Gameday: NC State vs. East Carolina

NC State (1-5) returns to the gridiron today against East Carolina (4-3). Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on CSTV.

Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium

NC State (1-5) vs. East Carolina (4-3)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Greenville, North Carolina

East Carolina Links



2007 Statistics

Game Notes

NC State Game Notes

NC State and its neighbor from down the road, East Carolina, first met on the gridiron in 1970. Although NC State won 11 of the first 15 meetings between the two schools (all of which were played at Carter-Finley Stadium), the Pirates have won six of the last nine matchups to put the overall tally at 14-10 with the Wolfpack holding the edge.

After the series began in 1970, the two teams met every season through 1987. Since then, the teams have met just six times, with three of those contests being played at neutral sites. In 1992, the Pack played the Pirates in the Peach Bowl, losing 34-37. In 1996 and 2004, the two teams played regular season contests in Charlotte, with ECU winning 50-29 in ‘96 and the Pack gaining a 52-14 victory in 2004.

This will mark only the second time that the Pack has played at Dowdy Ficklin Stadium. In 1999, the Wolfpack finished the season with a 23-6 loss in Greenville in Mike O'Cain's last game as head coach.

The Wolfpack closed out a disappointing season with a loss to East Carolina on Nov. 25, 2006, falling 21-16 at home on Thanksgiving weekend. The Pack was up 10-7 at the end of the first half after a Toney Baker touchdown and a John Deraney field goal before ECU's quarterback hit a 53-yard touchdown bomb with just four seconds on the clock to put the Pirates up 14-10 at the half. Neither team scored in the third quarter, but ECU drove for a score to go up 21-10 in the fourth. The Pack would manage one more score - a two-yard run by Jamelle Eugene, in the last minute of the game.

Although NC State heads into the second half of the season with just one win, the Wolfpack's 1-5 start to the 2007 campaign is not unprecedented. Since the ACC was formed in 1953, NC State has now won just one of its first six games 11 times, with four of those marks coming in a head coach's first year with the program. In six of those previous 10 poor starts, the Wolfpack posted a winning record the following year.

After playing four of its first five games at home in Carter-Finley Stadium, the Wolfpack will play just one home game between September 29 and November 11. NC State is in the middle of playing three of its next four games on the road, having travelled to Florida State on October 6, and now to East Carolina this weekend following an open week. The Pack will be back at home on October 27 for a Homecoming contest against Virginia, then will be back on the road at Miami on November 3.

Although juniors Toney Baker and Andre Brown have been the most publicized tailbacks on the Wolfpack roster, it shouldn't be forgotten that in the season opener, Baker, Brown AND Jamelle Eugene were listed as co-starters.

Baker and Brown both crossed the 1,000-yard rushing mark as sophomores, but in many preseason interviews, when head coach Tom O'Brien was asked about his two junior runners, he reminded his audience of the talents of the redshirt sophomore as well. He was also asked many times just how he would handle the overwhelming depth of having three talented tailbacks looking for playing time.

That depth is non-existent heading into the second half of the 2007 campaign, as Baker went down with a season-ending knee injury following the season opener and Brown suffered a broken foot against Florida State.

Eugene's considerable talents were on display for the Wolfpack in the loss to the Seminoles. The shifty runner rushed for a career-high 101 yards on 14 carries in the contest, averaging 7.2 yards per pop. He also led the Pack in receiving with five grabs for 30 yards and had a 31-yard kickoff return in the contest for a total of 162 all-purpose yards.

Eugene will start the East Carolina game at tailback. He has one previous start in his career - in the 2006 win over Florida State.

Junior tailback Andre Brown became seventh starter to suffer an injury that will cause him to miss a game when he fractured his foot against Florida State. Even more unfortunately, he may have become the fourth starter to suffer a season-ending injury.

Tight end Anthony Hill, tailback Toney Baker and long snapper Corey Tedder have already gone down with season ending injuries.

The Wolfpack was without the services of quarterback Harrison Beck in Tallahassee, as the starting signal caller in the previous four games was sidelined with a separated shoulder.

