NC State (0-0) vs. Appalachian State (0-0)
Saturday, September 2, 2006
6:00 pm Carter-Finley Stadium
Appalachian State Links
Ernest Jones, LB -- knee
Luke Lathan, C -- concussion
Lamart Barrett, WR -- hamstring
Kyle Knox, OL -- ankle
William Mayfield, WR -- knee
Josh Johnson, WR -- ankle
NC State Game Notes
Noting the Pack
TAKING ON THE CHAMPS
When 2005 NCAA I-AA national champion Appalachian State comes to Carter-Finley Stadium on September 2, it will mark the ninth time that the Wolfpack has played a defending national champion.
In such previous matchups, all which were versus IA opposition, NC State has posted a record of 1-7, with the lone win coming in the 1991 season against Georgia Tech, after the Yellow Jackets won a share of the national titlein 1990. The last time NC State has faced off against a national champion was in2003, when the Pack traveled to Ohio State and fell 44-38 in a triple overtime affair.
The game against Appalachian State also marks only the second time inschool history that NC State has faced a defending national champion inthat team's next game. After Michigan State won a share of the national title in 1965, the Pack traveled to East Lansing for the first game of the 1966 season, falling 28-10.
NC STATE VERSUS APPALACHIAN STATE
The Wolfpack has played the Mountaineers of the Southern Conference five times. The Wolfpack opened the 1932 season with a 31-0 win over App. State in Raleigh, then played host to the squad in 1980, 1983, 1990 and 1992. NC State has shut out Appalachian State twice in the five times the squads have met, as the Pack also blanked the Mountaineers 56-0 in 1990. The 56-0 defeat of Appalachian State in 1990 marks the ninth-largest margin of victory for a Wolfpack squad in school history. However, eight of those high-scoring games came between 1904-1920.
The only other contest NC State had a larger victory margin after 1920 was a 67-0 defeat of Western Carolina also in 1990.
FORMER WOLFPACK CENTER LEADS APPALACHIAN STATE
NC State football has a huge presence at Appalachian State University. Former Wolfpack center Charlie Cobb, who lettered for Coach Dick Sheridan from 1987-89, is beginning his second year as the Mountaineers' Director of Athletics. Cobb, whose wife Lindsay was an All-ACC goalkeeper for the Wolfpack women's soccer team, served as Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Operations at NC State from 1998 - 2005.
BLACKMAN ON THE RETURN
THE WOLFPACK IN SEASON OPENERS
NC State has won eight of its last nine season openers, including five of six under head coach Chuck Amato. The five season-opening wins under Amato's seasons were by an average of 25.8 points and the loss to eighth-ranked Virginia Tech last season was by just four points. The Wolfpack took Arkansas State to double-overtime before winning 38-31 to open Amato's first season (2000), but trounced Indiana, 35-14, in 2001, beat New Mexico 34-14 in 2002, defeated Western Carolina, 59-20, to open the 2003 campaign and won over Richmond, 42-0 in 2004.
Most prognosticators expected Eugene to move to the defensive secondary when he arrived in Raleigh last fall. Eugene, however, wasn't deterred by the fact that there were two other highly-recruited running backs in front of him. Eugene asked to remain at running back and he's certainly turned heads in preseason camp. In the Wolfpack's second scrimmage, he gained 169 all-purpose yards.
PACK STRONG AGAINST NON-CONFERENCE OPPOSITION
NC State has posted a 14-1 home record against non-conference competition under Chuck Amato, with the only loss coming to ninth-ranked Ohio State in 2004. The Wolfpack posts a 23-3 overall record against non-conference opponents under Amato, also losing at third-ranked Ohio State and to Pittsburgh.
AMATO RANKS AMONG ACC LEADERS
After six years as the head coach of the Wolfpack, Chuck Amato has posted a 46-28 record. Those 46 wins rank fourth in ACC history for a coach in career wins after their sixth year.
Each season, the coaching staff comes up with a team motto that is announced at the beginning of fall camp. This season, the theme for the team is "TOGETHER: It's Up to Us." Amato says that this theme is testament to the closeness of his 2006 Wolfpack squad and the fact that there are no real individual superstars on the team - just players who are team-oriented.
DERANEY HAS IT DOWN PAT
Senior placekicker/punter John Deraney has handled all of the team's kicking duties each of the past two years, and has excelled at every area of the kicking game. He's averaged 40.9 yards on punts, the sixth-best mark in school history. Of his 51 career kickoffs, 49% (25) have resulted in touchbacks.
