Tramain Hall – From the opening series I knew it
would be a special day for Hall and it certainly was. The red-shirt sophomore from
Senior Quarterback Philip Rivers is blessed with his most impressive collection
of weapons since he's been in
a day when passing was a premium, the Wolfpack receivers delivered, as the RBs,
WRs, and TEs all made big plays. I
counted only one "drop" on the day and when nearly 40 passes are attempted,
that's big-time. Led by Hall,
Jerricho Cotchery, and Sterling Hicks, the receivers all ran great routes,
#44 Adds Two More
a day when his rushing numbers were where he might not have wanted them to be,
Sophomore Running Back TA McLendon reached "pay-dirt" two more times, on scoring
runs of 17 and 8 yards respectively.
Great job by the O-line today, allowing no sacks and churning up 494 yards of
Total Offense. The unit opened up
holes and protected the QBs as they always do, a common trait in recent Wolfpack
games. The starting offensive line
featured John McKeon, Ricky Fowler, Jed Paulsen, Leroy Harris, and Sean
Locklear, with only one returning from last year to his original position
(Paulsen @ center). Their fine play
is a testament to new OL Coach Mike Barry who's done a great job with a new
group of guys. Look for this line
to continue improving and hopefully All-ACC Tackle Chris Colmer can return next
Rushing Defense – The Wolfpack defense and young frontline did a terrific job playing against the rush in the first game of the season. The Catamounts finished with 43 yards rushing on 24 carries, and the defensive line and linebackers did a good job of stuffing the run on obvious rushing downs. What makes this stat even more impressive is that with the Wolfpack generating no sacks, it's an actual rushing total (rushing #'s are usually reduced a lot by QB sacks, which are taken into consideration).
Special Teams – The Special Teams unit performed well against the Catamounts, blocking an extra point attempt, returning a punt for a touchdown, and converting all extra point attempts. Senior Adam Kiker added a 21-yard FG in the 4th quarter to end the scoring for the day, and Freshman John Deraney did a relatively good job on kickoffs, including one touchback and a few more that reached the endzone. Overall, it looks like special teams have improved and will continue to be a strong point for the Wolfpack.
Opening Night Yields New Players - 18 Wolfpack players made their collegiate debut against Western Carolina including a total of 9 true freshmen: Mario Williams, DeMarcus "Tank" Tyler, Lamart Barrett, Maurice Charles, Stephen Tulloch, Ernest Jones, Garland Heath, Chris Hawkins, and James Martin. With such a big lead, the Wolfpack coaches were able to get in some young players who may need the experience later on in the season, and freshman such as Williams, Leroy Harris, and John McCargo entered the game as starters.
Fans Show up and
Cheer Loud – Opening night's
always a big night in the football season, but a full house on a Labor Day
Rushing Offense – The Wolfpack rushed the ball 34 times for 91 yards (2.7 YPC). That total is almost 50% less yards-per-carry then NC State finished with against
Turnovers… We Need
Them – Considered a
Who had Reeder? – Western Carolina Wide Receiver Michael Reeder had a career day, finishing with 9 catches for 132 yards and a 30-yard touchdown catch in the final minute of the second quarter. With talented Receivers such as Craphonso Thorpe, Jason Anderson, Derrick Hamilton, and Chris Gamble looming on the schedule, the Wolfpack secondary will have to do a better job of keying in on certain targets. One positive note, Western's top wideout coming into the game, Lamont Seward, was held to only 29 yards on 5 receptions.
WHAT'S ON TAP?
A high-noon showdown
this Saturday with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in Winston Salem is next on NC
State's agenda. Look for the Deacs,
coming off an electrifying 32-28 comeback victory against