Gameday: NC State vs. Southern Miss

NC State (1-1) hits the road for the first time this season looking to win a huge nonconference game against Southern Miss (1-1). Gametime is set for 7:00, and the game is not televised.

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M.M. Roberts Stadium

NC State (1-1) vs. Southern Miss (1-1)
Saturday, September 16, 2006
7:00 pm M.M. Roberts Stadium
Hattiesburg, Miss.

Southern Miss Links

Southern Miss Official Site


2005 Statistics

Game Notes

Injury Report

Luke Lathan, C
-- concussion
A.J. Davis, DB -- hamstring strain


NC State Notebook


  • The Wolfpack posts a 4-1 record against non-conference foes on the road under Chuck Amato.
  • Andre Brown rushed for 248 yards last season against Southern Miss, a freshman record and the second best total in school history.
  • Quarterback Marcus Stone's first career start was last season against the Eagles.
  • Senior punter/placekicker John Deraney is on the preseason 'watch' list for the Lou Groza Award, while senior center/guard Leroy Harris is on the list for the Rimington Trophy and Toney Baker and Andre Brown are on the Doak Walker Award watch list.

    Quarterback Marcus Stone's passing performances in the first half versus the second half have been high publicized, but his play late against Akron was even more impressive. Stone completed 11-of-15 passes in the second half for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

    Marcus Stone
    He finished with career-highs of 16 completions and 31 attempts and tied a career-best with two touchdowns. His 209 yards were the second-highest total of his career behind 247 yards in the loss at Boston College last season.

    Stone has now thrown a touchdown pass in nine of his last 11 games dating back to last season. He truly shined in the fourth quarter vs. Akron, going 9-of-10 for 135 yards and both of his touchdown tosses. His last completion came on fourth down for an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jamelle Eugene with just over a minute remaining that gave NC State a 17-14 lead.

    In the eight games that Stone has started in his career, he has completed just 36% (25-of-70) of his passes in the first half and 59% (57-of-96) in the second half.

    Coming in to this season, senior middle linebacker Pat Lowery had made just three starts while playing in all 36 games, averaging just 2.8 tackles-per-game.

    After the first two games this season, Lowery is averaging 10.5 tackles-per-game, tops in the ACC. That mark also ranks 23rd in the NCAA. His previous season-high in tackles was 39 the last two seasons and Lowery already has 21 after two games.

    NC State and Southern Miss have met nine times on the gridiron, but had never played a game on NC State's home field until last season.

    Chuck Amato
    This week's trip to Hattiesburg will mark the first time since 1963 that the Wolfpack has played on the Eagles' home turf. That was the last time that NC State played a game in the state of Mississippi.

    Six of the nine games between the two teams have been played at neutral sites, as the squads played in Mobile, Ala., in 1958, 1961 and 1962, met in Norfolk, Va., in 1959 and 1966 and in the All-American Bowl in Birmingham in 1990.

    Chuck Amato has now coached and played against the Eagles, losing the 1966 game to the Eagles, 6-7, during his junior campaign and winning as a coach (21-17 last season).

    The NC State defense is allowing 257 yards a game, fifth in the ACC and 27th overall in the NCAA. Though stingy overall, the third quarter has been thoroughly dominated by the Pack defense, holding the first two opponents to negative yards combined in the quarter.

    Appalachian State managed 98 yards in the first half but ran 10 plays and lost five total yards in the third quarter of the Pack's win. In the loss to Akron, the Zips had 223 yards in the first half before running 14 second half plays for a net loss of four yards.


    Andre Brown
    Two of the Wolfpack's offensive stars that sparked the late season surge used the 2005 Southern Miss game as their coming out party.

    Andre Brown got his career off the ground with a breakout performance against Southern Miss last season, rushing for 248 yards, a Wolfpack freshman record and the second most in school history. His 279 all-purpose yards is the highest total ever in Carter-Finley Stadium history.

    Marcus Stone made his first career-start against the Eagles en route to posting a 5-1 mark in 2005 as a starter and leading NC State to the Meineke Car Care Bowl win over South Florida. Stone was 10-of-26 for 126 yards with one touchdown and two picks in the win over Southern Miss.

    NC State will not be racking up any frequent flier miles early in the 2006 season. Besides this week's 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, (NC State's 2006 conference slate opens 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 14-5 (.739) mark in home contests played in August or September. This season marked the seventh straight that Amato opened the season at home.


