NC State (3-1) vs. North Carolina (2-3)
Saturday, October 9, 2004
6:05 pm Kenan Stadium (60,000)
Chapel Hill, NC
North Carolina Links
Andre Maddox, ROV - hamstring strain
Troy Graham, FS - knee sprain
Darrell Blackman, RB - AC seperation
LeRue Rumph, LB - Out 3-4 weeks, bicep tear
Merci Falaise, OL - knee sprain
James Martin, DE - will redshirt season after ACL surgery
Luke Lathan, C - knee sprain
North Carolina Scouting Report
|Jacque Lewis is averaging 7.1 yards per carry|
4 Darian Durant, QB – Individually, Durant has had a magnificent career, setting numerous records while at North Carolina. However, he's failed to lead the Tar Heels to consistent wins on the field, in large part due to poor decisions and turnovers in crucial situations. When he's on, Durant's one of the league's best and he's played well against NC State. Look for him to be ready to go against the Wolfpack on Saturday.
25 Ronnie McGill, RB – Physical running back who has been compared to NC State's T.A. McLendon. McGill's averaging 5.7 yards per carry on the season and is listed as questionable for Saturday's game after missing the past two games with an ankle injury. Look for the Heels to use him in short yardage situations.
20 Jacque Lewis, RB – Lewis has been brilliant at times this season, averaging an impressive 7.1 yards per carry through the first five games of the year. He's an explosive back who can also catch the ball well out of the backfield. If McGill's the 'thunder' in UNC's offense, than Lewis is without question the 'lightning.'
5 Jawarski Pollack, WR – Smallish wide receiver is UNC's best playmaker, scoring the Heels only touchdown against Florida State. He'll work the slot and use his quickness to find creases in the defense. Look for NC State to put Marcus Hudson on Pollack this Saturday.
72 Jason Brown, OC – Senior center is the key to UNC's outstanding offensive line. A Remington Award nominee, Brown is a pro prospect who has already been named ACC offensive lineman of the week this season.
30 Fred Sparkman, LB – Sophomore linebacker leads the Tar Heels in tackles, averaging over 10 tackles per game. Instinctive middle linebacker has been a bright spot in UNC's front seven.
14 Gerald Sensabaugh, SS – East Tennessee State transfer has impacted the UNC secondary, developing a reputation as a fierce hitter.
16 Jacoby Watkins, CB - North Carolina's top cover corner, Watkins leads the team with two interceptions.
SPREADING IT AROUND
Fourteen different Tar Heels have made receptions in 2004, including a team-high 17 by wide receiver Jarwarski Pollock. Nine other Tar Heels have made at least three catches. Bowman and junior Derrele Mitchell are tied for the team lead with two touchdown receptions.
UNC LEADS LEAGUE IN FEWEST PENALTY YARDS
Carolina is first in the league in penalty yards per game. UNC has been penalized 24 times for 192 yards, an average of 38.4 yards per game. Last season, Carolina was fifth in the league with 48.7 penalty yards per game.
UNC-NC STATE NOTES
• The Carolina-NC State series is the fourth-most played series in ACC history. Carolina is part of four of the five most played series in ACC history. Carolina and Virginia have met 109 times, followed by UNC vs. Wake Forest with 100 meetings, NC State vs. Wake Forest 97 times, Carolina vs. NC State 93 times and Carolina vs. Duke 89 times.
• The team that has held the rushing advantage has won each of the last 12 meetings.
• Carolina has won eight of the last 11 meetings, but has dropped three of the last four, including last year's 47-34 loss in Raleigh.
• John Bunting is 1-2 against the Wolfpack as a coach, including a 17-9 win in Raleigh in 2001. He was 2-1 against NC State as a linebacker at UNC, winning in 1970 and 1971 and losing in 1969.
• Carolina is 32-16-2 against NC State in Chapel Hill and 25-15-1 at Kenan Stadium. Carolina's has lost two straight at home in the series and its last win over the Wolfpack at Kenan Stadium was a 52-20 victory in 1996.
• Carolina held NC State to just nine points in the 2001 season. NC State has been held under 10 points just twice in the Chuck Amato era – against Carolina in 2001 and Virginia (9 points) in 2002.
• Both head coaches in this game are alums of their respective schools. UNC head coach John Bunting played linebacker at North Carolina from 1969-72 and was 2-1 against the Wolfpack as a player. Also a former linebacker, Chuck Amato lettered at NC State from 1965-68.
NC State News and Notes
NOTING THE PACK
BATTLE OF THE TRIANGLE
This season, with Duke no longer on NC State's schedule, the battle for the Triangle has become more of a straight line. However, the Wolfpack will face its oldest rival, as the NC State-UNC rivalry dates back to 1894, when the Wolfpack's season consisted of two games versus the Tar Heels (both UNC wins).
The squads played 12 games before NC State could put up a victory in 1920, following eight losses and four ties.
