Saturday, October 27, 2007
Raleigh, North Carolina
NC State Game Notes
NC STATE VERSUS VIRGINIA
Saturday's meeting will be the 55th meeting between NC State and Virginia in the series that dates back to 1904. The Wolfpack holds a 32-21-1 advantage in the series, but has lost 13 of the last 19 meeting with the Cavaliers.
The two teams have not played in Raleigh since November 1, 2003, when the Wolfpack won 51-37. The teams met in Charlottesville in 2006, with the Cavaliers winning a real offensive shootout, 14-7. The Wolfpack has won three of the last four games against UVa at Carter-Finley Stadium, but has lost the last five contests in Scott Stadium, dating back to a 30- 27 win in 1994, when current Cavaliers offensive coordinator Mike Groh led No. 13 Virginia as the starting quarterback.
NC State and Virginia played every year from 1960 until 2003, but have played just once since ACC expansion.
THE VIRGINIA CONNECTION
There are many connections between the current NC State coaching staff and the University of Virginia and there are also several connections between the University of Virginia coaching staff and the coaches at NC State.
Wolfpack head coach Tom O'Brien was on the Cavalier staff from 1982 - 1996, coaching guards and centers for nine years, then serving as offensive coordinator for six seasons (four with the QBs, two back with the OL). Four other members of the current Wolfpack staff also coached at UVa during that time frame: Mike Archer (linebackers, 1991-92), Jim Bridge (GA, 1994-95), Don Horton (GA, 1985- 87), and Jerry Petercuskie (Defensive tackles, 1995-96).
Current Virginia offensive coordinator Mike Groh played quarterback under coordinator O'Brien from 1991-95, starting his last two seasons. Groh is the only QB in Cavalier history to lead his team to nine wins and a bowl victory in backto- back seasons (94-95). Groh finished his career in the top three in every UVa passing category.
Cavalier running back coach Anthony Poindexter was a safety at Virginia from 1994-98, crossing paths with O'Brien for his first three seasons with the program.
WOLFPACK BEGINS NEW SEASON
NC State's bye-week came at an opportune time for Tom O'Brien's first Wolfpack team - midway through the 12-game slate. Barraged by injuries, the Pack posted a 1-5 mark in its first six games, but the head coach has encouraged his players to wipe that record out of their minds and concentrate on being successful in the last six contests.
That approach worked well in the Wolfpack's win at East Carolina - the first road win for NC State since November 5, 2005 (Florida State). Despite losing another starter to injury the week before the game, the Pack came together and never trailed in the contest, winning 34-20.
HIT THE ROAD, PACK
After playing four of its first five games at home in Carter-Finley Stadium, Saturday's game versus Virginia will mark the Wolfpack's only home game between September 29 and November 11. NC State is in the middle of playing three of its four games on the road, having travelled to Florida State on October 6, to East Carolina last weekend following an open week. The Pack will be back on the road at Miami on November 3.
CHAMPIONS IN THE CLASSROOM
Ten players who are listed as starters on this week's depth chart and 13 who have started multiple games this season are on track to graduate in December. That tally includes all three of the Pack's starting linebackers, all three seniors on the defensive line and four members of the offensive line. Two other members of the 2007 Wolfpack squad, Guerlin Dervil and Phillip Holloman, have already met their graduation requirements and will officially receive their degrees during December commencement ceremonies.
Here's a look at the other Wolfpack players who are on track to graduate in December: Pat Bedics, FB, Martrel Brown, DE, Andrew Evans, WR, Daniel Evans, QB, Kalani Heppe, OG, Ernest Jones, LB, Garrett Kline, OT, Luke Lathan, C, James Martin, LB, Yomi Ojo, OG, DeMario Pressley, DT, LeRue Rumph, LB, Miguel Scott, S, Marcus Stone, TE, Jimmie Sutton, CB, and Littleton Wright, DE.
ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER KNEE
NC State's football team should get a bulk discount when it comes to doctors performing knee surgeries this year. Nine Wolfpack players have undergone some type of knee surgery since the spring of 2007 and another player (Julian Williams) injured a knee last week and could miss several weeks, even though he won't have to undergo surgery.
