TSX: Will O'Brien Stay Perfect?

N.C. State ought to have a little easier time putting its most-recent disappointment in the rear-view mirror because its annual game against rival North Carolina is up next.

That's the plan for the Wolfpack, which has made the most of other less-than-stellar seasons by knocking off the Tar Heels.

"Forget about it and move on," coach Tom O'Brien said of the 34-0 loss to Florida State.

And this week's game is a vital matchup because N.C. State must win three of its remaining four games in order to be eligible for a bowl game.

O'Brien has relished in defeating North Carolina. He's 4-0 against the Tar Heels in his role as N.C. State's coach.

"It's important because it's important to our faculty, our staff, our alumni and our fan base and I think that's what makes it different," O'Brien said.

The atmosphere for this game is often much discussed. With a scheduled 12:30 p.m. kickoff, this marks the seventh year in a row that the game time has been set for noon or 12:30 p.m. when these teams have met.

-- Two of the main personalities involved in recent N.C. State / North Carolina matchups are no longer part of the scene. That's because North Carolina coach Butch Davis, who never defeated the Wolfpack while with the Tar Heels, was fired this summer. Meanwhile, quarterback Russell Wilson opted to join Wisconsin's team during the summer, thus officially ending his time with the Wolfpack. Wilson went 3-0 against the Tar Heels.

-- It has been nearly a month since N.C. State has had a successful field goal. That came in the fourth quarter Oct. 8 against Central Michigan.

SERIES HISTORY: North Carolina leads N.C. State 63-31-6 (last meeting, 2010, 29-25 N.C. State).

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: The Wolfpack had been gaining steam on offense until the thud against Florida State. Finding better ways to protect QB Mike Glennon might be the first thing on the agenda so he can regain his touch. The backfield has been reduced because of injuries, but RB James Washington and RB Tony Creecy should be capable of churning out some yards if given the chance and if the Wolfpack avoids a sizable early deficit.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The secondary has compiled some nice statistics with interceptions, but that unit has had troubles limiting opponents' aerial strikes. Still, it's a veteran group in the defensive backfield that has shown signs of putting the pieces together. Until there's a better pass rush, there will be concerns. As DT J.R. Sweezy becomes more healthy after a foot injury, there could be some stabilization along the front. The Wolfpack is starting to see signs of the stellar play expected from LB Audie Cole and LB Terrell Manning.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Whenever we control the line of scrimmage and move the ball it opens up the pass and vice versa." -- QB Mike Glennon, whose team is coming off a shutout loss at Florida State. The Wolfpack will try to stay clear of another shutout because it hasn't been blanked twice in the same season since 1970, though North Carolina administered one of those.

THIS WEEK'S GAME: North Carolina at N.C. State, Nov. 5 --
Coach Tom O'Brien of N.C. State has never lost to the Tar Heels since he became the coach of the Wolfpack. That 4-0 record came against former North Carolina coach Butch Davis.

KEYS TO THE GAME: North Carolina has cranked up its offense the past couple of weeks after some sluggish stretches earlier in the season. The Wolfpack will need to keep the Tar Heels in check offensively because there's no reason to believe that N.C. State will put up lots of points in this matchup.

LB Audie Cole --
He has been wound up for meetings with North Carolina the past two seasons. He has a total of 23 tackles in those two games against the Tar Heels, posting a season-high 13 tackles in last year's matchup.

CB David Amerson -- He's in line for postseason honors with eight interceptions this season, though he didn't record a pick-off in the most-recent game against Florida State. He'll also be tested with North Carolina's large and talented receivers making their ways down the field.

WR T.J. Graham -- He's from the Raleigh area and so he knows full well about the rivalry with North Carolina. He's also on the verge of setting ACC records for career all-purpose yardage, a total that's aided by his role as return specialist.

-- QB Mike Glennon is stuck on 19 touchdown passes after last week's shutout loss to Florida State. Only Philip Rivers (three times) and Russell Wilson (twice) have reached the 20-touchdown mark in passing in a season in school history.

-- DT Jeff Rieskamp hasn't played since the season opener because of a shoulder injury. Suggestions that he could apply for a hardship waiver and seek a sixth year of eligibility appear unlikely because he hasn't expressed a desire to go that route.

-- DT Jacob Kahut, an undersized walk-on at 245 pounds thrust into the middle of the defensive line, has missed games with an injury climbing the depth chart out of necessity after injuries struck the defensive unit in mass.

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