NOTEBOOK: Bulls Up Next

NC State faces South Florida today at 3:30 pm on CBS Sports Network. Here are some pregame notes on the Wolfpack.

Heading Home
A dozen members of the 2014 Wolfpack squad will be heading home this weekend when NC State travels to Tampa to take on the University of South Florida.

Although most of the 12 players from the Sunshine State hail from the southern end of the state, sophomore wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling calls St. Petersburg his hometown. His high school, Lakewood, is just 26 miles from Raymond James Stadium.

Here’s a look at the Wolfpack’s players from Florida:
Trace Batten, Palm Beach Gardens
Shawn Boone, Palm Beach Gardens
Jacoby Brissett, West Palm Beach
Jarvis Byrd, Pahokee
Matt Dayes, Weston
Jerod Fernandez, Lake Mary
Stephen Louis, W. Palm Beach
Monty Nelson, Plantation
Sean Paul, Vero Beach
Tylar Reagan, Jacksonville
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, St. Petersburg
Dravious Wright, Vero Beach

Striking A Balance
In its first two games, the Wolfpack has found a nice balance between the run and the pass. With 415 yards on the ground and 544 through the air, NC State has a 43/57 balance. That makes the Wolfpack’s offense the third most balanced in the ACC in this young season.

Discipline Pays Dividends
A focus on discipline has paid off in two key areas for the Wolfpack in 2014. Two games into the season, the Wolfpack is the second-least penalized team in the FBS, losing just 25 yards on penalties in two games. In terms of flags thrown, NC State is tied for fourth with just five yellow flags - receiving just one last time out.

All five of the penalties have been of the presnap variety (4 false starts, 1 offsides).

When He’s Hot ...
After two games, junior quarterback Jacoby Brissett ranks among the national leaders in passing efficiency (158.26), touchdown passes (5) and completion percentage (.710). On those five touchdown drives, the transfer has been on fire, completing 23-27 throws for an .852 mark and gaining 322 yards.

That doesn’t even count his 6-6 performance on the opening drive on Saturday against Old Dominion which resulted in a field goal. On the Pack’s last two drives against Georgia Southern and its first drive against Old Dominion, its starting quarterback completed 20-of-22 pass attempts - a .909 mark.

Just two games into Chapter 2 of his collegiate career, Brissett already ranks among ACC and FBS leaders:

ACC Rank FBS Rank Category Mark
2nd 35th Yds/Game 272.0
2nd 32nd Passing Yds 544
1st 25th Efficiency 158.3
2nd 11th Completion % 71.0
t-1st t-15th Passing TDs 5

Young And Hungry
All five of quarterback Jacoby Brissett’s touchdown throws this season have been to freshmen and sophomores. Sophomore Bra’Lon Cherry has a pair, sophomore Matt Dayes has another pair and freshman Stephen Louis has the fifth.

In fact, out of the Pack’s 544 yards of receiving this season, 535 yards - or 98% - has come from freshmen and sophomores. Other classes have accounted for just two catches for nine yards.

Pack Backs Making Tracks
Two of the top five touchdown scorers in the ACC this week both sit in the same position room every day. Junior tailback Shadrach Thornton and sophomore tailback Matt Dayes have each scored three touchdowns this season - a mark that ties for second in the ACC.

Thornton has rushed for all three of his scores, while Dayes has rushed for one and has two others on receptions. Those two members of Des Kitchings’ running back corps account for 51% of the team’s scoring thus far.

Know When To Hold ‘Em
Since the beginning of senior placekicker Niklas Sade’s sophomore campaign, 53% of his kickoffs have gone for touchbacks. The Wolfpack currently ranks 17th nationally in touchbacks and has ranked in the top 25 each of the past two seasons behind Sade’s toes.

More Dividends From Discipline
The other way discipline has paid off for Dave Doeren’s squad is in taking care of the football. With just one turnover this season (an interception vs. Georgia Southern in the opener), NC State is tied for 13th nationally in fewest giveaways.

Let’s Get This Party Started
In each of the first two games of 2014, NC State’s offense has gained momentum throughout the course of the game. The Wolfpack has gained 168 total yards in the first quarter, 209 in the second quarter, 265 in the third and 317 in the fourth.

Schooley Stays In
Wolfpack center Quinton Schooley has no idea what the Wolfpack offense looks like from the sideline. He’s never been there to see it.

Schooley has played every offensive snap for the Wolfpack since transferring from Butler Community College prior to last season - 1,124 total.

Pack Pups Play
NC State had the third-highest percentage of underclassmen on the first day of fall camp of any team in the nation. The Wolfpack had the second-highest number of freshmen (52) on its camp roster (Pitt has 53).

Dave Doeren’s squad has just 33 juniors and seniors - the lowest number of upperclassmen for the Wolfpack since 1995.

True Freshmen
Tony Adams, OG
Shawn Boone, S
Bradley Chubb, LB
Cole Cook, TE
B.J. Hill, DT
Bo Hines, WR
Justin Jones, DT
Stephen Louis, WR
Airius Moore, LB
Germaine Pratt, FS
Jaylen Samuels, FB/TE
Mike Stevens, CB
Kentavius Street, DE

Redshirt Freshmen
Jerod Fernandez, LB
Kenton Gibbs, DT
Josh Jones, SS
Malcolm Means, CB
Pharoah McKever, DE
Dakwa Nichols, RB
Lucas Wilson, TE

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