NC State (5-5) vs. Maryland (5-5)
Saturday, November 26, 2005
12:00 pm Carter-Finley Stadium (57,500)
Geron James, WR - shoulder injury
John McCargo, DT - foot surgery
John Ritcher, TE - knee
NC State Game Notes
NOTING THE PACK
NC STATE VERSUS MARYLAND
The series with Maryland dates back to 1909, with the two teams meeting every year since 1956. The Wolfpack enters this year's game with a slight edge in the overall series, 29-28-4.
Before winning last year's game in College Park, the Wolfpack had lost the previous four meetings. Prior to the 2000 loss, NC State had won four straight and eight of nine from 1991 until 1999.
NC State has lost the last two games against the Terps played in Raleigh. No. 10 Maryland won 23-19 in 2001 and the Terrapins won 26-24 in 2003.
BOWL ELIGIBILITY ON LINE FOR 5-5
A win over Maryland would give the Wolfpack a 6-5 record and a shot at a bowl game. NC State advanced to a postseason bowl each of Chuck Amato's first four years with the program before finishing 5-6 last season.
PACK AND TERPS PLAY IT CLOSE
The last five contests between NC State and Maryland (four of which the Wolfpack has lost) have all gone down to the wire, with the average margin of victory being just 5.2 points. NC State's 10-point win last season was the largest margin in the last five games.
In 2000, the teams went into double-overtime in College Park before State fell, 28-35. In 2001, the Terrapins scored with under a minute remaining to win 23-19 and in 2002, Maryland kicked a field goal with 34 seconds remaining to take their first and final lead: 24-21. In 2003, after missing an extra point to tie the game for Maryland, the Terrapin placekicker booted a 43-yard field goal with just 23 seconds remaining to give his squad a 26-24 victory.
Last season, the Wolfpack won by 10, dominating the Terrapins defensively - allowing just five first downs, 24 yards passing and 91 yards of total offense.
NC STATE STARTS STRONG VERSUS
In each of its last five games against Maryland, NC State has gone into the lockerroom with a halftime lead. State led 21-6 in 2000, 9-3 in 2001, 14- 7 in 2002, 14-10 in 2003 and 10-0 last season. However, NC State won just one of those contests.
NC State has lost just six games during Chuck Amato's tenure when leading at the half and four of those losses have been against Maryland.
In Chuck Amato's first season as head coach at NC State (2000), his team's motto was one word: FINISH. Although the motto has changed each of the next five seasons, that first one is still emblazoned across the tower on NC State's practice field.
FINISH is just what the Pack is hoping to do in 2005. After starting out the season with a 2-4 record, State has won three of the past four games and could finish with a winning record with a victory over Maryland.
The last time NC State started the season 2-4 and had a .500 record (5-5) after 10 games was in 1966, when the squad finished at 5-5. The last time NC State started a season 2-4 and finished with a winning record was in 1965, when the team finished 6-4.
PACK SENIORS TO PLAY IN LAST
Twenty seniors will play their last game in Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday, including 12 who have been starters at some point in their careers.
CLARK COULD SET SCHOOL
Heading into the final game of the 2005 season, senior wide receiver Brian Clark boasts a 22.7 yard average on his 20 catches. The current Wolfpack single-season record is 21.89 yards, set by Pat Kenney in 1972, when he had 38 catches for 832 yards. Clark's 454 yards this season leads the Wolfpack, while his 20 catches is the third-highest tally.
Against Boston College, Clark was the recipient of the second-longest pass play in school history, when he scored on a 96-yarder from Marcus Stone.
WILLIAMS IS BIGGEST LOSER
With his three tackles for loss in the win over Middle Tennessee State, junior defensive end Mario Williams now posts more tackles for loss than any player in Wolfpack history. His tally of 46.5 moved him past Carl Reeves for the record, as Reeves had 45 from 1991-94. Williams ranks fourth in school history in career sacks with 20.