Although the Pack has been hampered by various other injuries as well, that particular body part has definitely been the biggest problem. Six players who were listed as starters on the preseason depth chart (or have since become starters) have undergone knee surgery.
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, will undergo 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.
LINEBACKERS STAND ALONE
Every position on the Wolfpack football team has undergone a change in starters this season - some multiple times - due to injuries or coaches decisions. In seven games, five different lineups have started on the defensive line and in the defensive secondary. Two different players have started at quarterback, while at running back, three different players have started at tailback and two at fullback.
The offensive line had started the same five players up until last week, when an injury forced a change. The Wolfpack's starting wide receivers, Darrell Blackman and John Dunlap, have been consistent, but in one game, the Pack started three wideouts. At tight end, Marcus Stone has started every contest, but the Pack also started two tight ends against East Carolina.
The offensive line had been stable until last week when Julian Williams went down, which leaves the linebackers as perhaps the most stable unit on the team in terms of starters. Seniors Ernest Jones, Lerue Rumph and James Martin, II have started all seven games for the Wolfpack and have all been steady performers as well. Jones and Martin are currently leading the team in tackles with 69 and 59 tackles respectively, while Rumph ranks fifth with 44.
EUGENE RUNS (AND CATCHES) WITH OPPORTUNITY
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 eighth game 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 have been on display for the Wolfpack in the last two games. The shifty runner rushed for a career-high 101 yards on 14 carries at Florida State, 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 started the East Carolina game at tailback, rushing for 63 yards and gaining another 45 yards on five catches, including a beautiful touchdown grab in the corner of the endzone. As the Wolfpack's primary tailback (playing most of the game against FSU and starting and playing a whopping 71 snaps at ECU), he has tallied 239 yards of total offense.
Eugene's 71 gradeable snaps last week were the most for a Wolfpack running back since 2000, when Ray Robinson played 72 snaps against Maryland.
DUNLAP CARRIES LOAD FOR PACK
He may not be the flashiest receiver ever to play the game (although his catch to defeat Boston College in the final seconds of last year's game was one of the most dramatic in school history) senior wide receiver John Dunlap has been a solid performer for the Wolfpack offense in 2007 and throughout his career.
Voted a captain by his teammates prior to this year, Dunlap currently leads NC State with 34 catches this season and currently ranks fourth in the ACC with 4.86 grabs per game. His eight catches against East Carolina was a career high. Dunlap has pulled down 74 receptions in his career, the 12th-best mark among active ACC players.
ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER STARTER LOST
Redshirt sophomore Julian Williams became the eighth starter to suffer an injury that caused him to miss a game last week when he suffered a knee sprain in practice.
Two weeks ago, it was junior tailback Andre Brown's turn when he fractured his foot against Florida State. Even more unfortunately, Brown 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.
EVANS IS SOLID
It hasn't been an easy year for junior quarterback Daniel Evans. After being named the starter before the season opener, he lost his job for the second game of the season. He came off the bench in two later games after starter Harrison Beck went out with an injury, but he has been strong in his last two outings as the starting signal caller, leading the Pack to its first road win in two seasons last week at East Carolina.
Against the Pirates, Evans completed 29 of 44 passes for 335 yards and three touchdowns, setting career highs for completions and passing yards, and tying a career high for touchdown passes. Evans finished the game with the most completions and the most passing yards in a single game by an NC State quarterback since Philip Rivers against Kansas in the 2003 Tangerine Bowl.
Evans was especially good in the first quarter when the Wolfpack was building a 14-0 lead, completing 10 of 14 passes for 101 yards and two TDs. And in the fourth quarter, as the Pack was trying to salt the game away, he was accurate and efficient, completing 6 of 7 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown.
Evans currently ranks sixth in the ACC in passing efficiency and eighth in passing average. His .643 completion percentage leads all ACC signal callers.
WALKER SHINES IN WOLFPACK WIN
Redshirt freshman safety Javon Walker has quietly become a force to be reckoned with on the Wolfpack defense and on special teams. He earned his second start of the season at East Carolina and made the most of his opportunity, leading the team with a dozen tackles, including nine first hits or solo stops. In fact, in both games this season in which Walker has played 40 or more snaps (Clemson and East Carolina), he has posted double-figure tackle totals.
