Quarterback Play Is The Key

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NC State knows that if they are going to win the 2011 Belk Bowl they must play well on both sides of the football.

The common theme for NC State's defense appears to be stopping Louisville's freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Bridgewater has accounted for nearly 2,000 yards of total offense with 15 total touchdowns and nine interceptions, and he has over 200+ yards of total offense in three of his last four games.

"We've got to contain him," said senior defensive tackle J.R. Sweezy. "He likes to extend plays... make plays. We can't let him get outside the pocket. We've got to contain him."

"They've got a good, mobile quarterback who has a strong arm," added sophomore cornerback David Amerson. "We've got to pressure him... we can't have him back there running all around. We've got to pressure him and hit him early and often.

"We know we've got to play our very best to win this game."

Offensively, redshirt junior quarterback Mike Glennon has faced several strong defenses this year, and he has had his highs and lows as a first-year starter.

"[Glennon] learned a lot as the year went on, and you would expect that,' said Tom O'Brien. "He studies the game, he works at it.

"He has talent like [Matt Ryan]. That extra something inside, he still has to prove that he can do it. But, coming back at Maryland, doing some of those things, his starting point next year will be a lot higher than this year."

Glennon can look back at the outstanding performance against Maryland in the regular season finale, but he also remembers the struggle versus Florida State.

"I had a lot of ups-and-downs," he said. "I had some good games and some not so good, but each of them I learned from. I took something from them all, especially those two games."

"As we told him in the halftime [of Maryland game]... bullets are cheap," said O'Brien. "Keep firing... we're not going to run out of bullets. He kept firing."

Glennon ended the regular season with 28 touchdown passes and just 11 interceptions. He threw for 2,790 yards and had nine touchdowns and just one interception in his last two games, must-win matchups with Clemson and Maryland.

Tomorrow he will face a Louisville defense that has been outstanding. The Cardinals rank No. 23 in total defense and have had just one opponent (West Virginia) score over 25 points all season.

"They do a great job getting after the quarterback," said Glennon. "I believe they lead the country in tackles for a loss. The linebackers really come at you from different places, and they have a lot of athleticism on the back end."

"I'm looking forward to seeing how he does this game because he's had an opportunity to go back, he went through the tape," O'Brien said of Glennon. "He's got the opportunity to get better."

Sounds like whichever team receives the best quarterback play will leave Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium with the victory.

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