NC STATE VERSUS MARYLAND
NC State and Maryland has been a close rivarly over the years, and the Wolfpack holds a 30-28-4 record since the series began in 1909. Maryland leads the series 14-13-1 in College Park, Md.
The Wolfpack has won the last two meetings after Maryland took the previous four contests since Chuck Amato became NC State's head coach in 2000. Amato holds a 1-2 mark against Maryland in College Park, Md., including the last meeting, 13-3, in 2004. NC State holds a 3-2 mark in its last five visits and has won six of the last 10 meetings in Maryland.
NC State and Maryland staged an important battle in the last game of the regular season a year ago as both teams were 5-5 with the winner going to a bowl game. Tailback Toney Baker rushed for 65 yards and the go-ahead touchdown and cornerback Marcus Hudson (now with the San Francisco 49ers) picked off two passes and returned one for a touchdown in the 20- 14 Wolfpack win.
LAST TIME AT MARYLAND
With the Wolfpack's highly regarded defense leading the way, NC State downed Maryland 13-3 in the last meeting at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Md. on October 16, 2004. The defense allowed just five Terrapins' first downs and 91 total yards (24 passing), with 60 of those yards and four first downs coming on Maryland's first drive of the game.
PACK AND TERPS PLAY IT CLOSE
The last six 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 5.3 points. NC State's 10-point win in 2004 was the largest margin in the last six games.
In 2000, the teams went into doubleovertime 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.
In 2004, the Wolfpack won by 10 by dominating the Terrapins defensively. NC State won by six, 20-14, last season to become bowl eligible in the final game of the season.
NC STATE STARTS STRONG VERSUS
Before NC State trailed, 7-3, at the half in last season's game against Maryland, NC State had led in the previous five meetings with the Terps at the intermission.
State led 21-6 in 2000, 9-3 in 2001, 14-7 in 2002, 14-10 in 2003 and 10-0 in 2004. 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 his first three starts at quarterback, redshirt sophomore Daniel Evans has not only defeated two ranked ACC opponents, but he has done so with solid numbers. Evans, who was named the ACC Offensive Back of the Week for his play against Florida State, ranks eighth overall in passing efficiency (122.2) in the conference. In ACC games only, Evans is third in passing yards-per-game (189.7) and seventh in efficiency (117.8). He has completed 57-of-101 passes for 666 yards with five touchdowns and three picks on the season.
In ACC contests only, Evans is 49-of- 90 for 569 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
If you discount the first two games of the season in which he played only as the holder on placekicks, he would be averaging 166.5 passing yards-pergame, a mark that would rank seventh overall in the ACC.
NC STATE SECOND IN DIVISION
Despite the loss to Wake Forest on Saturday, NC State is in a three-way tie for second place in the Atlantic division with the Demon Deacons and Boston College, only a half game behind division leader Clemson.
The Wolfpack is just one of five ACC teams to have a winning record in conference play at this point in the season.
CUTTING IT CLOSE
Chuck Amato has now coached in 51 ACC contests since taking over the Wolfpack program in 2000, posting a 25-26 record in those contests. In 29 of those 51 games, the final outcome has been decided by a touchdown (seven points) or less, 33 have been decided by eight points or less and 37 have been decided by 10 points or less.
Amato is 11-13 on the road in ACC matchups and in 14 of those 24 games the score has differed by seven points or less, with NC State posting a 6-8 record in those games.
His ACC record includes a 14-13 mark at home and the Wolfpack has lost just four conference games by double digits at home in the past seven years. In 14 home ACC wins, six have been by double digits, and the other eight have been by seven or less points, including the two-point win over BC and the fourpoint triumph over FSU.
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.
WOLFPACK SEEING RED
The team has had its struggles in the redzone this season on both sides of the ball. Heading into the Florida St. game, NC State had made just seven trips into the redzone and scored five times (four TDs, one FG). The defense had allowed 14 scores (nine TDs and five FGs) in 16 chances inside the 20-yardline.
Those numbers took a backseat to the impressive performance from the Wolfpack team against the Seminoles and Demon Deacons inside the redzone. The offense produced a season-high five trips inside the redzone against FSU and scored three touchdowns and a field goal while the defense allowed three trips and held them to just one touchdown and two field goals.
Against Wake Forest, the Wolfpack offense scored three touchdowns and a field goal in its four trips into the redzone while limiting the Demon Deacons to one trip (a a touchdown run) inside the 20-yardline.
Both games marked the only times this season that NC State had more trips inside the redzone than its opponent. NC State has scored on nine of its 10 redzone trips, the third best mark in the ACC for conference games only.
HIT THE ROAD, PACK
NC State has played five of its first six games at home this season, and 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 en 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 opened 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).
This season marked the seventh straight that Amato opened the season at home.
Since Daniel Evans took over at quarterback for his first career start against Boston College, NC State has averaged 331.3 yards-per-game over those three games. All three contests were against league foes, and the average yards-per-game rank third in conference games only. Overall on the season the team is still eighth in the ACC in total offense at 300.0 yards-per-game, but averaged just 268.7 yards-per-game in the first three games of the season.
KNOCKING OFF RANKED TEAMS
Since the start of the college football season seven weeks ago, only 10 times in seven weeks did a unranked team knock off a ranked opponent in the AP polls, and NC State has done it twice. When the Wolfpack beat Boston College it became just the fourth unranked team all season to that point to defeat a ranked team before knocking off Florida State for its second win over a ranked team in as many games.
FIRST QUARTER WOES
NC State is happy to see the start of the second quarter. The team has scored just 12 points in the first quarter all season and has converted on only 3-of-19 (.158) third down plays.
Wolfpack opponents have scored on its opening drive in four straight games and NC State is being outscored 26-12 in the opening frame.
DON'T FORGET ABOUT BAKER
While Andre Brown may have more career yards, fellow sophomore tailback Toney Baker has the same number of career touchdowns with nine (eight rushing and one receiving). Baker had two rushing touchdowns and 57 yards rushing against Wake Forest, including a rumbling 13 yard run that pulled NC State within two points with just over five minutes left in the game. It was his third multiple rushing touchdown game of his career after he scored three (two rushing and one receiving) touchdowns against Eastern Kentucky, and two more against North Carolina.
Baker has 259 yards and is averaging 43.2 yards rushing a game this season with three touchdowns.
PROTECTING THE QUARTERBACK
Maybe going against the Wolfpack's sack happy defense (currently sixth in the ACC with 14 sacks) has helped NC State's offensive line protect the quarterback this season. Through the first six games the Pack O-Line has allowed just seven sacks, an average of less than 1.2 per game. The seven sacks allowed is tied for third best in the league this season overall and tied for first in ACC games only by allowing just three sacks in three conference games.
The line more than 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.
SPREADING IT AROUND
Six different Wolfpack players have led the team in catches this season, with senior Lamart Barrett being the latest to do so with five catches for 47 yards against Wake Forest.
Junior wide receiver Darrell Blackman caught three passes for 26 yards and a touchdown in the season opener against Appalachian St., and junior tight end Anthony Hill snared career-highs of seven catches for 82 yards in the Akron game.
Freshman wide receiver Donald Bowens (4-76-1), junior wideout John Dunlap (4-33-1) and Hill (4-21-0) tied for the team lead against Southern Miss. Dunlap snared four catches for 79 yards, including the game-winning 34- yard touchdown with 8.5 seconds left against Boston College.
Redshirt freshman Geron James caught four balls for 91 yards and a touchdown in the Florida State game to set career-highs in catches and yards.