    Three of the Wolfpack's NFL Draft picks, Mario Williams, Manny Lawson and Stephen Tulloch combined for 31.5 of the team's 41 sacks (77 percent) in 2005.

    After two games this season, NC State's defense has spread around the sack party and the team leads the ACC with eight. Seven different players have combined for the team's total, including a team-leading two sacks from defensive end Martrel Brown.

    NC State's eight sacks rank sixth in the NCAA this season.

    With 200 yards rushing for the team against Appalachian St., NC State is now 5-2 under Chuck Amato when reaching that mark. The Pack ran for 206 yards against the Mountaineers, the most team rushing yards since the win over Southern Miss last year (297).

    Chuck Amato preaches to his team that they must win the turnover battle each week. After two games, NC State has turned the ball over seven times, five more than it has forced.

    Darrell Blackman
    Appalachian St. and Akron both capitalized on the Wolfpack miscues by turning them into points. Seventeen of the 30 points the Wolfpack has given up have been after turning the ball over. ASU scored its touchdown in the first half after a fumbled punt gave them the ball in Wolfpack territory. The Mountaineers kicked a field goal in the third quarter after a fumbled snap gave them the ball at the 20-yard line. A Toney Baker fumble allowed ASU to start a drive at the Wolfpack 14-yard line in the second quarter, but Miguel Scott prevented a score by intercepting a pass.

    Akron continued what ASU started by scoring its first touchdown off of an Anthony Hill fumble at the Wolfpack's 25-yard line. Though not a fumble or an interception, the Zips did score on a 96 yard drive after NC State turned it over on downs when Stone's fourth down keeper was stopped short inside the five yard line.

    Akron's final touchdown as time expired was the only score against NC State's defense that wasn't off of a fumble, interception or turnover on downs this season.

    The big question going into the 2006 season was how the Pack was going to be able to fully utilize two of its most talented players when both played the same position.

    The solution: split 'em up! Sophomore tailbacks Andre Brown and Toney Baker both started the the first two games and should continue to do so throughout the 2006 campaign.

    Brown missed most of the Akron game after tweaking his knee in the first quarter.

    Much has been said about the three members of the 2005 Wolfpack defensive line being drafted in the first round by the NFL last April. Little has been said, however, about the players who are manning the defensive line this season.

    Demario Pressley

    NC State has ranked in the top 10 nationally in total defense each of the past two seasons - leading the nation in 2004 and finishing eighth last year.

    Two of the positions on this year's defensive line are filled with players who had a big impact on both of those strong national finishes. Senior tackle Tank Tyler started all 11 games in 2004, the year the Wolfpack led the nation. Last season, he was a starter in the last six games of the season (when State happened to post a 5-1 record).

    Sophomore tackle Demario Pressley started every game of 2005 and one game of his freshman campaign. The Greensboro native has slimmed down and is quicker off the line of scrimmage this season.

    The end spots are being held down with players without as much experience as first round draft picks Mario Williams and Manny Lawson, but their is greater depth there this season. Former tackle Martrel Brown, Ray Brooks (who didn't play last season), Littleton Wright and Willie Young are rotating in and out at end.

    The defense held the defending Division I-AA champions, Appalachian St., to just 133 yards of offense, the seventh best mark among Division I teams in the opening weekend. The defense is ranked 27th nationally in yards allowed through two games.

    The talented NC State backfield certainly lived up to its billing in the opener versus Appalachian State, with sophomore Doak Walker candidates Andre Brown and Toney Baker leading the way on the ground. The Wolfpack's sometimes-split backfield rushed for 206 yards in the contest, averaging 4.7 yards-per-carry.

    Brown posted the third 100-yard rushing game of his young career with 125 yards and a 43-yard touchdown scamper.

    Baker chipped in 43 yards on the ground and rumbled to a nine-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. Redshirt freshman Jamelle Eugene added thirty yards on the ground in his first collegiate action.

    Against Akron, Brown hurt his knee in the first quarter and didn't play the remainder of the game, while Baker added 58 rushing yards and 49 receiving yards. Eugene carried the ball just once, but caught a fourth quarter, 11-yard touchdown reception, his first career touchdown.

    The 2006 season opener featured a few key players in new positions. These players obviously handled the change well, as three were starters.

    Junior defensive end Martrel Brown got the start after spending his first two seasons at defensive tackle and came away with a forced fumble and two tackles for loss, including a sack.