He's made 28 career field goals, the seventh-best mark in the school record books. But despite his fine performance in those categories, the area where Deraney has achieved perfection is on PATs. He has made all 62 of his extra point attempts at NC State to set a school record for consecutive PATs made. That tally also ranks as the most made in school history. Deraney has not missed a point-after since his junior season of high school. He's not sure how many he made at the end of that campaign, but he hit all 21 as a senior at Fayette County High School and how has hit 62 straight for the Wolfpack.
STAYING AT HOME
NC State will not be racking up any frequent flier miles early in the 2006 season. Besides a Sept. 16 jaunt down to Hattiesburg, Miss., to take on Southern Miss, the Wolfpack will not play outside of Carter-Finley Stadium again until October 21. The good news is that five of NC State's first six games will be played at home this season. The bad news is that that means that four of the last six will be played on the road.
The last time the Pack was fortunate enough to begin the season with so many home contests was in 1998, when NC State also played five of the first six at home in route to a 4-2 start. That same season was also the last time NC State opened its ACC schedule with three straight at home, as 2006 sees the Pack begin the conference slate with Boston College, Florida State and Wake Forest all visiting Carter-Finley before the Pack is forced to hit the road for an ACC affair. NC State has faired well playing at Carter-Finley early in the season under Amato, posting a 13-4 (.765) mark in home contests played in August or September.
This season marks the seventh straight that Amato will start the season at home. His teams have gone 5-1 in season openers, with the only loss coming to eighth-ranked Virginia Tech, 16-20, last season.
Junior signal caller Marcus Stone is off to one of the best starts as a starter in NC State history. Stone has gained victory in five of his first six careerstarts, tying as the second-best mark for a Wolfpack QB since 1970. Dave Buckey won his first six career starts from 1973-1974.
CLOSE AT HOME
Chuck Amato says that it is imperative that teams win their home games. His teams have posted a 26-13 slate at Carter-Finley Stadium in his six years with the program, a 12-12 home mark in ACC games. However, in eight of those 12 losses, the score was decided by single digits and and in five by seven points or less. The Wolfpack has lost just four conference games by double digits at home in the past six years. In 12 home ACC wins, six have been by double digits, and the other six have been by seven or less points.
LET'S BET ON IT
Instead the pair has a steak dinner riding on who tallies the highest number of knockdown blocks this season. Brown and Baker, who Coach Amato has compared to Hershel Walker and Earl Campbell respectively, both have the physical build to back up their bets. Baker, who has been lifting weights since he was in junior high school, boasts the team's third-highest bench press mark (450 pounds), while Brown's 415-pound mark ranks among the top 10 on the squad. Baker's 335-pound power clean mark in August was the best on the entire team.
WINNING IS A RUSH
One thing that all seven of the Wolfpack's victories have in common in 2005 was the squad's ability to rush the football. NC State averaged 162.4 rushing yards in its seven victories, just 71.2 in its five losses. With tailbacks Andre Brown and Toney Baker returning, along with talented redshirt freshman Jamelle Eugene and a revamped offensive line, NC State hopes to add to those numbers in 2006.
THE KILLER B'S
Last season, tailbacks Toney Baker, Andre Brown and Darrell Blackman combined for 2,676 all-purpose yards, a number that accounted for a whopping 53 percent of the team's total. That talented trio accounted for 95 percent of the Wolfpack's rushing yards (1,416 of 1,493) and 93 percent of the team's kickoff return yardage (805 of 864). This season, that number could go up, as Blackman will has moved to wide receiver.
For the past two seasons, NC State has ranked in the top 10 nationally in total defense. The Wolfpack led all NCAA Division I teams in 2004 with a 221.36 mark and ranked eighth last season at 298.67. With five starters from last year's squad now NFL draft picks, those rankings might be tough to repeat. The Wolfpack lost five of its top six tacklers from last season and it's top four sack leaders.
Rising senior Reggie Davis has been a key player at running back for the Wolfpack each of the past three years. As a true freshman in 2003, Davis unselfishly gave up a redshirt midway through the season when injuries had decimated the tailback unit, coming in and rushing for 84 yards in a seven-point win over Duke. With just one week left in 2006 spring drills, Davis, who had seen less time last season with the emergence of other young backs, decided to try his hand at linebacker - a position that lacks depth for 2006. The result? After just three practices at weakside linebacker, Davis emerged from spring drills listed as the starter heading into fall camp, a position he has maintained throughout the preseason.
