A.J. FEELING A-OK
A.J. Davis was back in the lineup against Boston College after missing the last two contests and all but 11 plays of the opener with a hamstring injury.
Davis started the BC contest and quickly set the tone with an early pass breakup, one of two on the night for the cornerback. He was a key part of the Wolfpack defense that held Boston College's quarterback Matt Ryan to just 149 yards in the air after averaging nearly 300 yards in the first three games this season, tops in the ACC.
Davis was joined by Jeremy Gray (one PBU), and Jimmie Sutton (who recorded his first career interception) to help NC State clip the Eagles' passing attack.
NC STATE VERSUS FLORIDA STATE
NC State and Florida State have met 26 times on the gridiron, with the Seminoles holding a 18-8 advantage. The squads met from 1952-57, from 1963-69 and then resumed a yearly rivalry when Florida State joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1992.
NC State is one of only two ACC schools to post more than two victories over the Seminoles since they joined the conference and the only school to defeat them four times.
Chuck Amato holds a 3-3 mark against his former boss, Bobby Bowden, including a 2-1 mark at FSU. In Amato's first season in 2000, Bowden and his Noles got the upper hand with a 58-14 win. Amato answered in 2001 in a big way.
NC State became just the first ACC team to beat Florida State in Tallahassee since FSU joined the ACC with the 34-28 win in 2001, then followed that up with the 20-15 win in 2005 to become the only ACC team to defeat the Seminoles at their house twice.
Now the Seminoles return to Raleigh after escaping in 2004 with a seven point win in Carter-Finley Stadium, 17-10. Florida State last lost in Raleigh in 2002, 7-17. Since joining the ACC in 1992, the Seminoles have posted a 5-2 mark in Raleigh with the other loss coming in 1998 when FSU was ranked second in the country.
DUNLAP HEATING UP
Junior wideout John Dunlap has quickly emerged as the go-to receiver the last two ball games.
Dunlap has been a favorite target of quarterback Daniel Evans, as the two connected on the first touchdown of either's career with a 21-yard strike against Southern Miss. The duo have connected five times for 100 yards and two touchdowns since Evans got his first playing time at quarterback in the fourth quarter against USM.
OLD TEAM NOW RIVAL
To say that Wolfpack head coach Chuck Amato has strong ties to Florida State University would be putting it mildly. Amato spent 18 years coaching at FSU, and remains close with head coach Bobby Bowden and much of the Seminole staff. Both of his daughters, LuGina and Selena, are Florida State grads and Selena is married to Jarad Moon, a former center for FSU. Amato coached the Seminole defensive line (1982-95), coached linebackers there (1996-99), and was Bowden's assistant head coach from 1986-99. He coached on two national championship and eight ACC title teams at FSU.
Defensive line/Assistant Head Coach Todd Stroud started at noseguard for the Seminoles from 1983-85.
ROLL IN THE TANK
DeMarcus "Tank" Tyler had a monster game against Boston College with a career-high 13 tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble. Tyler, who didn't start the Boston College game after being ejected from the Southern Miss game, responded in a big way by dominating Boston College's offensive line in the win.
When Wolfpack linebackers Pat Lowery and Lerue Rumph combined to stop short-yardage specialist Brian Toal behind the line on fourth down late in the game before the final, game-winning drive, it was Tyler who perhaps saved the day. He got quick penetration at the snap and pushed the center back into Toal, who hesitated in the backfield to allow the linebackers to make the stop. After his impressive performance, espn2's Ron Franklin said Tyler "was a man among boys" on the field.
On the season, Tyler is second on the team with 34 stops and tied for first with six tackles for loss. His two sacks are tied for second on the team and he has pressured the quarterback three times.
AMATO VS. BOWDEN
Wolfpack head coach Chuck Amato is tied for first among ACC coaches for wins versus Florida State (while schools are members of the ACC). Amato has defeated the Seminoles three times in six tries, while Clemson's Tommy Bowden posts a 3-5 mark.
The Pack has won four of the last eight meetings with Florida State, three of the last five and took the ‘Noles into double overtime before falling in Tallahassee in 2003.
LAST TIME OUT VERSUS FLORIDA STATE
NC State defeated Florida State in Tallahassee for the second time in its third trip since 2001 to become the only ACC team to win in Tallahassee twice.
Brown scored on NC State's second play from scrimmage, a 65-yard touchdown that gave the Pack the early edge. With the game tied 10-10 at intermission, NC State got a 22-yard field goal from John Deraney and a four-yard touchdown reception from Anthony Hill to jump out to a 20-10 lead after three quarters.
A.J. Davis intercepted his second pass of the game in the fourth, and Garland Heath ended the final Seminoles drive with a pick of his own to seal the win.