    Reggie Davis
    He is currently tied for first in sacks in the ACC and third in fumbles forced after the first two games. Reggie Davis, the starter at weakside linebacker, spent his first three seasons in Raleigh as a tailback before making the change in spring drills earlier this year. He recorded two tackles in the Appalachian St. win, both for losses. He notched a quarterback pressure in the loss to Akron.

    Darrell Blackman moved from tailback to wide receiver in the spring and made the start at wideout in the first two games. Versus Appalachian St. he caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Stone in the second quarter, his second career touchdown reception. He was the Pack's leading receiver with three catches for 26 yards. Against Akron, Blackman caught a touchdown for the second straight game and currently fourth in the ACC for all-pupose yards, averaging 122 ypg.

    Matt Kushner redshirted as a freshman on the defensive line last year, but moved to tight end this fall. He earned his first career start against Akron as NC State opened in a two tight end set.

    In his first six seasons as the head coach of the Wolfpack, Chuck Amato posted a 46-28 record. Those 46 wins rank fourth in ACC history for a coach in career wins after their sixth year. Amato tied for fourth among all-time ACC coaches in wins after three years (25), tied for third after four years (34), and sixth after five years (39).

    He is also tied for third all-time in ACC history with four bowl game wins.

    Junior tight end Anthony Hill is trying to open his own pancake house.

    Anthony Hill
    The bruising blocker tallied six pancake blocks in the season opener against Appalachian State, paving the way for the Wolfpack's 206 yards rushing. Though Hill didn't record a knockdown against Akron, he set career-highs in receptions (7) and yards (82).

    Hill, who had 15 receptions for 140 yards last season, was a key to the resurgence of NC State's running game last season due to his powerful blocking.

    In the win at ninth-ranked Florida State, Hill was credited with eight knockdown blocks, but his position coach Curt Cignetti said that he actually had 14-15 KDs, knocking the same guy down 2-3 times on the same play.

    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 six of his first eight career starts, tying as the second-best mark for a Wolfpack QB since 1970. Dave Buckey won his first eight career starts from 1973-1974.

    Lou Groza candidate John Deraney, the versatile kicker/punter who has now handled all of the kicking duties for the third straight season, started the 2006 season off in top form.

    John Deraney
    He is one of just eight Division I players currently handling all their team's kicking duties.

    Of his eight kickoffs this season, five have been for touchbacks, giving him 90 in 189 (48%) career kickoffs.

    Eight of his 15 punts this season have been downed inside the 20-yard line.

    Deraney is 5-for-5 on extra points, extending his school record streak to 67 consecutive PAT attempts in his career.

    He currently ranks in the top 10 in school history in field goal percentage, PATs, PAT percentage, consecutive PATs, punts, punting yards and punting average.

    Southern Miss Scouting Report


    Southern Mississippi has always been known for having a solid defense. Playing them early provides coaches with an honest assessment of what might lie ahead when the bell sounds for conference play to begin.

    The Golden Eagles lost their top two tacklers from a year ago. Linebacker Kevis Coley and his twin brother Trevis Coley almost got an opportunity to play near home. The former Palatka (FL) High School stars combined for 259 stops, 13.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries.

    Front Seven
    USM returns only four starters along their front seven. Two of the returning starters are at defensive end and the others at linebacker. Bandit end Robert Henderson (6-3 280) is the leading returning tackler (47), tackles for loss leader (7.5), and he tied for the overall team lead in sacks last season with five. Henderson has good strength and size for a bandit end. He has pretty good speed and some quickness. He started seven games last season for Southern Miss.

    Playing opposite is redshirt senior Matt Chatelain (6-2 247) who doesn't possess the speed, quickness, or strength of Henderson, but has a motor that never stops. Chatelain started the entire season in '05 and saw significant action two years ago as a reserve.

    Inside the Golden Eagles will play noseguard Sean Merrill (6-3 294) and defensive tackle Martavious Prince (6-3 286). Merrill is a former LSU signee, who transferred to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where he earned defensive MVP honors in the conference. Merrill is an aggressive player who goes hard all day. Prince saw limited action last season. He plays the run well, but is not established as a pass rusher.

    Experience is at a minimum for the Golden Eagles at linebacker. Strongside linebacker James Denley (6-2 235) took over when current middle linebacker Gerald McRath suffered an injury in the Golden Eagles third game of the 2005 season. Denley continued to improve and won the job this spring. Denley is a solid, but unspectacular player.

    The Southern Miss coaches moved McRath from his strongside linebacker position to the Mike to fill the void left when Kevis Coley completed his eligibility. The redshirt freshman hasn't really had an opportunity to demonstrate his abilities other than on the practice field.