Appalachian State Game Notes
Location: Boone, N.C.
School Colors: Black & Gold
Stadium: Kidd Brewer (16,650)
Head Coach: Jerry Moore
Record at ASU: 140-67 (18th year)
2005 Record: 12-3
2005 Postseason: D1-AA Champs
Starters Returning: 14 (7 offense, 7 defense)
2006 Preseason Ranking: No. 1 (I-AA)
Appalachian State Scouting Report
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Trey Elder, QB – Elder has been tapped as the successor to Williams, who holds every single-game, single-season and career record for quarterback at ASU. However, Elder gained great experience when Williams went down with an ankle injury early in last season's national semifi nal versus Furman. Elder completed 12-of-17 passes for 165 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions in relief down of Williams. He capped the impressive performance with a one-yard touchdown run that gave the Mountaineers a 29-23 win over the Paladins and a berth in the national title game. Elder, South Carolina's 2003 Mr. Football at nationally ranked Byrnes High School, is 2-0 as a collegiate starter, having led the Apps to a 41-34 victory over Texas State in 2004 and started the national title game versus UNI last December.
An explosive back, Richardson has big-play capabilities and regarded as one of the top backs in the country.
Matt Isenhour, OT – An all-american selection, Isenhour is regarded as the top blocker in the Southern Conference. A standout at right tackle, he helped paved the way for Richardson's huge season, and he led a line that allowed just 10 sacks in 15 games.
Marques Murrell, DE – Murrell just might be the top defensive player in 1-AA football, as he is coming off a season where he was one of just three players in ‘05 to rank in the top 10 nationally in sacks (13; t-9th), tackles for loss (26.5; 5th) and forced fumbles (7; 3rd). A big-time playmaker, Murrell was directly responsible for six ASU touchdowns in ‘05: ASU scored on first play after forced fumble at Eastern Kentucky, Another forced fumble at EKU is returned for TD, ASU scored on first play after forced fumble at The Citadel, Returned fumble 89 yards for TD at The Citadel (second-longest fumble return in SoCon history), ASU scored on first play after forced fumble in playoff opener versus Lafayette, Forced fumble that was scooped up and returned by Jason Hunter for game-winning touchdown in national championship game versus Northern Iowa.
Corey Lynch, S – The leader of Appalachian's defensive secondary, Lynch has 18 takeways in 28 career games. He has twice intercepted six passes in a season, and the hard hitter from Cape Coral, Fla. has also forced four fumbles in his young career.
Daniel Bettis, TE/DE – Bettis will be doing something just a few football players do across the country, as he will play both ways in 2006. A standout tight end, Bettis is also slated to start at defensive end for the Mountaineers. Bettis becomes ASU's first two-way player since former Mountaineer Cory Jones saw playing time at both fullback and defensive tackle in 2004. However, Jones was not a starter at either position.
Jeremy Wiggins, DB - Looking to become the first Mountaineer since Dexter Coakley to lead Appalachian in tackles three times, defensive back Jeremy Wiggins enters his senior season just 10 stops shy of entering ASU's career top 10. By leading the Apps in tackles as a freshman in 2003 (90) and as a junior last season (134), Wiggins can become the first Appalachian player to lead the team in tackles since Coakley did all four years of his brilliant career. Wiggins' 134 tackles last season were the 10th most in ASU history and the highest total ever for a Mountaineer defensive back.
TOUCHDOWN TIGHT END
Senior tight end Daniel Bettis is a virtual touchdown machine, as he has found the end zone on 13 of his 48 career receptions (27.1 percent).
Bettis' eight touchdown receptions in 2005 led the team and were tied for the most in the Southern Conference.
His eight TD catches in ‘05 were also an Appalachian single-season record for a tight end and tied for the fourth-most by any receiver in ASU single-season history.
O-LINE KEY TO SUCCESS
With four returning starters, six returners that saw signifi cant minutes a year ago and two all-Americans, the offensive line is the heart and soul of the ASU offense. Right tackle Matt Isenhour (all-American and winner of the 2005 Jacobs Blocking Trophy, given to the top offensive lineman in the Southern Conference), right guard Jeremy Robertson, center Scott Suttle (preseason all-conference) and right guard Kerry Brown (preseason all-American) return as starters for a unit that allowed only 10 sacks in 15 games last season.