With 19 tackles for loss this season, Williams ranks fourth on the singleseason list (Manny Lawson has 19.5 in 2005), while his nine sacks this season tied with Lawson as the fourth-best single-season mark in school history.
THE STONE AGE
Redshirt sophomore Marcus Stone became just the fourth new starting quarterback for NC State in 111 games (since the 1996 season) when he got the nod against Southern Miss. He has now started the last four outings, posting a 3-1 record. Jamie Barnette started 42 straight games for NC State beginning on Oct. 12, 1996 and continuing through the 1999 season. Philip Rivers came in and started an NCAA record 51 contests in his career (2000-2003). Jay Davis started every game of the 2004 campaign and the first six of 2005.
PACK GOES DEEP
The Wolfpack's lone touchdown in the loss at Boston College was at least a memorable one. In the Pack's second series of the game, with NC State on their own four-yardline, Marcus Stone went deep, connecting with Brian Clark at the BC 49, who then streaked to the endzone for a 96-yard touchdown.
That play was the second-longest pass play in school history, the longest since Bruce Shaw threw a 98-yarder to Pat Kenny against Penn State in 1972. The play tied as the ninth-longest overall play in school history. Fifteen percent (24 passes of 162) of the Wolfpack's completions have been for 20+yards this season (13 by Jay Davis and 11 by Marcus Stone).
RUSHING GAME IS KEY TO VICTORY
One thing that all five of the Wolfpack's victories have in common this season have been the squad's ability to rush the football. NC State has averaged 178.2 rushing yards in its five victories, just 71.2 in its five losses.
Rookie runner Andre Brown has rushed for an average of 133 yards in the last four games (and that mark includes a 12-yard performance in the loss to Boston College).
Maryland Game Notes
Location: College Park, Md.
School Colors: Red, White, Black & Gold
Stadium: Byrd (51,500)
Head Coach: Ralph Friedgen
Record at UMD: 36-14 (4 years)
2004 Record: 5-6 (3-5)
2004 Bowl: None
2005 Record: 5-5 (3-4)
Starters Returning: 11 (7 offense, 5 defense)
2005 AP Ranking: None
A WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE
SENIORS BID FAREWELL
A total of 13 seniors are playing the final regular season game of their careers as Terps this weekend against NC State.
JACKSON SECOND IN NCAA
D'Qwell Jackson was considered undersized as a prep. He began his career playing in the shadows of a legend (E.J. Henderson) early in his career. Now playing his final regular season game at Maryland, team's emotional leader has been through just about everything and has emerged as the unquestionable star of the Maryland defense, a major awards and All-America candidate, and one of the top defensive players at any position in the country.
Head Football Coach Ralph FriedgenOn the upcoming game at N.C. State:
The team is in good spirits. They're focused on winning this game [at N.C. State]. We're playing hard enough to win games. I'm proud of our effort. It's our mistakes that are killing us right now, so we need to get better. I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Sam Hollenbach, and I know that he'll do everything in his power to improve.
On Sam's Hollenbach's practice:
He had a good grasp of the gameplan. He's throwing indoors, and it's hard to judge how well a guy is throwing when you're inside. I just have a lot of faith in Sam. We all have good and bad days.
On practice Thursday:
We've played the last four years on the weekend after Thanksgiving. It makes it very hard on our coaches, because we're cramming five days of preparation into about three and a half. Usually a lot of our out-of-state kids go home with our in-state kids. Thursday's practice will just be with the traveling team.
On team morale:
There's a source of frustration. I wouldn't say that we're discouraged, though. I'm pleased with how we're working. I think we're optimistic – that shows from our effort. We're playing hard enough to win. We just have to take advantage of the opportunities and we haven't been doing that.
On positives from Boston College:
I thought our defense and our special teams played very well, and we moved the ball on offense. We just can't turn the ball over, that's all.