Beck suffered the injury in the third quarter of the loss to Louisville. He was sacked for a nine-yard loss on a first down play and was called for intentional grounding. Although he got up holding his arm gingerly, on the next play, a second-and-19, Beck completed his longest pass of the year, a 53-yard beauty to Donald Bowens down the Wolfpack sideline that moved the Pack to the Louisvile 14. After that throw, Beck came out of the game and went straight to the X-Ray room, and missed it when four plays later, Daniel Evans hooked up with fullback Ced Hickman for the Pack's only touchdown of the day.

Beck sat out last season after transferring from the University of Nebraska, but was named the Wolfpack starter after leading the Wolfpack to 20 unanswered points and a near comback (23-25) to Central Florida in the opener. Against Clemson, he played just 10 snaps before hobbling out of the game with a knee injury.

Nine! That's the number of knee surgeries that have been performed on Wolfpack players since the spring of 2007. Six! That's the number of players who were listed as starters on the preseason depth chart (or have since become starters) that have undergone knee surgery.

Although the Pack has been hampered by various other injuries as well, that particular body part has definitely been the biggest problem. Over the spring and summer, wide receiver John Dunlap and quarterback Harrison Beck both had their knees scoped and walkon Zach Williams had reconstructive surgery. Beck and Dunlap missed training time during the offseason (Dunlap missed part of fall camp as well) but were back for the first game.

Three other Wolfpack starters, all of whom were honors candidates heading into the season, have been sidelined by knee injuries. NC State lost its leading receiver and rusher from last season, as well as one of its top defensive players.

In the last week of July, tight end Anthony Hill underwent reconstructive knee surgery for a torn ACL, just a few days after he was named to the preseason ‘watch' list for the John Mackey Award. His injury will keep him out for the entire 2007 campaign.

In the season opener, just a few days after he was named to the preseason ‘watch' list for the Doak Walker Award, tailback Toney Baker suffered a knee injury that also brought his season to a close. Baker, who led the Pack in rushing last season with 688 yards, had reconstructive surgery on October 11.

And just two days before the Boston College game, defensive tackle DeMario Pressley twisted his knee and underwent surgery on September 9. Although his injury was not season-ending, it came just after an elbow injury that kept him from starting the season opener. Pressley, who is on the preseason ‘watch' list for the Lombardi Trophy, missed the Boston College and Wofford games and was not full speed for the Clemson contest.

Those key players aren't the only ones who have had knee problems. True freshman offensive lineman Mike Golder, who was more than likely going to redshirt the season, also suffered a knee injury and will have to undergo reconstruction in October. Following the Clemson game, starting fullback Patrick Bedics and second-string offensive tackle Jerrail McCuller both went down with knee injuries and had surgery that week.

Obviously, the only number with any real meaning following the Louisville game was the final score, but the Wolfpack defense can still take pride in some of the numbers they turned in against the high-octane Cardinal offense.

Louisville came into the contest averaging 50 points and 620 yards of total offense. Against the Wolfpack, the Cardinals scored just 29 points and 498 total yards. Quarterback Brian Brohm, who was ranked second in the nation in passing yards and had thrown for more than 300 yards in his last seven outings, was held to 251 yards.

Two of Louisville's three touchdowns were on two and four-play drives after the Wolfpack offense turned the ball over. The defense was on the field almost 17 minutes longer than the offense and at halftime, the difference in the time of possession was Louisville 22:25, NC State 7:35.

NC State is currently ranked dead last in the nation (119th) in turnover margin. Through six games, the Wolfpack has committed 22 miscues (15 interceptions, seven lost fumbles), while taking the ball away from the opposition just five times (2 INTs, three fumbles). What's even more costly is that 79 of the opposition's 177 total points (45%) this season have come following a Wolfpack turnover.

At Boston College, the Wolfpack turned the ball of seven times, negating 407 yards of total offense in that 37-17 loss. That was the most in a game since 1995 (seven versus Clemson).

Against Louisville, the Pack turned the ball over five times, with three leading to scoring plays. The other two turnovers, although they didn't lead to Louisville scores, killed NC State drives deep in opponent territory.

Turnovers are anathema to any football coach, but especially to the 2007 Wolfpack staff. Head coach Tom O'Brien's 2006 Boston College squad led the ACC and tied for second nationally in turnover margin, while defensive coodinator Mike Archer's Kentucky squad led the SEC in that same category last season and tied BC to rank second nationally.

NC State's defense has been solid on third down so far this season, holding opponents to a third-down conversion mark of .343. The Wolfpack was leading the ACC heading into the Clemson game, but has dropped to sixth.