    Southern Miss will use a pair of players at the Will. Sophomore Tokumbo Abanikanda (6-0 213) is expected to provide playmaking abilities and athleticism for the Eagles. He saw limited action, but had his finest performance in the New Orleans Bowl. Meanwhile redshirt senior Wayne Hardy (6-0 235) returns as the second man off the bench after starting 12 games last season. The former fullback was the Golden Eagles fifth leading tackler in '05.

    Through two games, Denley paces the defense with 15 tackles and two tackles for a loss.

    Rover Brandon Sumrall (5-11 195) is the leader of the Southern Miss secondary and the team's defense. Sumrall finished behind the Coley twins on the tackles list, and the junior will be starting his third season as a starter in the Golden Eagles secondary. Sumrall has a tremendous combination of speed and is a punishing hitter. He is one of the best safeties in the country and is off to an outstanding start. Through two games, Sumrall has tallied 11 tackles, two sacks, three forced fumbles, and an interception.

    Starting alongside him in the backfield is junior LeVance Richmond (5-11 200). The former Lake Wales (Fla) product starred at Pearl River Community College where he helped them win the national championship, earned first team All-American honors, and led the nation with 13 interceptions two years ago. Richmond redshirted last season after transferring to Southern Miss.

    The Golden Eagles have a returning cornerback in senior Caleb Hendrix (5-10 185) who mans the boundary corner. The senior is a two year starter who possesses a lot of speed and quickness. Hendrix tied for the team lead with six breakups last season. Fellow senior Jasper Faulk has played extensively over the past three seasons. He has not tallied many starts, because he has struggled at times in coverage, lacking consistency. Faulk is dangerous when he makes plays though, and he has a lot of athleticism.


    Jeff Bower always has the USM ofense ready. USM is very good on the offensive side of the ball. Many of them have played a lot of football and they're always up for a contest against high-major teams.

    Offensive Line
    The Southern Miss offensive line returns largely intact with only sophomore right tackle Ryan McKee (6-6 286) as the newcomer among the starters. Right guard George Batiste (6-5 300) is the leader of the group. Batiste is easily the most physically dominating member of the squad. The senior was redshirted as a freshman and earned a starting position the following spring. In fact, he has started all 35 games of his collegiate career and did not allow a sack last season. Batiste is on the Outland Award List.

    Redshirt senior center Robbie D'Angelo (6-2 280) saw considerable action as a sophomore before taking over as a full-time starter last season in which he too didn't allow a sack. D'Angelo is on the Rimington Watch List.

    Left guard Travis Cooley (6-2 295) started nine games before injuring his patella tendon last season against Memphis. He sat out the entire spring, but has been cleared to play this fall. Cooley is also a redshirt senior who has started 26 games in his USM career. He allowed only one sack last season. Like Batiste and D'Angelo, he too was named to several pre-season all-conference teams. Left tackle Chris Clark (6-5 295) started all 12 games last season, after playing in 10 games the previous year. Clark allowed only 3.5 sacks in 2005.

    Skill Positions
    Southern Mississippi's quarterback derby didn't quite go as expected. Stephen Reaves (6-1 210) spent much of the spring still trying to return from a knee injury suffered while running the scout team last fall. Reaves limited mobility bolstered Jeremy Young's grip on the starting job.

    Jeremy Young

    He stamped his name atop the depth chart with a solid performance in the Golden Eagles spring game. Young (6-3 215) did nothing to lose his place since practice resumed in August.

    Young has played sparingly the past two seasons. He saw action in six games, including one start in 2004 and participated in only 30 plays last year. Young has completed 23 of 55 for 275 yards. He has not thrown a touchdown pass, while lofting two interceptions. He is most dangerous running the football.

    Young and Reaves have been solid but unspectacular through two games. Young has completed 18-of-34 passes for 235 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Reaves has completed 10-of-19 passes for 133 yards.

    The Golden Eagles return most of their skill position players. All three of their top receivers from one year ago return. Tight end Shawn Nelson, flanker Josh Barnes, and split end Anthony Perine combined for 98 receptions and 12 touchdowns, while accounting for nearly half (48.7%) of the Golden Eagles reception yards per game.

    Nelson is a big target who thrives making receptions over the middle. Barnes has the quickness and is the big playmaker. Perine is among the fastest on the squad and runs very disciplined routes. Senior Damion Carter has speed, quickness, and playmaking ability. However, he doesn't have much experience.

