PP DIGITAL: William & Mary Preview
NC State Game Notes
HALL OF FAME WEEKEND
This weekend is a special one for NC State Athletics. Not only is this the weekend when the 2016 North Carolina State University Athletic Hall of Fame class will be inducted, but it also marks the grand opening of the renovated and refurbished Reynolds Coliseum. The "Old Barn" on the university's campus has been undergoing a a $35 million renovation since March 2015.
In addition to the Gala celebrating the grand reopening of the building on Friday night, the 2016 Hall of Fame Class will be honored then and at Saturday's football game. The Hall of Fame recognizes student-athletes, teams, coaches, staff and special inductees who have made demonstrably outstanding and significant contributions to the athletic tradition and heritage of Wolfpack Athletics.
This year's inductees include:
Dick Christy, football
Stan Cockerton, lacrosse
Linda Page, women's basketball
Dave Robertson, baseball, track
Don Easterling, Swimming & Diving coach
1974 Men's Basketball team
NC STATE VS. OLD DOMINION
The Wolfpack will face Old Dominion for the third straight season, as the Monarchs came to Carter-Finley in 2014 and State played in Norfolk last season. The Wolfpack has won the last two (the only games every played between the two schools) by a combined score of 84-48.
RUSHING ATTACK IS BACK
The Wolfpack enters game 3 ranked 28th in the FBS in rushing, after turning in back-to-back 200+ yard games. Dating back to the last three games of 2015, NC State has rushed for over 200 yards in five straight contests and averaged 253.6 rushing yards per game during that span.
In the last 15 outings (2 games in 2016 and 13 games in 2015), the Wolfpack has turned in nine 200+ rushing games. In the 76 games from 2009-14, NC State rushed for over 200 yards just 10 times.
With a 237 yard average this season, the Pack ranks fourth in the ACC in rushing (28th in the FBS). Senior running back Matt Dayes ranks third in the league with 120.5 yards per game. His 103 yards at East Carolina marked his seventh 100+ rushing yard game in the last 10 games.
After two games, quarterback Ryan Finley leads the ACC and ranks 17th in the FBS in completion percentage with a .712 mark. The redshirt sophomore, who started three games at Boise State in 2015, completed 17 of 21 pass attempts for an .809 mark in the season opener - the best completion percentage for a Wolfpack quarterback in his debut as NC State's starter dating all the way back to 1971 (with the exception of Brandon Mitchell in 2013, who broke his foot after opening 3-3).
His two touchdown throws in that contest tied with Erik Kramer as the second-highest tally for a starting debut in the past 45 years (Jacoby Brissett and Philip Rivers each threw for three scores in their first game as State's starter).
Finley is one of just three ACC starting QBs without an INT.
DAYES FOR 100
If there was any question as to how senior running back Matt Dayes would return from his season-ending injury in 2015, he has answered it quickly in 2016. Dayes, who hadn't played a game in 306 days, ranks third in the ACC and ranks 13th in the FBS with 241 rushing yards. His 6.51 yards per carry ranks 29th nationally.
Dayes, who has rushed for three TDs this season, has now posted 100-yard rushing games in seven his last 9-1/2 outings (he was injured in the first half of game 8 last season).
With 1,931 career yards, Dayes now ranks 13th in Wolfpack history. His 5.7 yards per carrry is the top mark in school history and his 27 rushing touchdowns is the fourth-best mark ever for a Pack runner. In terms of overall scoring, he is tied for fourth in school history (with Torry Holt) with 33 TDs.
Last season Dayes, who was named to the 2016 watch lists for the Maxwell and Doak Walker Awards, was the first State runner since 2002 to rush for 100+ yard in five straight games. He is responsible for two of the 10 longest rushing plays in school history (85 yards vs. Wake Forest, 77 yards vs. South Alabama).
MOORE IS LESS (FOR THE OPPOSITION)
Linebacker Airius Moore was NC State's leading tackler in 2015 and is tied with free safety Josh Jones for the team lead this season. This season, however, he has been making more of those stops in the opponent's backfield.
Moore tallied 4.5 tackles for loss at East Carolina and has six stops behind the line of scrimmage for the season. In 13 games last season, he had eight total TFLs.
STEPH STEPS UP
Although the William & Mary game marked the official return of Stephen Louis, the ECU game marked his coming out party. Louis missed the entire 2015 campaign after undergoing surgery on each of his shoulders. Louis, who had just one catch (4 yards) in the opener, caught three balls for 142 yards on Saturday, including an 80 yard catch and run for a touchdown.
Louis started two games as a freshman in 2014 before his injuries.