The unit, which received signifi cant contributions from top reserves Kyle Knox and John Holt in 2005, also paved the way for running back Kevin Richardson to rush for 1,433 yards a season ago, the third-highest total in ASU history. How tight is the bond between the o-line and the Payton Award candidate running back that it blocks for? When the offensive line took its picture as a group on Appalachian's media day, it insisted on Richardson being a part of the shot.
Appalachian has placed at least one player on an all-America squad each of the last 20 seasons. In 17 of those seasons, including each of the last 10, the Mountaineers have produced at least one first-teamer.
In 2005, a school-record seven Apps garnered all-America accolades. Of those seven, fi ve (DE Marques Murrell, OT Matt Isenhour, DB Jeremy Wiggins, DB Corey Lynch and RB Kevin Richardson) return to the squad in ‘06.
BLACK AND GOLD EXPECTED
TO SWARM RALEIGH
Anticipation and expectations are at an all-time high for Appalachian football in 2006 and the interest in the season opener at NC State is certainly no exception.
Appalachian's entire allotment of 3,300 tickets to the game were sold out within 58 minutes of them being put on sale to the general public on August 1.
Additionally, a lottery system had to be established to ensure a fair distribution of tickets to the game for ASU students. Over 2,300 vouchers were distributed in four hours on Aug. 24 for the 375 tickets available to ASU students.
Appalachian has collected six wins versus I-A competition since the advent of the Division I-A/I-AA classifi cations in 1982, the most of any Southern Conference program. All six of ASU's I-A wins have come over local-rival Wake Forest, with five of those victories coming under the tutelage of head coach Jerry Moore.
Despite a record of 6-28-1 versus I-A opponents since the creation of Division I subclassifications, the Mountaineers have put a scare into a number of big-name programs in close losses. Most recently, Appalachian trailed just 14-0 heading into the fourth quarter of a 24-0 loss at No. 6 LSU last Nov. 5. The setback was even closer than the score might indicate, as the Mountaineers mis-handled what would have been a touchdown pass and missed a field goal on separate drive in the third period.
Other close calls versus I-A foes include a 22-15 loss at Auburn on Sept. 4, 1999, a 23-12 setback at Clemson on Sept. 6, 1997 and a 20- 13 defeat at South Carolina on Sept. 7, 1985. In fact, Appalachian held a lead in ninestraight contests versus I-A opponents, beginning with a 12-10 setback at Wake Forest on Sept. 10, 1994 and ending with a loss at nationally ranked Marshall in 2002.
Since Appalachian installed its no-huddle, pass-oriented offense before the 2004 season, big plays have become the norm for the Mountaineers.
ASU has gained 20-plus yards 131 times since the beginning of the 2004 season (7.4 percent of 1,782 total offensive plays). Last season, the Mountaineers racked up a season-high 10 plays of 20-plus yards in a 30-3 romp over No. 17 Coastal Carolina on Sept. 17.
THE NOT-SO-DIRTY DOZEN
Appalachian notched its 12th all-time conference championship when it secured the outright 2005 Southern Conference title. The Mountaineers won six North State Conference championships (1931, ‘37, ‘39, ‘48, ‘50 and ‘54) before suffering through a 32-year title drought, which included their first 14 seasons as members of the Southern Conference.
ASU finally ended the championship skid when it won its first SoCon title in 1986. In all, the Apps have earned six SoCon crowns (1986, ‘87, ‘91, ‘95, ‘99 and 2005) over the past 20 seasons, which is tied with Furman for the second-most during that span (Georgia Southern has won a league-best eight titles since ‘86).
2006 marks the 75th anniversary of Appalachian's first football title — the 1931 North State Conference championship — and the 20th anniversary of its first SoCon championship in 1986.