    As expected, Nelson is the leading receiver, as the tight end has seven catches for 104 yards. Carter has recorded four catches for 88 yards and both of the team's receiving touchdowns, and Fletcher has added four catches for 60 yards.

    The surprise on offense has been the emergence of true freshman Damion Fletcher (5-10 176). Fletcher is averaging 102.5 yards per game and has two touchdowns, and is electrifying with the ball in his hands. Larry Thomas, a part-time starter in 2005, is also back, and he is the top reserve.


    The most decorated player at Southern Mississippi is senior placekicker Darren McCaleb. The four year starter has already broken the school's all-time scoring record (255), single season (kicking) scoring record (107), and holds the school mark for career percentage at .827%.

    In 2005, McCaleb hit 23-of-28 (82.1%) field goal attempts. He was the nation's fourth ranked kicker with 1.92 attempts per game. As you might imagine, McCaleb has been named to a couple pre-season All-American teams and virtually every pre-season all conference first team.

    McCaleb does not kick from distance. However, he is automatic from inside forty yards. He missed field goals from 41, 44, 45, 48, and 50 yards last season. He hit 10-of-14 attempts from 40-49 yards. His long was 47 yards, but he has already topped that this season, drilling a 50-yard attempt.

    Punter Britt Barefoot has been outstanding. Barefoot, a sophomore, has several first-year duties including, punting, kickoffs, and holding for McCaleb. Barefoot played as a true freshman in 2004 when he kicked off 17 times in four games, but he redshirted last season. He is averaging 46.8 yards per punt with a long of 52 yards.

    Senior cornerback Jasper Faulk returns to handle the Golden Eagles punt return duties. He has returned one punt for 8 yards.

    Faulk will also assume the kickoff return duties with junior Brandon Sumrall. Sumrall is leading the team in kickoff returns, as he has gained 59 yards on four attempts.

    Southern Miss. Notebook

    Hattiesburg, Miss.
    Golden Eagles
    School Colors:
    Black & Gold
    M.M. Roberts (33,000)

    Head Coach:
    Jeff Bower
    Record at SMU:
    103-73-1 (16 years)
    2005 Record:
    2005 Bowl:
    New Orleans Bowl vs. Arkansas State (W, 31-19)
    Starters Returning:
    14 (8 offense, 6 defense)
    2006 Record:
    2006 AP Ranking:

    Bower In Elite Southern Miss Company
    Southern Miss' game against Florida was Jeff Bower's 177th game as head coach of the Golden Eagles. Only Thad "Pie" Vann had coached in at least 100 games for Southern Miss. In Bower's 177 games as a head coach, 36 of them have been against ranked teams and only seven of those games have been at home.

    Twelve of those 36 opponents have been in the top 10, and eight have been in the top five. In his 177 games, he is 103-73-1; only 70 of those have been at home, where he sports a 55-15 record, a 43-56-1 on the road and a 5-2 record at neutral sites.

    September's Record
    Under the direction of Jeff Bower, Southern Miss has posted a 30-21 record in the month of September, 19-4 at home, 11-13 on the road and 0-4 at neutral locations. Overall, the Golden Eagles are 107-81 in the month of September, 63- 13 at home, 34-50 on the road and 10-18 at neutral sites.

    2006 Coaching Staff
    The Southern Miss coaching staff for the 2006 season looks much like last season with one exception. Defensive Coordinator Jay Hopson returns to Southern Miss for his second season. He coached the defensive backs from 2001-03, before leaving a year for Ole Miss. After coaching the tight ends in 2003 and the running backs in 2004, Jay Johnson is in his second year as the offensive coordinator. Hopson will coach the middle linebacks and Johnson will coach the quarterbacks. Assistant Head Coach Randy Butler continues for his second season as the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator after coaching the defensive line for the previous nine years. Former Southern Miss standout running back Derrick Nix oversees running backs for the second straight year after coaching the tight ends in 2004. Courtney Messingham is in his second year as the wide receivers coach after a two-year stint as the head coach at Upper Iowa. Mitch Rodrigue once again will be back for his eighth season and third as the offensive line coach. Josh Eargle is in his first year as the offensive graduate assistant. Bill Wilt is the lone new coach on the staff and will supervise the defensive line. Former Golden Eagle defensive lineman Fred Tate is in his second year on the staff and moves to directing the outside linebackers. Lytrel Pollard continues the responsibility of coaching all the linebackers this year, remaning as the special teams coordinator. Keith Pigott is the defensive graduate assistant.