The Wolfpack's win in 2000 at Chapel Hill marked the squad's first victory over the Heels in eight games. After dropping the 2001 contest in Raleigh, State won in Kenan Stadium once again in 2002, the first time the Pack had won back-to-back road games against Carolina since 1992 and 1990. Last season's 47-34 win in Raleigh marked the first time NC State had beaten the Tar Heels in Carter-Finley Stadium since 1991. A victory by the Wolfpack would give the squad three consecutive wins over UNC since 1990, 1991 and 1992.
Seventeen players on this week's two-deep chart hail from the state of North Carolina, and although the Wolfpack has become known for recruiting in the Sunshine State, the majority of the team still calls North Carolina home.
On the preseason roster, 61 players hailed from the Tar Heel state, more than double the amount from any other state.
RUNNING GAME CRUCIAL AGAINST UNC
Rushing the ball has proven to be the deciding factor in NC State's games against North Carolina under Chuck Amato. In the Wolfpack's three wins, the team has averaged 207 yards on the ground. In the loss three years ago, the Wolfpack could only muster 52 rushing yards. NC State's 258 yards rushing versus North Carolina in 2002 ranks as the highest for NC State in the Pack's last 67 games (dating back to the last game of the 1998 season).
Junior tailback T.A. McLendon did not play last season against the Tar Heels due to injury, but as a rookie he averaged 7.5 yards per carry (22-164), the second-best mark of his career (his best was 11.5 mark last year vs. Texas Tech).
THE STATE TITLE
The informal "state" championship in North Carolina will take a different tone this season, as NC State and Duke do not play and the Wolfpack does take on East Carolina. However, since Chuck Amato took over as head coach for the 2000 season, NC State has posted the state's best record against in-state Division I schools.
The Wolfpack has gone 11-2 against Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest (State has not faced East Carolina yet under Amato), an .846 winning percentage. The Demon Deacons have posted a 13-8 mark against in-state competition for a .619 mark.
NATION'S TOP PASS DEFENDERS
NC State's defense was much-criticized last season, as the Wolfpack finished the season ranked 116th nationally in pass defense, allowing over 284 yards per game. In the total defense column, State ranked 89th nationally, giving up 421 yards per game. This season, however, new coordinator Reggie Herring has his unit sitting near the top of the national standings in total defense and pass defense, as the Pack is allowing just 193.8 total yards (half a yard out of the national lead) and 92.2 aerial yards per game to lead the nation. The Wolfpack has held all four of its opponents under 300 yards of total offense this season, and held the first three under 200 yards. Those three tallies under 200 yards marked the first time since 1965 that NC State has allowed such low totals in three consecutive contests.
WOLFPACK BREAKS INTO TOP 25
NC State has inched into the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll this week at No. 25. It marks the first time the Pack has been in the polls since the third game of last season, when NC State was ranked 24th by AP and 22nd by ESPN heading into the loss to Ohio State.
Five ACC teams are in the coaches top-25, including three in the top 10.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN THE TAR HEELS HAVE THE BALL
North Carolina has a potent offense that features weapons at every position. Look for them to try and establish a running game early. A running game will keep their porous defense off the field and allow the Tar Heels to burn some clock.
If they can't get the ground game working, Durant's not afraid to test NC State's secondary. They feature solid receivers such as Pollack, Adarius Bownman, Jesse Holley, and Mike Mason. NC State's going to apply pressure from all angles, so there will be chances for the Tar Heels to go deep against man coverage.
The key for UNC's offense (and any team that faces NC State) will be the play of their offensive line. An experienced unit, the Heel's offensive line played well against FSU, and they must do the same against NC State. If the Wolfpack's defensive front can generate pressure, it may be a long day for UNC's offense.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN THE WOLFPACK HAS THE BALL
It all starts on the ground this year and that means plenty of carries for #44. T.A.'s going to get his carries and should be able to break a few huge runs against a UNC defense that has surrounded a ton of yards on the ground. When McLendon gets tired, NC State will come at UNC's defense with freshmen studs Bobby Washington and Darrell Blackman. The ground game will be a key for NC State.
Jay Davis needs to have another strong game. UNC will likely stack the box against the run, so play-action will be open and NC State's playmakers must make the plays they made against Wake Forest. Guys like T.J. Williams, Tramain Hall, and Sterling Hicks must come up big in the passing game.
VALUE THE FOOTBALL. NC State has to minimize turnovers and not put the defense into bad field position. They struggled with this in previous games, so look for it to be a priority on Saturday. Turnovers could give the Tar Heels momentum much like it did in their victory against Georgia Tech.
NC State's Jay Davis vs. UNC's Darian Durant: Jay Davis has been scrutinized, but he's actually having a solid season when you step back and compare him to other quarterbacks across the ACC. He's 6th in passing efficiency, ahead of other quarterbacks like Durant, Reggie Ball, Charlie Whitehurst, and Bryan Randall. He's 3rd in completion percentage, and tied for 5th in touchdown/interception ratio.
Durant has had an "average" season based on his career numbers, but what better game for him to step up than against the rival Wolfpack? The winner at the quarterback position could decide this game, and both quarterbacks will look to minimize turnovers while leading their teams into the end zone.
#25 Ronnie McGill (Jim Hawkins/IC)
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Thanks to NC State and North Carolina Athletics for much of the information in this preview.