won 3-0 in Raleigh on Sept. 19
NC State (19-3, 9-2) at Duke (12-11, 3-8)
Saturday | 7:30 p.m. | Oct. 27, 2012
Cameron Indoor Stadium
Series record: Duke leads, 58-30
Last meeting: NC State won 3-1 in Raleigh on Sept. 21
NC State’s 2012 Results
Overall: 19-3; Home: 14-1; Away: 3-2; Neutral: 2-0.
Atlantic Coast Conference: 9-2; Home 7-0; Away: 2-2.
NC State’s record-setting volleyball team will take to the road for four of its next six matches, beginning Friday when it travels to Memorial Gymnasium in Winston-Salem, N.C., to face Wake Forest in a 7 p.m. match.
The contest will be televised on ESPN3.
The Wolfpack (19-3, 9-2) will then travel to Durham, N.C., on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. to face Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“We’ve had a pretty good run so far, but there is still a lot of volleyball left on the schedule,” said third-year head coach Bryan Bunn. “These are two important road matches. They are two good teams with a lot of talent on their roster.”
The Wolfpack will host two televised home matches next weekend that will have a huge impact on the ACC championship race, as No. 12 Florida State visits on Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. and Miami visits on Nov. 4 at 1 p.m.
The Seminoles and Hurricanes are tied for the ACC lead with identical 10-1 records, with the Wolfpack one game back in third place with a 9-2 mark. The Pack lost to both during an early-October trip to Florida for its only conference defeats so far this season.
Both matches will be televised on ESPN3.
The entire team will be available following the Florida State match for autographs. The second set of 2012 NC State volleyball trading cards will be distributed prior to the Miami match.
In today’s episode, former Wolfpack tight end Mark Thomas visits with senior defensive lineman Brian Slay.
The Audible: NHL stalls & will it be UNC or NCSU?
Adam and Joe talk about how the NHL isn’t talking and they break down the UNC, NCSU game in this edition of The Audible presented by Goodnight’s Comedy Club.
Crumpler: UNC-NC State game important to recruiting
Wolfpack ready for Carolina
Ellis says bragging rights drove him matchups with NC State
The Redmon Brothers fired up for UNC-NC State
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill agreed Thursday to a settlement ending more than two years of lawsuits filed by a coalition of media outlets, including WRAL News.
As a result, UNC-CH must release additional documents tied to the university investigation of alleged improper behavior – both athletic and academic – by members of the Tar Heel football team.
On Sept. 26, Superior Court Judge Howard E. Manning said that UNC must release information the university gathered for the NCAA about football players who got money, jewelry and other benefits, including transcripts of interviews with those student-athletes. The media coalition agreed not to publish those interviews verbatim online.
Manning ruled that, while information about a player’s academic performance would remain sealed, facts about impermissible benefits that led to a player’s being ruled ineligible should be released.
The university must also release records of university investigations into misconduct by any UNC coach, acting agent or booster.