Walker played a whopping 110 gradeable snaps in the win at ECU - 86 on defensive and 24 on special teams. He leads the Wolfpack in special teams tackles and ranks fourth with 109 special teams snaps.
WOLFPACK DEFENSE IS AVERAGE KILLER
Led by coordinator Mike Archer, the Wolfpack defense has wreaked havoc on several opponents averages this season - most recently East Carolina's.
The Pirates entered Saturday's game with NC State averaging 191.3 rushing yards per game. Against a tenacious Wolfpack defense, however, ECU managed to eke out just 72 rushing yards.
On September 29, Louisville came into Carter-Finley Stadium averaging 50 points and 620 yards of total offense per agme. Against the Wolfpack, the Cardinals scored just 29 points and 498 total yards. Quarterback Brian Brohm, a Heisman Trophy candidate who was ranked second in the nation in passing yards at the time and had thrown for more than 300 yards in pervious last seven outings, was held to 251 yards.
In the second game of the season, the Pack "D" held another Heisman hopeful, Boston College's Matt Ryan, to well below his average. Ryan to just 142 passing yards - his lowest total since midway through his sophomore campaign. In his other seven games, Ryan has averaged 334.3 yards. Against NC State, Ryan threw for just one TD.
FROM WHO?-SCHKA TO WOW-SCHKA
He wasn't on the spring roster. He wasn't on the Wolfpack's list of signees back in February. But he is NC State's starting placekicker this season and has done very a great job. He's Steven Hauschka and he is the only starting placekicker in the ACC and one of just four nationally that hasn't missed a field goal this season, In seven games, Hauschka has connected on all seven of his field goal attempts, including a 49-yard boot against Wofford. He is 17-17 on his extra point attempts and has also kicked off 32 times with eight touchbacks.
Although he's one of the newest members of Tom O'Brien's squad, he's also one of the oldest. A Needham, Mass., native, Hauschka didn't play football in high school. He didn't play his freshman year at Middlebury College. Instead, he was a soccer player, whose football player friends urged him to bring his leg and try out for that sport as a sophomore.
In his first year, he broke the Middlebury record for field goals in a season, going 10-12 with a long kick of 41 yards. He also served as punter and earned conference Defensive Player of Week honors after one game for placing eight punts inside the 20. He was a D3football.com second-team All-Region performer in 2006. After an unexpectedly successful career on the football field, Hauschka graduated from Middlebury this spring and took advantage of the NCAA's graduate transfer rule. After graduating with a 3.54 GPA in neuroscience, he is enrolled in graduate school at NC State and hopes to some day pursue a career in dentistry.
The Wolfpack's Darrell Blackman has definitely the man of all purposes for NC State during his career. The senior ranks sixth in school history in all-purpose yards with 3,692, third in career kickoff return yardage (1,636) and third with 718 career punt return yards.
For much of this season, Blackman has led the ACC in all-purpose yards per game and ranked high nationally in that category. In the last two games, however, the opponent defense has closed him down, as he has gained just seven receiving yards, 56 kickoff return yards and 11 punt return yards in the games against FSU and ECU combined - a total of 74 all-purpose yards in two games.
Blackman boasts the second-best average in school history with a 27.3 mark - a mark that also ranks second in ACC history. His career KOR yards rank 12th in ACC history.
He had a 99-yard return for a touchdown versus Clemson on September 22 - the longest kickoff return in school history. As a punt returner, Blackman ranks 20th in ACC history. His 10.11 punt return average for his career is the eighth-best ever by a Wolfpack player. This season, Blackman has added his name to the single-game records as well.
His 90 yards in punt returns in the season opener marked the fourth-highest single game total in school history and he now holds three of the top five marks on that list. He tallied 143 yards in kickoff returns against Clemson, the ninth-best singlegame mark in school history. He now holds three of the top 10 marks on that list. Blackman caught six passes for 128 yards (all in the first quarter) in the loss at Boston College. That marked the first 100-yard receiving game for a Wolfpack player since the 2005 season.
BROWN TURNS IT AROUND
Senior defensive end Martrel Brown was elected a team captain by his teammates prior to the 2007 season and has been cited for his outstanding leadership by his head coach. That why is was disappointing to the coaching staff and even more so to Brown himself when his performance on the field wasn't quite up to his own standards.