On the importance of Saturday's game:
Obviously it's an important game. This team is very deserving of a winning record. We've been in almost every game we've played. We just have to close things out and not beat ourselves. N.C. State's defense is excellent, and they have a lot of speed on offense. They have an inexperienced quarterback, but we've been down that road. The situations are very parallel. We seem to win more on the road than we do at home, so who knows.
On his feelings on the team:
Whether we win or lose on Saturday, I'm going to have the same feeling about this team. I've been pleased with how they've worked. I think they deserve to win Saturday, but win or lose I appreciate their effort for the whole year, and that's not going to change.
On hopes for a bowl:
I'm hoping that they'll look at our past history. I hope they look at how we played against Florida State and Virginia Tech and Boston College.
On the last game at N.C. State:
I remember watching the game over the summer. I knew the result and I was wondering how the heck we won the game. I showed the last quarter to our team just to show them that you never really know. It was one of the most memorable wins we've had in my career, not just at Maryland. When NC State and Maryland get together, it's usually a pretty good football game.
I don't want him to lose his aggressiveness. I want him to build on his confidence, because I have confidence in him. If I didn't, he wouldn't be the quarterback. We all have good and bad days. He'll be fine.
On fifth year senior Ryan McDonald:
We weren't expecting him to be back this year. He'd graduated, but we called him and asked if he was interested in coming back for a fifth year at school. He decided to come back and he's played very well. He's a solid kid and I'm indebted to him for what he's done this year for our program.
On the importance of staying in the bowl cycle:
I like it for our players, because they put so much work into this season. Getting to a bowl was one of the major goals that they had. As far as the program is concerned, it continues our momentum, but if we don't get it, it's not going to stop altogether. We have a young team and they're still going to be good.
On Hollenbach's decision making:
Early on we were reading the right reads and the ball was going to the right place. Even though Vernon [Davis] is having such a spectacular year and it's only human nature to want to get him the ball, you still have to play within the system. The other team knows about Vernon, too. We have to get back to basics and read the coverage. We have to put him in the position to make the right decisions rather than just hang on Vernon.
On staying positive after the Senior Day loss:
You all know how hard I take a loss, but when I look at the film and see guys fighting as hard as they can fight, I don't feel as bad about a loss after watching that. I thought our offensive line improved, actually. Brandon Nixon showed improvement blocking against an All-American. They're doing all they can do. We're getting better. Defensively I was getting concerned early, but after that first drive, they didn't run the ball well. The Boston College line is probably the best offensive line we'll play all year. They only got 14 points against our defense. That's what keeps me so positive.