NC State Two-Deep Depth Chart
|2006 NC State Depth Chart|
Appalachian State Two-Deep Depth Chart
OFFENSE LEFT TACKLE 61 MARIO
ACITELLI (6-2, 255, Fr.) 71 Pat Mills (6-2, 245, Fr.) LEFT GUARD 76 KERRY BROWN
(6-6, 300, Jr.) 60 Brad Coley (6-4, 270, So.) CENTER 66 SCOTT SUTTLE
(6-0, 260, Jr.) 52 J.T. Holleman (6-0, 250, Sr.) RIGHT GUARD 70 JEREMY
ROBERTSON (6-3, 295, Sr.) 67 John Holt (6-2, 260, Jr.) RIGHT TACKLE 62 MATT
ISENHOUR (6-1, 275, Sr.) 72 Jonathan Bieschke (6-5, 285, So.) TIGHT END 80 DANIEL
BETTIS (6-3, 245, Sr.) 88 Nic Cardwell (6-1, 225, Jr.) WIDE RECEIVER 2 DEXTER
JACKSON (5-10, 170, Jr.) 7 James Hill (6-0, 160, So.) WIDE RECEIVER 3 HANS BATICHON
(6-0, 165, Jr.) 12 T.J. Courman (5-10, 190, So.) WIDE RECEIVER 9 WILLIAM
MAYFIELD (6-2, 220, Sr.) 19 Tavaris
Washington (5-10, 160, Fr.) or 34 Matt
Cline (5-11, 180, Fr.) QUARTERBACK 15 TREY ELDER
(6-1, 190, Jr.) 14 Armanti Edwards (6-0, 165, Fr.) RUNNING BACK 28 KEVIN
RICHARDSON (5-9, 190, Jr
61 MARIO ACITELLI (6-2, 255, Fr.)
71 Pat Mills (6-2, 245, Fr.)
76 KERRY BROWN (6-6, 300, Jr.)
60 Brad Coley (6-4, 270, So.)
66 SCOTT SUTTLE (6-0, 260, Jr.)
52 J.T. Holleman (6-0, 250, Sr.)
70 JEREMY ROBERTSON (6-3, 295, Sr.)
67 John Holt (6-2, 260, Jr.)
62 MATT ISENHOUR (6-1, 275, Sr.)
72 Jonathan Bieschke (6-5, 285, So.)
80 DANIEL BETTIS (6-3, 245, Sr.)
88 Nic Cardwell (6-1, 225, Jr.)
2 DEXTER JACKSON (5-10, 170, Jr.)
7 James Hill (6-0, 160, So.)
3 HANS BATICHON (6-0, 165, Jr.)
12 T.J. Courman (5-10, 190, So.)
9 WILLIAM MAYFIELD (6-2, 220, Sr.)
19 Tavaris Washington (5-10, 160, Fr.)
or 34 Matt Cline (5-11, 180, Fr.)
15 TREY ELDER (6-1, 190, Jr.)
14 Armanti Edwards (6-0, 165, Fr.)
28 KEVIN RICHARDSON (5-9, 190, Jr.)
30 Devon Moore (5-9, 190, Fr.)
or 43 Robert Welton (5-11, 205, Fr.)
44 MARQUES MURRELL (6-2, 245, Sr.)
45 Austin Guarino (6-2, 235, So.)
95 OMARR BYROM (6-2, 255, Sr.)
54 Tommy Sofi eld (6-1, 250, Sr.)
or 58 Daniel Finnerty (6-2, 250, Fr.)
90 DANIEL ORLEBAR (6-3, 295, Sr.)
98 Anthony Williams (6-1, 272, Fr.)
80 DANIEL BETTIS (6-3, 245, Sr.)
96 Gary Tharrington (6-1, 255, Fr.)
55 BRYON HEATH (5-11, 220, So.)
or 31 PIERRE BANKS (6-0, 210, Jr.)
27 CAM SPEER (6-0, 215, Jr.)
40 Jacque Roman (6-1, 240, Fr.)
38 MONTE SMITH (6-0, 215, Sr.)
13 Mike King (6-1, 212, Sr.)
8 JEREMY WIGGINS (5-9, 190, Sr.)
36 Titus Howard (5-11, 193, Jr.)
47 COREY LYNCH (6-0, 205, Jr.)
25 Billy Riddle (5-11, 190, Jr.)
18 JUSTIN WOAZEAH (5-10, 175, Jr.)
5 Cortez Gilbert (5-11, 175, Fr.)
or 21 Dominck Dingle (5-11, 185, Sr.)
6 JEROME TOUCHSTONE (5-7, 155, Jr.)
22 Leonard Love (5-10, 180, So.)
91 JULIAN RAUCH (5-11, 215, Jr.)
97 Neil Young (6-1, 205, So.)
97 NEIL YOUNG (6-1, 205, So.)
91 Julian Rauch (5-11, 215, Jr.)
2 DEXTER JACKSON (5-10, 170, Jr.)
7 James Hill (6-0, 160, So.)
2 DEXTER JACKSON (5-10, 175, Jr..)
7 JAMES HILL (6-0, 160, S0.)
59 RUSSELL WILSON (5-11, 230, Jr.)
10 HUNTER STEWART (6-0, 185, Sr.)
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Thanks to NC State and Appalachian State Athletics for much of the information in this preview.