NC State's opposition has gained three yards or less on first down 95 times this season and has gained no yards or been knocked for a loss on first down 57 times. On second down, Mike Archer's defense has held the opponent to three or less 76 times and to zero or negative yards 45 times.

In six games this season, the Wolfpack has broken up 35 opponent passes. In other words, 19% of the pass attempts by the opposing quarterbacks have been batted down or broken up by a Wolfpack defender. However, NC State's defense has just two interceptions for the season - Jeremy Gray's 15-yard return against Boston College and Alan-Michael Cash's pick against Louisville.

East Carolina Game Notes

Bitter rivals NC State and East Carolina will square off for the 25th time this Saturday in Greenville with the Pack holding a 14-10 series advantage. However, ECU is riding the momentum of three impressive wins while NC State is mired in a 1-5 season. Pack Pride takes an in-depth look at the East Carolina football program.

Record 4-3 (3-1 CUSA)

East Carolina National Statistical Rankings

Rushing offense...78

Passing offense...77

Total offense...94

Rushing defense...65

Passing defense...115

Total defense...107

Complete ECU statistical rankings

Recap of East Carolina's last game versus UTEP from

East Carolina 45 ... UTEP 42 OT
UTEP got a 45--yard field goal from Jose Martinez in overtime, but ECU QB Rob Kass plunged in for a one-yard score to pull off a wild win. The Miners appeared to have the game won, as Marcus Thomas tore off a 31-yard touchdown run with 34 seconds to play, but the Pirates put it into overtime on a 34-yard Juwon Crowell touchdown catch with no time left on the clock. The two teams traded scores throughout, with Thomas starting things off with a 42-yard scoring catch, and ECU taking an early lead with a 50-yard Van Eskridge fumble recovery for a score. In the third quarter, ECU came up with a few haymakers, getting a 57-yard Dwayne Harris touchdown run and an 80-yard Jamar Bryant touchdown catch to go up ten. But UTEP would respond with the third of Martinez's four field goals and a 17-yard Jeff Moturi touchdown grab early in the fourth before the fireworks at the end. UTEP cranked out 589 yards of total offense, while ECU came up with 507.
Player of the game: In a losing cause, UTEP QB Trevor Vittatoe completed 38 of 55 passes for 409 yards and three touchdowns with an interception
Stat Leaders: East Carolina - Passing: Rob Kass, 18-32, 219 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Chris Johnson, 23-126. Receiving: Jamar Bryant, 7-133, 1 TD
UTEP - Passing: Trevor Vittatoe, 38-55, 409 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Marcus Thomas, 22-103, 1 TD. Receiving: Jeff Moturi, 12-113, 1 TD

What does it all mean? ... If this wasn't a charmed season before, it is now. With the way Rob Kass led the team to a late touchdown to force overtime against UTEP, and with the scoring run to win it, this is a hot team that has control of the Conference USA race with all the lightweights ahead. Now the tough part is over. If ECU is as good as it's been playing, at least offensively, it should be able to roll through UAB, Memphis, Marshall and Tulane without breathing hard. However, getting more from the secondary would be nice.

Pirates Big Plays

A look at East Carolina players who have recorded a gain of 20 yards or more on a single play during the 2007 season:


Yds Player Opponent TD

57 Dwayne Harris ......................... UTEP Y

43 Chris Johnson .......................... Houston Y

40 Dwayne Harris ......................... UCF N

32 Chris Johnson .......................... UTEP N

26 Chris Johnson .......................... Houston N

20 Chris Johnson .......................... Southern Miss N

20 Dominique Lindsay ................... Va. Tech N


Yds Player Opponent TD

80 Jamar Bryant ........................... UTEP Y

78 Chris Johnson .......................... North Carolina Y

72 Chris Johnson ..........................UCF Y

50 Jamar Bryant ............................ North Carolina N

46 Jamar Bryant ............................ Houston N

34 Juwon Crowell .......................... UTEP Y

34 T.J. Lee .................................... Houston Y

31 Mike Hickman ........................... UCF N

24 Chris Johnson .......................... North Carolina Y

23 Chris Johnson .......................... North Carolina N

22 Jamar Bryant ............................ Southern Miss N

20 Dwayne Harris ......................... Houston Y

20 Dwayne Harris ......................... Southern Miss Y

20 Phillip Henry ............................. North Carolina N

20 Davon Drew ............................ North Carolina N

20 Davon Drew .............................UCF Y

A look at ECU head coach Skip Holtz

SKIP HOLTZ (Notre Dame ‘86) is 16-15 (.516) in his third season at East Carolina, while overall, he is in year eight as a collegiate head coach with a 50-38 (.568) record. When he became ECU's 19th all-time head football coach Dec. 3, 2004, Holtz officially finished a six-year stint as South Carolina's assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

