NOTES: Pack Back In Action

Here are some pregame notes on NC State with the Wolfpack preparing to face Florida State.

NC State and Florida State have met 33 times on the gridiron, with the Seminoles holding a 22-11 advantage. The Wolfpack and Seminoles played 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.

In the last eight meetings, State posts a 4-4 mark against FSU, with three of those victories taking place at Carter-Finley Stadium. The last time NC State won in Tallahassee was in 2005.

Logic dictates that teams ranked in the polls are better than teams that aren't, but NC State seems to play better against Florida State when the ‘Noles are in the polls. The last seven times that the Pack has played FSU when the Seminoles were ranked, NC State has pulled off five victories.

Florida State was not ranked in 2007, 08, 09 or 2011 and State dropped all four of those contests.

NC State has won six of its last 10 games played after a bye week and Dave Doeren was 2-0 after an open date during his tenure at Northern Illinois. This will mark the sixth time in the last 11 years that State has faced Florida State following the open date.

Fifty-six days into the 2013 football season, The Wolfpack will leave the state of North Carolina for a game when it travels to Florida State to take on the No. 2 Seminoles.

NC State has played five games in Carter-Finley Stadium already in 2013 and has three more home contests. The Wolfpack's only road game thus far was the quick bus trip down I-40 to take on Wake Forest.

The only other time the Pack will play a game outside of its home state this season will be on Nov. 16, when the squad heads north to take on Boston College. The only other road game will be at Duke on Nov. 9.

NC State will be facing a top-10 team on the road for the first time since a win at No. 9 Florida State in 2005. The Pack was led by Andre Brown's 179 rushing yards, and the defense held the Seminoles to just 227 yards of total offense in a 20-15 win in Tallahassee.

NC State has not faced a top-5 team on the road since a 44-38 triple overtime loss at No. 3 Ohio State in 2003. The Pack has not faced a top-5 ACC foe on the road since losing at No. 1 Florida State in 1999, 42-11.

As soon as Dave Doeren assembled his staff after being named head coach on Dec. 1, 2012, they headed south. That the state of Florida was a point of emphasis in recruiting for the first-year coach is evident in the fact that of 10 Wolfpack players from the Sunshine State on the 2013 roster, he signed nine of them.

One of the biggest obstacles that Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren knew his team would face in 2013 was a lack of depth. That lack has been magnified after the Pack has suffered injuries at key positions.

At one point in the second half of the Syracuse game, seven of the Pack's starters for the season opener were out with injuries: Quarterback Brandon Mitchell, top two offensive linemen Rob Crisp and Joe Thuney, leading receiver Rashard Smith, defensive tackle T.Y. McGill, defensive end Darryl Cato-Bishop and safety Jarvis Byrd.

Add to that fullback Logan Winkles, the returning starter who was injured in preseason drills and several others who were hurt in the course of the game (QB Pete Thomas and CB Jack Tocho) and you have a pretty depleted Pack.

Against Wake Forest, the Wolfpack was without the services of its leading rusher and top two receivers. Freshman running back Matt Dayes, the team's leading rusher and touchdown scorer, dressed but was unable to go due to an injury.

Freshman wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who was the leading receiver through the first three games did not play for the second straight game. Six plays into the game, Smith, who had taken Vades-Scantling's place as the team's leading receiver, went down with an injury and did not return.

Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren has talked about building a wall around the state of North Carolina and keeping the in-state players at home. He's taken that a step further by fielding a team that boasts many local players seeing action.

On the current roster, 21 players are from Raleigh or Wake County. Of those 21 players, eight are listed on the two-deep and five have started games this season.

The Wolfpack ranks third in the ACC and is tied for 10th nationally in tackles for loss, with 48 stops behind the line (8.0/game) - including a season-high 12 vs. Clemson.

Six games into the 2013 campaign, the Wolfpack has had five different players lead the team in rushing. Three running backs, a quarterback and a wide receiver have all earned top rusher billing this season.

Seven State players have rushed for at least 100 yards, but none have reached the 200 yard mark. State is the only team in the ACC with seven 100-yard rushers (Clemson has six and Duke, Florida State, Syracuse and Virginia have five).

The decision of who would start at quarterback for the Wolfpack in 2013 was one that went down to the wire. Head coach Dave Doeren did not announce who his starter would be until the Pack took the field for the opener as transfers Pete Thomas and Brandon Mitchell battled for the job.

Mitchell, a graduate student who transferred from Arkansas in July, got the nod. Mitchell appeared in 21 games for the Razorbacks, but had played wide receiver in 2012. The decision looked like a good one as he stood under center in the opener for three promising offensive series - two of which were 65 and 75 yard touchdown drives. He completed all three of this throws for a quick gain of 93 yards before a broken foot sent him to the sideline where he has remained for the past five games.

Thomas, a junior who started 21 games under center at Colorado State, has come in over the last 23 quarters and posted numbers that have him ranked fifth in the ACC in total offense and in passing and he is the team's second-leading rusher with 153 yards.

He went down late in the loss to Syracuse with an injury. Mitchell began throwing and running the week before that contest and has been cleared to play.

Senior safety Jarvis Byrd suffered the third torn ACL of his career in the loss at Wake Forest and will miss the remainder of the season. Byrd, a member of the Pack's Leadership Council, had played 302 snaps and tallied 17 tackles before the injury.

The loss of Jarvis Byrd at safety has caused some shuffling in the defensive secondary. Dontae Johnson, who played safety as a freshman and sophomore, has moved back to that spot and true freshman Jack Tohco has moved into the starting job at corner.

Tocho didn't take long to make his presence known as a starter. The Charlotte native played 35 snaps in the Syracuse game before leaving with an injury, and during his time in the game made three tackles, broke up a pass and intercepted two others - returning them for 50 yards. Tocho was named the ACC's Rookie of the Week for his efforts.

The Wolfpack's starters on the offensive line have not gotten a breather so far in 2013. Starting center Quinton Schooley has played every offensive snap of the season - a total of 497 (82.8 per game). Joe Thuney had played every snap prior to the Syracuse contest, when he had to exit with an injury after 38 snaps. Thuney, who has started at right tackle, left guard and left tackle this season, has been in for 439 snaps - a 73.2 snap per game average.

In two games this season (Clemson and Wake Forest) all five starting linemen have played the entire game.

Four players went the distance in the season opener and against Richmond while three played the entire game against Central Michigan.

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