In 2015, the opponent's punt return yardage was the lowest in school history (52) and the Wolfpack ranked eighth in the FBS in punt return defense. The Wolfpack has ranked in the top five in the ACC in kickoff return defense each of the past two seasons.
This season, the Pack has been even more solid on its punt return defense. Although starting punter A.J. Cole has only been called on four times in two games (lowest number of punts in the ACC), opponents have not returned a punt against the Pack this season.
NC State ranks fourth in the FBS in net punting (46.0) and tied for seventh in punt return defense.
QUOTABLES: Dave Doeren
I'm looking forward to playing Old Dominion this week. Had a much better Tuesday practice yesterday than we had a week ago. I was very disappointed in our execution in a lot of ways. I think practice makes permanent, and that's one thing that we've emphasized, and our guys have taken to heart this week.
I think Wednesday last week was pretty good, but Tuesday wasn't, and that's a very important day. We had a good practice this morning, as well, and I think our guys are looking forward to being back on the football field. Obviously disappointed in the outcome last week, but dwelling on it is not going to help us. We've worked really hard on getting our guys back, and looking forward to playing again this week.
To take a look back at the East Carolina game, just what you can say about their ability on the field and just what you took away from going up against Scottie Montgomery.
You know, he's got good skill, and I knew that going into the game. They always have, and their kids play hard. It was a hard-fought game on both sides, and I thought they made a couple more plays than we did. We made more mistakes than they did. In a close game, one-possession game, every play matters, and when it comes down to it, there's going to be about 25 plays that could have gone one way or another that changed the game.
As far as Matt Dayes back-to-back getting over 100 yards on the ground, what you can say about his output and what he's meant to this team and what he means to the team this year.
Yeah, Matt is an important member of our football team. They all are, but he's a captain and he's put in a lot of time. He's very well respected by his teammates. He prepares the right way. He practices hard. He did not have a bunch of yards early but he just kept pounding the rock and it opened up there for him as time went on.
I know it means a lot to him to have over 100 yards, but to seek the -- I guess you'd call it the grail of 1,000 yards because it hasn't been done at NC State in a long time. That's very important to our offensive line, our tight ends, and to Matt. I know he's going to work hard and so are they to try to continue to get that for him.
I wanted to ask about Stephen Louis. 36 yards a catch is pretty remarkable. Can you talk about him and what he brings to the table?
Yeah, probably one of my favorite practice players on our football team. He works really hard. He's got an edge to him. A lot of times when you lose the game of football to an injury, which he did, he played here as a true freshman and then he redshirted last year because he had to have his shoulder operated on, and he was an animal.
Every day we were practicing and getting ready for games, he was on the other field with our strength coach just grinding, and he did it all through the fall and had a very good spring. I said at the end of the spring he was our most improved player, and took it into the summer and fall camp, and he's playing at a high level, and he practices at a high level.
You have a little bit of versatility in your passing game. Can you talk about the guys that give you some -- it's not a one-man pass-catch thing.
Yeah. I think our offensive staff does a nice job of targeting guys that make plays, and I think that's the bottom line. You want to feed the guys you know are going to catch it and that can do something with it after the catch most of the time.
If you look at our skill set, Steph and Bra'Lon are guys that make plays when they catch it. J-Sam makes plays when he catches it, Matt Dayes. So you're going to find different ways to get those guys the football. We've got a young tight end named Thad Moss that is coming on in practice that I hope has a game where he kind of breaks out, as well, down the road.
But I think you earn those opportunities in practice, and it's something that Eli does a nice job when he's putting the passing game together of putting guys in the right places.
We're talking about the offense, but the offense actually performed at a pretty high level. Defense, what do you need to do to get the defense to where you want it to be?
Well, it all starts with leveraging tackling, and we missed too many tackles in that game. We had a couple critical penalties that were called, and one was a 3rd and 12 where we stopped them, and Bradley Chubb, one of our better players, lines up in the neutral zone, which we can't do. We can't beat ourselves. We had a pass interference call that I thought was a really good defense play, but it got called, and that was on a 3rd down, as well, and both of those plays ended up being points. Every play that changes the game from a points standpoint matters, and those were two of them.
I think we are playing hard. We've got to play smarter, and we've got to be very, very good tacklers in space. I think anyone that you watch in college football right now, if they're playing a spread opponent, you're going to find if they play well, they tackled well.
NC State Depth Chart
NOTE: *- Indicates a player has redshirted a season.
|2016 NC State Depth Chart|
Thanks to NC State Athletics for much of the information in this preview.null