While at South Carolina, Holtz helped lead the Gamecocks to back-to-back Outback Bowl wins over Ohio State (2001-2002) and was recognized as one of the winners of the Assistant Coach-of-the-Year Award by the All-American Football Foundation. From 1994 to 1998, Holtz guided the Connecticut program to unprecedented success in the school's 100-year history as its head coach. UConn was a consistent member of the NCAA I-AA Top 25 polls during his last four seasons, which included a school-record 10-win, post-season playoff campaign in 1998. Prior to his success at Connecticut, Holtz spent four seasons at alma mater Notre Dame and served as the

Fighting Irish's offensive coordinator in 1992 and 1993 - a period which resulted in a 21-2-1 record and top 10 national ranks in total offense and scoring offense.

NC State Two-Deep Depth Chart

2007 NC State Depth Chart
7Daniel Evans6-2/191Jr.*
10Justin Burke6-3/210Fr.*
29 Jamelle Eugene 5-10/195So.*
3 Curtis Underwood, Jr. 5-11/215Fr.
46 Pat Bedics 6-1/250Sr.*
22 Cedric Hickman 6-1/252Fr.*
Wide Receiver
1John Dunlap6-1/218Sr.
80 Donald Bowens 6-3/206So.
Wide Receiver
2 Darrell Blackman 5-11/210Sr.
5 Jarvis Williams 6-4/205 Fr.*
Tight End
9 Marcus Stone 6-3/250Sr.*
89 Matt Kushner 6-4/259So.*
87 R.J. Armstrong 6-2/255Jr.
Left Tackle
73 Julian Williams 6-5/292So.*
70 Jake Vermiglio6-5/315Fr.
Left Guard
69 Kalani Heppe6-4/300Sr.*
66 Yomi Ojo6-3/310Jr.*
72 Luke Lathan 6-4/292Sr.*
74 Andy Barbee6-3/303So.*
Right Guard
76 Curtis Crouch 6-5/324Jr.
78 Garrett Kline6-6/315Sr.*
Right Tackle
60 Meares Green6-4/295Jr.*
50 Jeraill McCuller6-7/330So.*

Special Teams
Place Kicker
27Steven Hauschka6-3/190Sr.*
36Josh Czajkowski5-9/178Fr.*
26Bradley Pierson5-9/163Jr.*
38Jeff Ruiz6-2/185So.
Long Snapper
64Michael Maurer6-1/212So.
26Bradley Pierson5-9/163Jr.*
Kick Returner
2 Darrell Blackman 5-11/210Sr.
29 Jamelle Eugene 5-10/195So.*
Punt Returner
2 Darrell Blackman 5-11/210Sr.
29 Jamelle Eugene 5-10/195So.*
Right Defensive End
41 Martrel Brown 6-2/265Sr.*
96 Antoine Holmes 6-2/281Jr.
Left Defensive Tackle
92 DeMario Pressley 6-4/293Sr.
62 Markus Kuhn 6-5/275Fr.
Right Defensive Tackle
49 Alan-Michael Cash 6-1/286So.*
91 Teddy Larsen 6-2/285So.*
Left Defensive End
98 Littleton Wright 6-6/248Sr.*
97 Willie Young 6-4/230So.*
Weakside Linebacker
5 Ernest Jones 6-2/232Sr.*
45 John Ware 5-11/205Fr.*
Middle Linebacker
95 James Martin, II 6-1/233Sr.*
44 Ray Michel 6-0/224So.*
Strongside Linebacker
52 LeRue Rumph 6-1/227Sr.*
56 Nate Irving 6-1/227Fr.*
Left Cornerback
8 Jimmie Sutton 5-11/181Sr.*
14 J.C. Neal 5-11/195Jr.
Strong Safety
7 DaJuan Morgan 6-1/206Jr.*
4 Javon Walker 6-0/199Fr.*
Free Safety
25 Miguel Scott 6-1/195 Jr.
34Robbie Leonard 6-0/194Jr.*
21 DeAndre Morgan 5-10/166Fr.*
30 Jeremy Gray 6-2/186Jr.*

East Carolina Depth Chart


No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl-Exp.

