Pack Looking to Rebound

The Wolfpack has put itself on a higher stage. The next step is winning on that stage.

Perhaps sensing disappointment among fans, coach Chuck Amato tried to pep up supporters in a post-game radio show following the team's blowout loss to Miami.

"Stick with us now," he said. "This is when we need the hugs around the neck. When things are bad, it's easy to say this, that and whatever. This is when we need to stay together."

N.C. State (4-3) is fighting for a bowl game. The Wolfpack faces a sizeable test, traveling to Clemson on Saturday, then back-to-back home games with Georgia Tech and Florida State.

The Wolfpack needs at least two wins in the final four games. The immediate challenge is getting recharged emotionally and recovered physically from the Miami game. So much was put into it. The injuries are mounting.

"I hope they don't stop [bouncing back]," Amato said. "They've done a good job of being able to come back. That's a part of sports. That's why a lot of people will hire youngsters that are in athletics because they know the ups and downs of life.

"They learn that you have to take the good with the bad and go on. It's an education on life in itself. Hey, it's time to prepare for another game."

How well this team can prepare for Clemson will be a critical factor against. Two thirds of the offensive line is injured. Tailback T.A. McLendon practically stays injured, but manages to play. The defense took a hit against Miami, after feeling good about its performance against lesser opponents.

Amato knew it would be a rebuilding season with a new quarterback, and the graduation loss of his first signing class. The mission for N.C. State is to find a way to win two more games, and keep a bowl trip alive.

Scouting the Offense: The Wolfpack offense came alive last week against Miami and didn't quit, scoring twice in the fourth quarter to make the score more respectable. The Wolfpack generated 440 yards, its third-largest total this season. TB T.A McLendon, always playing hurt, rushed for 145 yards on 22 carries against Miami.

Scouting the Defense: It was a reality check last week for the Wolfpack secondary, as Miami torched N.C. State for 265 yards passing. North Carolina State entered the week ranked No. 1 in pass defense entering the game, and might be able to get healthy again against Clemson QB Charlie Whitehurst, who has been erratic this season.

Quote to Note: "We're in a critical stage. We've really gone through it in a tough way this year." -- N.C. State coach Chuck Amato on the team's sudden rash of injuries.

Player to Watch: TB T.A. McLendon -- For all the concern over his health status, McLendon ran strong against Miami, gaining 145 yards. It was his third 100-yard rushing effort in the past four games.

QB Jay Davis -- He's coming off his best game, throwing for a career-high four touchdown passes against Miami, along with 260 passing yards. Davis has settled the quarterback debate, at least temporarily.

DE Manny Lawson -- He's third in the ACC in sacks (4) and has six career punt blocks.

Roster Moves: The offensive line is depleted. C Jed Paulsen (ankle), a senior co-captain, underwent surgery this week and could miss the rest of the regular season. OT Derek Colmer (high ankle sprain) is out indefinitely.

OT Chris Colmer (shoulder) has been limited with his injury. OG Leroy Harris, who moved to center when Paulsen was injured, has a shoulder sprain and is listed as doubtful. If Harris can't play, redshirt freshman Luke Lathan will be the starting center.

QB Marcus Stone (knee sprain) is unlikely to play, mean Top Stories