Maryland Two-Deep Depth Chart
WR(x) 83 Derrick Fenner 6-0 193 Sr.-3V
11 Drew Weatherly 6-4 210 Jr.-2V
LT 78 Jared Gaither 6-9 330 Fr.-HS
73 Scott Burley 6-6 316 So.-1V
LG 69 Donnie Woods 6-3 291 So.-1V
76 Jaimie Thomas 6-4 327 Fr.-RS
C 68(d) Ryan McDonald 6-2 275 Sr.-1V
60 Edwin Williams 6-2 317 Fr.-RS
RG 63 Andrew Crummey 6-5 294 So.-1V
76 Jaimie Thomas 6-4 327 Fr.-RS
RT 58 Brandon Nixon 6-6 314 So.-1V
75 Dane Randolph 6-5 274 Fr.-RS
TE 18 Vernon Davis 6-3 253 Jr.-2V
84 Derek Miller 6-7 275 Sr.-3V
13(d) Dan Gronkowski 6-6 262 Fr.-RS
80 Joey Haynos 6-8 260 So.-1V
QB 14 Sam Hollenbach 6-5 218 Jr.-1V
or16 Joel Statham 6-2 219 Jr.-2V
TB 44 Lance Ball 5-9 225 So.-SQ
8 Mario Merrills 5-10 203 Sr.-3V
21 Keon Lattimore 6-0 235 So.-1V
FB 32 Tim Cesa 6-1 243 So.-1V
43 Matt Deese 5-11 253 Fr.-RS
WR(z) 9 Jo Jo Walker 5-9 169 Sr.-3V
85 Danny Melendez 6-2 179 Sr.-3V
Slot 9 Jo Jo Walker 5-9 169 Sr.-3V
17(d) Danny Oquendo 6-3 175 Fr.-HS
81 Paschal Abiamiri 6-2 194 Jr.-1V
H 15 Jason Goode 6-3 231 So.-1V
DE 40 Jeremy Navarre 6-4 250 Fr.-HS
91 Mack Frost 6-5 264 Fr.-RS
98 Omarr Savage 6-5 262 So.-1V
NT 95 Conrad Bolston 6-3 285 Jr.-2V
68(d) Carlos Feliciano 6-7 276 So.-1V
DT 92 Dre Moore 6-4 298 So.-1V
67 Jack Griffin 6-7 276 So.-1V
97 Dennis Marsh 6-4 290 Fr.-RS
DE(LEO) 55 Trey Covington 6-3 241 Fr.-RS
50 Jermaine Lemons 6-3 250 So.-SQ
5 Ricardo Dickerson 6-1 247 Sr.-3V
MLB 52 D'Qwell Jackson 6-1 231 Sr.-3V
35 Wesley Jefferson 6-2 236 So.-1V
42 Chase Bullock 6-3 237 Fr.-RS
WLB 48 William Kershaw 6-3 232 Sr.-3V
35 Wesley Jefferson 6-2 236 So.-1V
SLB 54 David Holloway 6-2 220 Jr.-1V
34 Dave Philistin 6-2 218 Fr.-HS
CB(F) 38 Gerrick McPhearson 5-10 194 Sr.-2V
2 Kevin Barnes 6-1 179 Fr.-RS
SS 27 Milton Harris 5-11 195 Sr.-1V
12 Marcus Wimbush 5-11 205 So.-1V
FS 3 Christian Varner 5-11 195 So.-1V
30 J.J. Justice 6-2 217 So.-1V
29(d) Jeff Allen 6-1 190 Fr.-HS
CB(B) 4 Josh Wilson 5-10 182 Jr.-2V
20 Isaiah Gardner 5-11 194 So.-RS
PK 22 Dan Ennis 5-11 154 Jr.-SQ
39 Obi Egekeze 6-3 205 Fr.-RS
KO 49 Chris Roberts 6-2 189 Fr.-TR
36 Adam Podlesh 6-0 192 Jr.-2V
P 36 Adam Podlesh 5-11 199 So.-1V
74 Derek Miller 6-7 275 Sr.-3V
PR 9 Jo Jo Walker 5-9 169 Sr.-3V
4 Josh Wilson 5-10 182 Jr.-2V
KR 9 Jo Jo Walker 5-9 169 Sr.-3V
18 Vernon Davis 6-3 253 Jr.-2V
Hold 36 Adam Podlesh 5-11 199 So.-1V
85 Danny Melendez 6-2 178 Jr.-2V
SS 53 Brendan McDermond 6-2 260 So.-SQ
31 Andrew Schmitt 6-1 226 Fr.-RS
LS 31 Andrew Schmitt 6-1 226 Fr.-RS
32 Tim Cesa 6-1 243 So.-1V
Key: PK - Place-Kicker (FG/PAT); KO - Kickoffs; PR - Punt Returns; KR - Kick Returns; H - Holder; LS - Long Snapper. (d) - Duplicate number; CB(F) - Field Cornerback;
CB(B) - Boundary Cornerback.
Hit up the Premium Chat: Not attending the game? Chat Live in the PackPride.com Premium Chat Room via the "Join Live Chat" Link. This service is available for premium subscribers and follow the game play-by-play with other Wolfpack fans!
Thanks to NC State and Maryland athletics for much of the information in this preview.