    All-Conference USA Golden Eagles
    Southern Miss placed 11 players on the all-conference teams in 2005, with five first-team selections. All-American Kevis Coley (LB) headline the list of firstteam selections. Also named to the first team were George Batiste (OL), Trevis Coley (DB), Luke Johnson (P) and John Eubanks (KR).

    The second team consisted of Travis Cooley (OL), Tom Johnson (DL), Brandon Sumrall (DB) and Darren McCaleb (PK), while Shawn Nelson (TE) earned third-team honors and made the all-freshman first team.

    Everyone's All-American
    For nine-straight years, Southern Miss has produced at least one All- American as four Golden Eagles received that honor in 2005. Shawn Nelson was named to the College Freshman All-American team, while also getting tabbed third team Freshman All-America by The Sporting News.

    Brandon Sumrall was named to's Sophomore All- American team. Kevis Coley, Darren McCaleb and Luke Johnson all made third team All-America by

    Conference Tradition
    Southern Miss is in its 15th year of conference football affiliation in this the program's 90th year. The Golden Eagles were members of the Gulf States Conference from 1948- 51 and have been a founding member of Conference USA in 1996. In the 14 years of conference affiliation, Southern Miss has won seven conference championships, three in the Gulf States Conference and four in CUSA. Southern Miss won the Gulf States Championship in 1948, 1950 and 1951 and Conference USA in 1996 (shared), 1997, 1999 and 2003.

    The Rock
    Under the direction of Jeff Bower, Southern Miss has posted a 55-15 record (.786) in home games at M. M. Roberts Stadium, also known as the "The Rock." Overall, the Golden Eagles are 107-35 (.754) in home games since the stadium was dedicated as M.M. Roberts Stadium on September 25, 1976.

    Top Crowds at The Rock
    The Southern Miss - Nebraska game in 2003 broke the single-game attendance record at The Rock when 36,152 fans attended the game. That mark broke the old record set in 2002, when 35,169 fans attended the Jackson State game. The previous largest crowd under Jeff Bower was 33,233 against Texas A&M on Sept. 19, 1998.

    Five Golden Eagles Earn Preseason All-Conference USA Honors
    Five Golden Eagles, senior offensive linemen George Batiste and Travis Cooley, senior defensive back Caleb Hendrix, senior kicker Darren McCaleb and sophomore tight end Shawn Nelson were all tabbed preseason All- Conference USA by the league's coaches. In addition, McCaleb was named the preseason Special Teams Player of the Year.

    All five players earn preseason recognition for the first time in their careers.

    Press Conference Quotables

    Jeff Bower
    Opening Statement
    "We played well in the game. We had a chance to play a lot of players, and that is always good. I thought we performed well. I thought our effort was good. I was very pleased with our wide receivers. That was the best effort I've seen them play with in a long time. That's the way you've got to approach and play every game at that position. I'm sure that some of the runs we broke, we had help downfield blocking, but we got after it blocking. It was much better. They can be better, but it was better than we've seen. Offensively, the major concern after two weeks is that we've turned it over too many times. We've got to protect the football. I thought we played well defensively. We played a lot of three down linemen, because of what they did. We felt that we had to take the pass away from them. We didn't think they could beat us running the ball. They did run the ball well at time, because we got out of our gaps and missed some tackles. I thought it was a good performance there. It was a good solid win for us, and a good opportunity to play a lot of players. Larry Thomas came in and ran the ball well. I saw a lot of good things, but I saw some things that we need to improve on and get better at."

    Players Of The Week:
    "On offense, it was Damion Carter. He played 20 snaps and graded 80 percent, catching three passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. He really gave us good effort. Defensively, it was Brandon Sumrall. He played 48 snaps and graded 81 percent. He made four tackles, forced two fumbles, a sack and a tackle for loss. He was very productive again. On special teams, it was Britt Barefoot. He had four kickoffs in the end zone and a punt for 51 yards. He did a good job."

    On Injuries:
    "We're pretty healthy. I think we're going to hold George Batiste out of practice today. He turned an ankle and he has some swelling. I'm hoping he'll be back at practice tomorrow. Other than that, we have a few minor injuries, but nothing that will keep anyone from practice."