10 Jamar Bryant 6-2 193 So-1L

7 T.J. Lee 6-0 206 Jr-TR

82 Juwon Crowell 6-2 201 Sr-2L


78 Stanley Bryant 6-5 277 Jr-TR

69 Willie Barton 6-5 340 Jr-SQ

64 Travis Melvin 6-6 289 Fr-RS


68 Matt Butler 6-4 306 Sr-3L

54 Sean Allen 6-3 313 So-1L

60 Andrew Farr 6-4 283 Fr-RS


72 Stephen Heis OR 6-5 292 So-1L

57 Fred Hicks 6-0 306 Jr-2L


70 Doug Palmer 6-3 306 So-1L

54 Sean Allen 6-3 313 So-1L


66 D.J. Scott 6-6 309 Fr-RS

79 Brandon Setzer 6-6 323 Jr-2L


3 Davon Drew 6-4 249 Jr-1L

91 Jay Sonnhalter 6-5 249 Sr-2L


14 Rob Kass 6-4 247 So-1L

15 Patrick Pinkney 6-0 198 Jr-SQ

11 Brett Clay 6-3 201 So-1L


5 Chris Johnson 5-11 195 Sr-3L

2 Jonathan Williams 6-1 207 Fr-HS


24 Dominique Lindsay 5-10 207 Jr-2L

25 Brandon Simmons 6-1 225 Jr-1L


83 Steven Rogers 6-0 182 Sr-2L

32 Phillip Henry 6-0 183 Sr-2L

17 Dwayne Harris 6-0 199 Fr-RS


No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl-Exp.

41 Zack Slate 6-5 222 Jr-2L

53 Scotty Robinson 6-4 258 So-1L


90 Jay Ross 6-3 300 So-1L

98 Khalif Mitchell 6-6 307 Jr-SQ


98 Khalif Mitchell OR 6-6 307 Jr-SQ

97 Linval Joseph 6-6 344 Fr-HS

96 Mark Robinson 6-3 296 Sr-3L


95 C.J. Wilson OR 6-4 269 So-1L

94 Willie Smith 6-6 265 Fr-RS


50 Quentin Cotton OR 6-2 234 Jr-2L

49 Jeremy Chambliss 6-0 225 So-1L

31 Lorenzo Osborne 6-3 204 So-1L


51 Fred Wilson 6-2 260 Sr-1L

44 Nick Johnson 6-1 231 So-1L


34 Pierre Bell 6-2 231 Jr-2L

55 Dalvon Mack 6-0 243 Jr-SQ


8 Travis Williams 5-10 186 Sr-3L

21 Darryl Reynolds OR 6-1 191 Fr-HS

23 Dekota Marshall 6-1 196 Fr-RS


4 Van Eskridge 6-0 198 So-1L

19 Chris Mattocks 6-0 200 So-1L


1 Leon Best 6-0 199 Jr-1L

9 Melvin Patterson 6-3 214 Fr-RS

20 J.J. Milbrook 5-9 193 Jr-1L


13 Travis Simmons 5-10 179 Fr-HS

35 Jerek Hewett 5-11 184 Jr-2L


30 Ben Hartman 5-11 193 So-1L

14 Matt Dodge 6-2 219 So-TR


13 Joseph Sloan 5-11 176 So-SQ

15 Patrick Pinkney 6-0 198 Jr-SQ


14 Matt Dodge 6-2 219 So-TR

30 Ben Hartman 5-11 193 So-1L


59 Wilson Raynor 6-2 230 Jr-2L

52 Corey Bass 6-0 248 Jr-SQ


17 Dwayne Harris 6-0 199 Fr-RS

83 Steven Rogers OR 6-0 182 Sr-2L

8 Travis Williams 5-10 186 Sr-3L


5 Chris Johnson 5-11 195 Sr-3L

17 Dwayne Harris OR 6-0 199 Fr-RS

2 Jonathan Williams 6-1 207 Fr-HS

Thanks to NC State and East Carolina Athletics for much of the information in this preview.

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