The coaches benched Brown for the Louisville and Florida State games, and that served as a wake-up call. Against Florida State, Brown tallied a season-high five tackles, including two behind the line of scrimmage and a sack. He earned his starting job back for East Carolina and had four tackles, including a four-yard sack, and had a key fumble recovery to set up a Wolfpack touchdown.
Brown has also broken up a pass in each of the last two games.
Virginia Game Notes
• Virginia has five wins of six points or fewer, the most in the country
• Virginia has a seven-game winning streak, tying the school record for longest streak during a season (UVa also had seven-game streaks in 1914, 1949 and 1990)
• In UVa's come-from-behind game-winning drives the last three weeks, Jameel Sewell has combined to complete 14 of 15 passes for 167 yards
• Mikell Simpson became only the fifth player in ACC history to compile 100 yards rushing and receiving in a single game last week vs. Maryland
Virginia National Statistical Rankings
Chris Long, DE – Regarded as the top defensive player in the ACC and arguably the top defensive end in the country, Long is having a stellar senior season for Virginia.
He is third in the country in sacks (1.25/g), second among D-linemen in PBU (seven) and passes defended (PBUs+INTs) with eight, and fifth in tackling by a lineman with an average of 6.3 tackles per game.
To have success offensively, NC State is going to have to keep Long under control. No one has been able to do it all year.
Jameel Sewell, QB – Sophomore quarterback Jameel Sewell has led Virginia to seven consecutive wins with sound decision making and the ability to make big plays down the stretch of games.
He has completed at least 62 percent of his passes four times during the current winning streak, and has completed 14-of-15 passes for 167 yards to lead UVa down field on its game-winning drives the last three weeks.
During the winning streak he has hit 60.1 percent of his throws, while averaging 159.6 ypg and tossing seven touchdown passes.
He passed for 223 yards to lead Virginia to a comeback win over Middle Tennessee three weeks ago. On the game-winning drive, Sewell completed all five passes for 65 yards.
NC State must get pressure on Sewell, keep him in the pocket, and force him to make bad throws.
THE SERIES VS. THE WOLFPACK
• Virginia has won five of the last seven meetings, but the Wolfpack still holds a 32-21-1 series lead, including a 15-8 advantage in Raleigh
• Fifteen of Virginia's 21 series wins have occurred since 1983; UVa is 15-7 since then
• In four of its last five series wins, Virginia has had to come from behind or break a fourth quarter tie to win
• Eight of the last 12 games have been decided by 10 points or fewer
• Curiously, nearly half (10) of Virginia's wins over NC State have come by at least 10 points
A BATTLE TO THE FINISH
• Eight of the last 12 meetings between Virginia and NC State have gone down to the wire featuring amazing comebacks and nailbiting finishes on both sides
• Jason Snelling scored on a 17-yard run with 1:31 to play to lift UVa to a 14-7 win last season
• The 2003 match-up featured two NFL quarterbacks—Virginia's Matt Schaub and Philip Rivers from NC State—in a game that saw four ties and five lead changes before the Wolfpack pulled out a 51-37 win in the most recent game in Raleigh
• Cornerback Jamaine Winborne batted away ball intended for Bryan Peterson in the end zone to preserve UVa's 14-9 win in 2002
• Virginia won three straight from 1998-2000 and every win was sparked by a second half comeback
• The Cavaliers used a 14-point second half outburst in 1998 to win 23-13 at home
• The following year UVa erupted for 30 points in the third quarter to break open a tight ballgame (19-10 at halftime) and win going away 47-26 in 1999
• Fullback Tyree Foreman broke loose for a 38-yard touchdown run with 9:49 remaining to provide the winning points in UVa's 24-17 triumph in 2000
STRANG GAME BACK IN '44
• The 1944 meeting between these two teams, played in Norfolk, ranks as one of the strangest games in college football history
• The Wolfpack pulled out a 13-0 win in a driving rainstorm by recovering two UVa fumbles in the end zone for touchdowns
SLOWING STATE'S GROUND GAME
• The Cavaliers' ability to contain the NC State rushing attack has been one of the factors enabling them to win seven of the last 10 games against the Wolfpack
