Thuney Thrilled To Be Back

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State's offense was rolling along early in the season when starting left guard Joe Thuney was sidelined with an illness.

NC State's offense was rolling along early in the season when starting left guard Joe Thuney was sidelined with an illness. Thuney, who had flu-like symptoms and needed a couple of weeks to get his strength back, missed four games, and NC State went 1-3 during that stretch.

He was able to return for the game at Louisville.

"It was awesome," said Thuney. "It was really frustrating, having to sit out that long, and I couldn't wait to be back out there with my guys. You don't realize what you have until it's gone, that phrase is so true. It was exciting for me to be back."

Thuney slid back in at his starting left guard spot, and head coach Dave Doeren felt Thuney fared well.

"He was a little rusty, but he played good for being out as long as he was," Doeren said. "He fell down a couple of times I think, but he played hard. Him and Rob [Crisp] had a good chemistry together... you could see the movement on that side of the line was increased from where it was."

Facing the nation's top-ranked defense, NC State was able to move the ball at times and that was encouraging.

"We practiced hard for Louisville," said Thuney. "We had a few plays here or there that could have led to a different outcome, but we did okay against their defense.

"It was fairly satisfying. I mean we didn't win so it's not too good, but there was a silver lining there because it gave us some confidence with how we were able to move the ball."

Next up for Thuney and the Wolfpack is a matchup with Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. Syracuse blitzes a lot defensively, and it will be a test for the offensive line.

"Syracuse is big and physical," Thuney said. "They blitz from all over, so communication is the key. They are fast and active with their linebackers, corners, and safeties.

"We have to study film and see what they are doing defensively. It's going to be loud in the dome so we definitely have to be on the same page."

Thuney knows this is a huge game for his team. NC State is currently 4-4 but the Wolfpack is on a four-game losing streak.

"We're 4-4, and we need this one to get back on that winning rack, he said. "We've had a rough stretch so it's pivotal to get back on track for the rest of the season.

"We were able to have our bye week, so I hope that helps us. We looked at what we did well and didn't do well, so we were able to improve on our strengths and correct our weaknesses, plus spend more time on Syracuse. I think we'll be ready."

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