NOTEBOOK: Pack Ready for Primetime?

NC State (5-2) returns to the field tonight looking to knock off Florida State (6-1) in Carter-Finley Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 pm, and the game will be televised on ESPN.

Florida State is currently leading the standings in the ACC's Atlantic Division standings, posting a 4-0 mark, while the Wolfpack is tied for second at 2-1.

The Wolfpack has won its only matchup this season against a rival in its own division (Boston College) and is 1-1 so far this season against the Coastal half of the league, winning at Georgia Tech and falling to Virginia Tech. The only other contest against a Coastal Division opponent this season will be the Nov. 20 game at North Carolina.

NC State and Florida State have met 30 times on the gridiron, with the Seminoles holding a 21-9 advantage. The Wolfpack and Seminoles met from 1952-57, from 1963-69, and then resumed a yearly rivalry when Florida State joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1992.

In 2001, NC State became the first ACC team to beat Florida State in Tallahassee since FSU joined the ACC with a 34-28 win, then followed that up with a 20-15 win in 2005 to become the first ACC team to defeat the Seminoles at their house twice.

NC State has dropped its last three matchups against Florida State and in each of those contests, the Seminoles were unranked in the polls. But in the previous five contests between the two schools, all of which featured a ranked Seminole squad, NC State came out on the winning end of three of them.

Although Florida State holds a definite advantage in the overall series with NC State (21-9), the Seminoles hold just a 5-4 edge in the last nine matchups. And in eight of those nine contests, the score was decided by 10 points or less. The average margin in those nine games has been just 7.4 points.

Last season in Tallahassee, it was a shootout, with the ‘Noles coming out on top, 45-42. The teams combined for over 1,000 yards of total offense (538 for NC State, 555 for FSU) and the Wolfpack's Russell Wilson threw for 349 and a career-best five touchdowns.

NC State enters the eighth game of the 2010 season with some of the best offensive marks in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Wolfpack currently leads the league in pass offense (312.6 ypg) and total offense (448.9 ypg) and ranks second in scoring offense (36.0 ppg), just one point behind league-leader Virginia Tech. Those marks would rank among the top two in school history in each of those categories if the season ended today.

NC State is leading the ACC in scoring offense this week and is getting that scoring from many different spots. Fourteen different players have scored touchdowns for the Wolfpack this season, a mark that ties as the fourth-highest in the nation. Four players have crossed the goal line four times each, while nine have scored two or more TDs.

In terms of positions, wide receivers (6), halfbacks (3), fullbacks (1), tight ends (1), defensive backs (2) and a quarterback (1) have been responsible for the Wolfpack's 31 TDs this season.

In 25 of the 57 years since the ACC was formed, NC State has scored fewer touchdowns for the season than the Pack has already scored in seven games in 2010.

The main thing that stands out about NC State's wide receiving corps is that it's very talented. Two members of that unit, Owen Spencer and Jarvis Williams, rank among the all-time greats in Wolfpack history in receptions and receiving yardage, alongside names like Torry Holt and Jerricho Cotchery.

Together, that group has caught 107 passes this season (60% of the team's total) and gained 1,523 yards (70% of the team's total).

But what stands out just as obviously is that the group often looks down on its competition. The Wolfpack's wide receiving corps (wideouts who have caught at least one catch in 2010) boasts an average height of 6'3. That mark is the second-highest among ACC schools (for wide receivers who have caught a pass in 2010).

Wolfpack quarterback Russell Wilson enters the Florida State game leading the ACC in passing yards with 303.4 per game and total offense with 332.0 per contest. Those marks rank fifth and fourth respectively in the BCS this week. He is averaging 55.3 more passing yards per game and 65.9 more yards of total offense than any other ACC quarterback. Wilson has three more touchdown passes than any other ACC signal caller (Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor has 15 but has played in eight games).

NC State's receiving corps was highly touted entering the 2010 season, with senior wideouts Owen Spencer and Jarvis Williams and tight end George Bryan getting the lion's share of the attention.

And although those three players lead the team in receptions this season with 34, 27 and 20 respectively, they are just three of many who are contributing to the Wolfpack's high-powered aerial attack.

Sixteen different players have caught passes this season and seven have tallied double-digit reception totals. In five of the seven games in 2010, passes have been caught by 10 or more different players.

Ten different players have at least one touchdown catch this season. Williams leads the way with three TD receptions.

Redshirt junior quarterback Russell Wilson has thrown 66 career touchdowns, the second-best mark in school history. His touchdown-to-interception ratio of 3.1 to 1 is better than even Philip Rivers, the Wolfpack's all-time record-holder in every passing category, as Wilson has thrown just 21 picks.

To illustrate just how strong that number is, the other 15 quarterbacks in ACC history with 50+ TD passes have a collective ratio of 1.6:1. In other words, Wilson's ratio is almost double the average amassed by the 15 most accomplished QBs in league history.

In the last three games, Wilson has thrown eight interceptions - 38% of the interceptions thrown in his 31-game career.

NC State continues to lead the ACC and ranks sixth nationally in third-down conversion defense this week. The Wolfpack's feisty defensive unit is allowing the opposition to convert on just 28.7% of it's third-down attempts (27 of 94). The Wolfpack has forced the opposition into 30 three-and-outs this season, an average of 4.29 per game. That mark is tied for seventh nationally this week.

The Wolfpack's Russell Wilson and Florida State's Christian Ponder have a lot in common. Both have put up impressive numbers during their respective careers. Both have graduated from their respective universities and both have received national recognition.

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