• Virginia has won all 10 meetings against the Wolfpack going back to World War II when holding them to fewer than 100 yards rushing
• The only time in the modern day history of the series (since 1937), NC State won when rushing for fewer than 100 yards occurred in 1944 when the Wolfpack gained just 10 yards and won one of the oddest games in college football history. That game is the only time in series history the Wolfpack rushed for fewer than 125 yards and still won
• Conversely, NC State has won 17 of the 18 games since 1937 when rushing for at least 200 yards. (The only time NC State rushed for at least 200 yards and failed to win occurred in 1998 as State gained 211 yards in a 23-13 loss)
TURNOVERS ALSO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
• Coaches cite turnovers as one of the keys to a team's success in any particular game and this series is a good example of this coaching philosophy
• Since 1983, the Cavaliers are 11-2 vs. the Wolfpack when committing fewer turnovers. NC State, on the other hand, is just 3-3 when it commits fewer turnovers
• There have been three games since 1983 (‘85, ‘90, ‘03) where the teams had equal turnovers; UVa's won only the 1990 game
• Virginia has not committed a turnover five times since 1983 (‘84, ‘96, ‘98, ‘00, ‘06), while State has had at least one turnover every year since 1963 (40 games)
• Virginia has committed only eight turnovers in the last 10 meetings, while the Wolfpack has turned the ball over 21 times in that span
• Cavalier passers have thrown just eight interceptions in the last 16 games, while NC State has thrown 21
• Virginia has intercepted at least one pass in 22 of the last 25 meetings
GRINDING OUT THE YARDS
• Virginia has had at least one 100-yard rusher in eight of the last 13 games against NC State and has gained at least 200 yards rushing in 10 of the last 15 games against the Wolfpack
• When outrushing the Wolfpack, Virginia is 16-6 since 1944
• The team with the most rushing yards has won the last 10 meetings and 42 of 49 games since 1944. At one point the team with the most rushing yards won 18 consecutive games between 1963-82.
• In their last seven wins over NC State going back to 1995, the Cavaliers have averaged 216.6 yards rushing per game
• On the other hand, the Wolfpack has gained more than 200 yards only twice since 1981 (1997, ‘98)
LONG WINNING STREAK
• The Cavaliers have won their last seven games, tying for the longest winning streak during a season in school history
• Virginia also won seven in a row in 1914, 1949 and 1990
• The winning streak is tied for the fourth-longest current streak in the country
WINNING THE CLOSE ONES
• One characteristic of this year's Cavalier squad is its ability to win the close games
• Five of the Cavaliers' seven wins have been by six points or fewer
• UVa's average margin of victory is currently 7.4 points, sixth closest among teams with at least three wins
• UVa is the only team with as many as four wins by six points or fewer; only three other teams have at least three wins by six points or fewer (Alabama, East Carolina, UTEP)
• This is only the fifth time in ACC history a team has won as many as five games by six points or fewer during the regular season (North Carolina-1976 and Maryland-2006 each won six games in this fashion)
EIGHTEEN RETURNING STARTERS
• Virginia features 18 returning starters this season, eight on offense, 10 on defense
• Both kicking specialists also return
• Only two schools have more returning starters: UCLA-20, Utah St.-19
• This is UVa's most returning starters since the 1989 team also had 18. That squad won the school's first ACC championship
• The eight returnees on offense are Virginia's most since 2003 (9)
• Virginia is one of nine schools to return as many as 10 defensive starters. Utah State returns all 11. Virginia ranked 17th in the country in total defense last season
• This is the first time since 1977 Virginia has returned as many as 10 defensive starters
FIVE CAVALIERS COMPETE AS GRAD STUDENTS
• Five Cavaliers have already received their undergraduate degrees and will be participating as graduate students this season
• The list of grad students and their undergraduate degrees include:
- NT Allen Billyk (economics)
- G Ian-Yates Cunningham (psychology)
- LB Jermaine Dias (sociology)
- C Jordy Lipsey (sociology)
- G Gordie Sammis (government)
• UVa has had 104 players play as grad students in the past 18 seasons
• Only six schools have more players playing as grad students than Virginia