    On N.C. State
    "They are a scary football team. They're athletic and talented. They are playing very well on defense. They're only giving up 257 yards per game. They are physical and athletic. It will be a physical game, I assure you of that. They are probably not feeling too good about themselves after the loss to Akron. We'll see a good football team coming in here with a lot of talent. They will make you prepare very hard this week in order to win. We've got to do some things better and play a physical game against them. I'm impressed with them. Their running back is a big time player. He's averaging 7.5 yards per carry. He got banged up in the last game and didn't play a lot. I don't know the extent of his injury, but he's very talented."

    On Mitch Craft's Return:
    "Yes, he is back. Right now, our plans are to start him. We're going to move Gerald McRath over to strong side. We will look at Craft and Jerome Lyons at the middle. Lyons has come on played pretty well. We'll look at both of those guys, and we've got McRath and James Denley at strong-side."

    On McRath's Move Back To Strong-Side:
    "He's better on the edge than he is in the middle."

    On Marcus Raines Moving To Defensive End:
    "We've been working him at defensive end. We worked him a lot there last week, and got him in the game for about 10 snaps there. He did some good things."

    On Any Other Moves:
    "That's pretty much it."

    On How Much Confidence Can Be Taken From Last Week's Game:
    "We did some things well in the game. Certainly, you gain some confidence. We out-manned them. That's not to down-grade them. They played hard and did some good things. They've got some good players. We knew we'd have to play well in the game. I guess I'll find out more this week. Now you're playing a team that's really talented, is very physical, can run and does good things on both sides of the ball. We needed to have a game like that to get a good feel about ourselves. This will be a real test this week."

    On Last Year's N.C. State Game:
    "We were in a position to win, but we didn't do it. If we don't tackle any better than we did last week and last year, their back will get as many yards as he did last year."

    On N.C. State Losing To Akron:
    "The thing you have to understand, N.C. State has played two good teams. Appalachian St., was the 1-AA Champion last year, and Akron won the MAC last year. Akron is a good football team. We played them last year, we know what kind of talent they have. There's a lot of respect for this group. They've got good coaches and they'll correct problems. I look at their ability and what they put on the field. They're impressive."

    On N.C. State Losing A Lot From Last Year's Defense:
    "They are still pretty darn good. Their two tackles are very good. They are a playing a lot of guys there. They are good on defense and good in the secondary. They're not giving up a lot in the secondary. In two games, opponents have completed 18-of-48 passes for 165 yards per game. That's not real good. They play a lot of man coverage in the secondary. This is a huge week for your receivers getting open and beating man coverage."

    On Mitch Craft Starting:
    "I don't want to jump the gun on that. I haven't talked to our coaches about that yet. I know he's back. We'll probably look at Jerome Lyons and Craft both this week and see how they practice."

    On How Jerome Lyons Did In The Middle:
    "He did pretty well."

    On If Gerald McRath Starts At Strong-Side:
    "I don't know. Gerald hasn't been healthy. He's not moving around like he's capable of. I think his hamstring is bothering him. We've got to get full speed."

    On Stephen Reaves And Playing Two Quarterbacks:
    "I don't have a plan for that. We were going to get Stephen Reaves into the game. I don't think anything is set in stone. We've got two guys that can play. Stephen did some good things and played well."

    On The Defensive Line:
    "They're playing ok. Martavius Prince is playing well. We've got to get the rest of them up a level."

    On If Playing Four Down Linemen Is Possible This Week:
    "I don't know. We're still looking at them. We'll do what we feel like we've got to do."

    On The N.C. State Game Plan:
    "We're still in the process of looking. You've got to play physical against them. They don't give up many points, and didn't last year. They're very good in the kicking game. Their kickoff returner is a preseason All-American. He's very good. They are very sound in the kicking game."

    On Kickoff And Punt Returns:
    "We've got be more productive with our return units, both punt and kickoff. We haven't been a lot of yards there. We need to make some things happen there. I don't think it's the returner. We're a little bit off. We only had one kickoff return. We did ok. We were close, but we've got to get 11 guys doing their job. On the punt return unit, we didn't have a lot of opportunity. I thought we should have blocked two, we had one partially blocked by Ivory Bradshaw. I think it ended up being the longest punt of the night. We had a block on earlier, and if we were ready to go, we would've blocked it. We were late. There's no excuse for that. We had a guy come through clean, but he was late. We've got to do some better things there. We've got to get more yards on our kickoff return and punt block and return units."

    On The Kickoff Coverage Unit:
    "We put Mam Nyang in there. That was his first week to start. He did a good job and caused a fumble."