WOLFPACK, SEMINOLES PLAY IT CLOSE
The last five games between NC State and Florida State have all been nail-biters. The largest margin in those four contests was the Wolfpack's 10-point victory (17-7) in Raleigh in 2002. The last five games, in which NC State has posted a 3-2 mark, have been decided by an average of just six points.
Last season's win over the ninth-ranked Seminoles came down to the last play of the game, when Garland Heath had to pick off a pass to seal a five point win. In 2004, FSU won 17-10 in a contest that saw just 16 combined first downs and 244 yards of total offense (for both teams!).
In 2003 at Tallahassee, it was an offensive shootout, with the 'Noles winning 50-44 in double-overtime.
The 2002 Wolfpack win was another defensive fight, while NC State's win in 2000 was a more offensive battle (34-28).
ANDRE BROWN FOR 1,000
In his first encounter with Florida State last season, sophomore Andre Brown scored on a 65-yard run on his first carry of the game and finished with 179 yards, the 14th best performance in school history.
He currently has 947 yards in 15 career games, an average of over 63 yards a contest. Brown had just 13 carries and 42 yards in his first five collegiate contests, but is averaging 16 carries a game and 90.5 yards on the ground in the last 10 games.
Brown has scored seven rushing touchdowns in his last 10 games and had just one, against Eastern Kentucky, in his first five games.
KEEPING IT DOWN
Since Florida State joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1992, the Seminoles lowest scoring total in a game has been seven points. Bobby Bowden's squad has been held to that total just three times in that time frame, and two of those low-scoring outputs have been at the hands of the Wolfpack. NC State held the 'Noles to seven points in 1998 and 2002 (while Florida did it in 2005).
EVANS DEBUT THRILLING
When redshirt sophomore Daniel Evans started against Boston College, he became the 21st starting quarterback for NC State since 1970 and just the 11th to win his first start under center.
Evans completed 15-of-31 passes for 179 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He was 3-for-4 for 72 yards on the final drive, throwing for completions of 18, 20 and 34 yards (for the winning score) on the last three plays of the game.
Evans was the fifth quarterback to throw for over 170 yards and at least one touchdown in his first collegiate start at NC State.
It was fitting that his first start came on Parent's Weekend at NC State, as Daniel's father, Johnny, is the color analyst for the Wolfpack Radio Network. Johnny was a former quarterback and All-America punter for NC State from 1974-77. The elder Evans made his first start at quarterback as a junior, 30 years and 19 days prior.
Chuck Amato preaches to his team that they must win the turnover battle each week. The Wolfpack is currently last in the ACC in turnover margin at -7, forcing four turnovers and losing a league-worst 11. NC State took care of the ball against Boston College, however, having just one turnover on a Daniel Evans interception on fourth down late in the game. It was the fewest turnovers for the Wolfpack in a game this season and the first time an opponent failed to score points directly off of a Pack turnover in a game.
Opponents have capitalized off of the Pack's miscues, scoring 27 points in four games. That accounts for 33% (27 of 82) of the total points allowed by NC State this season.
CUTTING IT CLOSE
Chuck Amato has now coached in 49 ACC contests since taking over the Wolfpack program in 2000, posting a 24-25 record in those contests.
His ACC record includes a 13-12 mark at home. The Wolfpack has lost just four conference games by double digits at home in the past six years. In 13 home ACC wins, six have been by double digits, and the other seven have been by seven or less points, including the two-point win over BC. Under Amato, NC State has lost by 20-or-more points just three times and by more than 10 points just seven times in ACC games.
CLOSE AT HOME
Chuck Amato says that it is imperative that teams win their home games. His teams have posted a 28-14 slate at Carter-Finley Stadium in his seven years with the program. However, in 10 of those 14 losses, the score was decided by single digits and in seven the margin was seven points or less including the three point loss to Akron on the last play of the game two weeks ago.
BLOCK THAT KICK
NC State has blocked 41 kicks since 2000, second nationally, as Chuck Amato continues to emphasize the importance of being strong in all aspects of the kicking game. NC State blocked a pair of punts against Akron, and has averaged close to seven blocks a season under Amato.
PROTECTING THE QUARTERBACK
Maybe going against the Wolfpack's sack happy defense
Through the first four games the Pack O-Line has allowed just six sacks, an average of less 1.5 per game.
The line almost doubled that last season, giving up an average of 2.9 sacks-per-game last season.
The offensive line coach is Pat Meyer, who in his first season with the line after serving six seasons in strength and conditioning for the Wolfpack.
STAYING AT HOME
NC State will not be racking up any frequent flier miles early in the 2006 season. Besides the jaunt down to Hattiesburg, Miss. on Sept. 16, 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 fared well playing at Carter-Finley early in the season under Amato, posting a 15-5 (.750) mark in home contests played in August or September. This season marked the seventh straight that Amato opened the season at home.