• The starting line-up features three players who joined the program as walk-ons:
- ILB Jon Copper
- S Byron Glaspy
- WR Staton Jobe
• Copper was an undersized high schooler in Roanoke, Va., who spent a post grad year at nearby Fork Union Military Academy. He redshirted in 2004 and played mostly special teams the following season. Last year he worked his way into the starting line-up and was the leading tackler
• Glaspy stepped out of the student body and joined the team during the spring of 2005. He moved into the starting line-up for the final four games that season
• Jobe camped at UVa while in high school. A sprint champ in high school in Austin, Texas, he redshirted last fall, but moved into the receiver spot vacated following the injury to Kevin Ogletree
THREE WALK-ONS IN STARTING LINEUP
• With three walk-on players in the starting line-up this season, it will be the first time in 10 years so many have started for UVa
• In 1997, DE Patrick Kerney, WR Bryan Owen, and CB/S Stephen Phelan started six games together
• Only five schools have more starters who came as walk-ons than UVa. Florida International leads the way with five in its starting line-up, while Central Michigan, Colorado, Florida Atlantic and Utah all have four
FIVE TRUE FROSH SEE THE FIELD
• 54 players have played as true freshmen under head coach Al Groh, including 25 on this year's roster
• NT Nate Collins was the only true freshman to play last season. The rest of his recruiting class was redshirted
• In the opener vs. Wyoming, LS Danny Aiken, WR Dontrelle Inman and QB Peter Lalich played
• Lalich got in for the final series to become the first true freshman QB to play for UVa since Dan Ellis in 1997
• CB Ras-I Dowling joined this list after seeing plenty of special teams action vs. Duke
• LB Jared Detrick saw action on the kickoff, kickoff return and punt return squads against North Carolina to become the fifth true freshman to play this season
"NEXT MAN UP
• Injuries this season, particularly on offense, have given rise to the philosophy of "next man up" according to head coach Al Groh
• WR Kevin Ogletree went down during training camp, opening the way for Staton Jobe to play
• WR Maurice Covington missed four games, giving senior Chris Gorham a chance to make plays
• LT Eugene Monroe went down for two games, allowing senior Gordie Sammis a chance to start for the first time in his career
• TB Cedric Peerman has missed the last two games, giving Keith Payne, Andrew Pearman and Mikell Simpson a chance to shine
OFFENSIVE LINE RETURNS INTACT
• UVa is one of six teams that returned all five offensive line starters from a year ago
• This is the first time this has happened for the Cavaliers since 2004
• LG Branden Albert, a preseason All-ACC choice, shares the team lead with 32 career starts
• Two members of the O-Line have already earned their degrees: RG Ian-Yates Cunningham (psychology) and C Jordy Lipsey (sociology)
• LT Eugene Monroe was the top line recruit in the country in 2005 and was named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week vs. North Carolina
• RT Will Barker was a second-team Freshman All-American last year
• The experienced line has helped UVa rank seventh in the ACC in rushing with an average of 138.9 ypg, an improvement of 38.96 ypg over last season
MORE BIG PLAYS ALL AROUND
• Virginia has had more big plays so far this season from the offense and on special teams than all of last season
• Andrew Pearman returned a kickoff 67 yards vs. Wyoming, UVa's longest return in two years
• Vic Hall had a 67-yard punt return to set up UVa's first TD vs. Duke, the team's longest in three years
• Cedric Peerman raced 58 yards for TD in the Duke game for UVa's longest run from scrimmage in two years
• Peerman added a 38-yard run to his resume against North Carolina
• Virginia had only one running play of 30+ yards all last season, a 36-yard run by QB Jameel Sewell, but has three this season
• The running game has produced eight 20+-yard runs, the same number as all last season
• There were five 20+-yard pass plays vs. Georgia Tech alone and five more in the last two games
• UVa has 15 pass plays of at least 20 yards so far this season after having only 19 last year
• Hall returned punts 22 and 45 yards vs. Pittsburgh to set up two first quarter touchdown drives
NC State Two-Deep Depth Chart
|2007 NC State Depth Chart|
Thanks to NC State and Virginia Athletics for much of the information in this preview.