    On If It Is Getting Harder To Schedule High Caliber Non-Conference Games In Hattiesburg:
    "I don't know who's coming in. We fell into the N.C. State game after they got bought out. That's how we got the home and home. I'm not sure what we've got coming up. This is a good football team. This is the type of game the fans wanted in Hattiesburg. Here they come. There are some good conference teams coming in here. We're going to always play a tough schedule."

    2006 NC State Depth Chart
    9Marcus Stone6-4/236Jr.*
    19Daniel Evans6-2/191So.*
    10Justin Burke6-2/195Fr.
    24 Andre Brown 6-0/232So.
    28 Jamelle Eugene 5-10/202Fr.*
    22 Toney Baker 5-10/228So.
    22 Toney Baker 5-10/228So.
    37 John Kane 5-9/239So.
    4 Pat Bedics 6-0/249Jr.*
    'X' Wide Receiver
    1John Dunlap6-2/210Jr.
    13 Lamart Barrett 6-1/190Sr.
    88 Geron James 6-4/185 Fr.*
    'Z' Wide Receiver
    2 Darrell Blackman 5-10/209Jr.
    80 Donald Bowens 6-3/195Fr.
    Tight End
    83 Anthony Hill 6-6/277Jr.
    89 Matt Kushner 6-4/241Fr.*
    Left Tackle
    78 James Newby6-5/295Sr.*
    61 Julian Williams 6-5/292Fr.*
    54 Merci Falaise 6-5/292Sr.*
    Left Guard
    64 Leroy Harris OR 6-3/300Sr.*
    69 Kalani Heppe6-3/300Jr.*
    66 Yomi Ojo6-4/320Jr.*
    72 Luke Lathan OR6-4/292Jr.*
    64 Leroy Harris 6-3/300Sr.*
    74 Andy Barbee6-3/290Fr.*
    Right Guard
    76 Curtis Crouch 6-5/344So.
    60 Meares Green6-4/295So.*
    61 Andrew Redfern 6-2/288So.*
    Right Tackle
    79 Jon Holt 6-6/296Sr.*
    60 Meares Green6-4/295So.*
    50 Jeraill McCuller6-7/342Fr.*

    Special Teams
    Place Kicker
    12John Deraney6-4/224Sr.*
    12John Deraney6-4/224Sr.*
    Long Snapper
    85William Lee6-2/235Sr.*
    19Daniel Evans6-2/191So.*
    Kick Returner
    2 Darrell Blackman 5-10/209Jr.
    24 Andre Brown 6-0/232So.
    Punt Returner
    2 Darrell Blackman 5-10/209Jr.
    Right Defensive End
    41 Martrel Brown 6-2/290Jr.*
    97 Willie Young 6-5/230Fr.*
    55 John Amanchukwu 6-4/283Sr.*
    Right Defensive Tackle
    92 DeMario Pressley 6-4/293Jr.
    49 Alan-Michael Cash 6-0/291Fr.*
    73 Gerard Miller 6-3/292So.*
    Left Defensive Tackle
    72 DeMarcus "Tank" Tyler 6-2/305Sr.
    91 Teddy Larsen 6-2/285Fr.*
    93 John Bedics 6-4/283So.*
    Left Defensive End
    33 Ray Brooks 6-3/285So.*
    98 Littleton Wright 6-6/244Jr.*
    11 Audi Augustin 6-2/250Fr.
    Weakside Linebacker
    20 Reggie Davis 6-0/246Sr.
    43 Ray Michel 6-0/224Fr.*
    45 John Ware 5-10/210Fr.
    Middle Linebacker
    42 Patrick Lowery 6-1/242Sr.*
    48 Avery Vogt 6-2/225Fr.*
    56 Nate Irving 6-3/210Fr.*
    Strongside Linebacker
    95 James Martin 6-1/236Jr.*
    52 LeRue Rumph 6-2/225Jr.*
    26 Cedric Hickman 6-3/230Fr.
    19 Garland Heath 6-2/225Sr.
    4 Javon Walker 6-0/195Fr.
    Right Corner
    8 Jimmie Sutton 5-11/181Jr.*
    24Phillip Holloman OR 5-11/194Jr.*
    30 Jeremy Gray 6-2/190So.*
    Free Safety
    25 Miguel Scott OR 6-0/203 Jr.
    7 DaJuan Morgan 6-2/207So.*
    14 J.C. Neal 6-0/191So.
    47 Scott Bradsher 6-0/182So.
    Left Corner
    3 A.J. Davis 5-10/191Sr.*
    6Levin Neal 5-10/191So.
    34Robbie Leonard 5-10/191So.*

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