Gameday: NC State vs. Wake Forest

Bragging rights are on the line as NC State (5-5, 3-3) faces Wake Forest (6-4, 4-3) in a huge game for both teams. Gametime is set for 4:00 and the game is televised on ESPNU.

Groves Stadium

NC State (5-5) vs. Wake Forest (6-4)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Wake Forest Links

2007 Statistics
Game Notes

NC State Game Notes

NC State and Wake Forest have met 100 times on the gridiron in a series that dates back to 1895. Although the rivalry is the second-oldest in Wolfpack history (NC State and North Carolina played in 1894), NC State has played Wake Forest more than any other team.

The Wolfpack holds a 60-34-6 advantage over the Demon Deacons, but has lost the last two games and three of the last four. Going back further, NC State has won 14 of the last 19 matchups. The Wolfpack's 25-23 loss to Wake Forest last year at Carter-Finley marked the first time the Pack had lost at home to WFU since 1984. The Pack has dropped four of the last five games played at Groves Stadium.

The Wolfpack roster boasts 49 players who call the state of North Carolina their home. NC State natives also populate the Wolfpack depth chart and of the nine NC State players who have been drafted by the NFL in the past two years, six of them were North Carolinians.

Two weeks ago, when the Wolfpack played the Miami Hurricanes, there were former high school teammates from the state of Florida playing for both teams. Last week when the Wolfpack took on North Carolina, there were natives of the Tar Heel state playing on both teams.

This week, when NC State travels the short distance to Winston-Salem to take on Wake Forest, there will be Florida natives and North Carolina natives with former high school teammates on the other squad.

If you've been around anyone associated with Wolfpack football lately, coaches, players or maybe even fans, you'll hear folks talking about the ‘new season.' In terms of records, the ‘new season' began on October 20 with the game at East Carolina, but the ‘new season' actually began in practice on October 7 - the day after the Pack lost at Florida State in its sixth game of the 2007 campaign. NC State had an open week at the midway point and two weeks to get ready to start the second half of the 12-game slate.

That week, the coaching staff focussed on fundamentals, made a couple of lineup changes and continued to teach the consistent message that they've espoused since the spring. Head Coach Tom O'Brien encouraged the team to forget it's record up to that point (which stood at a lowly 1-5) and just concentrate on becoming 1-0 in the ‘new season.'

Now a month later, NC State is 4-0 in the ‘new season,' posts a 5-5 record for the year and a 3-3 mark in conference play - winning three ACC games in a row.

The Wolfpack has broken several negative streaks along the way. In the first game of the ‘new' season, at East Carolina, NC State gained its first road win since November 5, 2005 (Florida State). In the second game of the ‘new' season, the Wolfpack won its first ACC game in 10 tries, knocking off #21 Virginia, and in the third game, NC State knocked off Miami in overtime, winning its first league road contest in eight tries. Last week, State broke a three-game losing streak against rival North Carolina.

NC State will play its third game against an in-state rival when it heads to Wake Forest next weekend, and enters the game with a 2-0 mark against teams from within the state. NC State won at East Carolina, 34-20, on October 20 and defeated North Carolina 31-27 last weekend. Although the Wolfpack won't face the state's other football bowl subdivision team, Duke, this year, a win over Wake Forest would give NC State bragging rights in the mythical ‘state title.' The Demon Deacons are also 2-0 against North Carolina schools this season, posting wins over Duke and UNC.

There have been very few times in NC State's football history that the Wolfpack has put together four consecutive wins this late in the season, but even more rare that the Pack has won five straight. Including this season, only seven times in the 55 years since the ACC was formed has the Pack gained four consecutive victories in its last six regular-season contests.

During that same time frame, only one other Wolfpack team has ever won five straight during its last six regular season games. The 1965 NC State squad is the only other team on that list that entered its last six games of the season with a losing record before winning at least four straight.

Besides NC State, there is no other team in the bowl subdivision ranks in 2007 that has started off so poorly and posted such a dramatic turnaround. NC State is the only squad that has started 1-5 and reached the .500 mark after 10 games. No other team in NC State history has ever started so poorly and ended up with a winning record. The 2005 squad started 2-4 and then went 4-1 in its last five games to earn a bowl bid, then won a bowl game to post a 7-5 final slate. In 1966, the Pack started 1-4, then went 4-1 to finish 5-5. The 1926 team started 1-5 and finished 3-1, but still posted a losing record for the season.

Only seven other teams have winning streaks longer than the Pack's.

His head coach, Tom O'Brien, calls him the "Energizer Bunny" and says "he keeps going and going." Defensive tackle DeMario Pressley, says "Eugene is the little engine that could. He won't stop. Ever." Offensive guard Kalani Heppe describes him as "a thoroughbred."

And anyone who saw his performance in the Wolfpack's victory over North Carolina last week would simply call him ‘the difference.' Jamelle Eugene has been a huge factor in NC State's second-half resurgence in 2007. After entering the season as the third-string tailback, he gained the starting job through injury, but is keeping it through competence.

The redshirt sophomore from Naples, Fla., rushed for 159 yards on 32 carries in the win over the Tar Heels - tying for the seventh-highest number of carries in school history. His 159 yards in that contest was a career-high and the most for a Wolfpack tailback since Toney Baker had 174 yards on November 11, 2006 in a loss at Clemson. He tallied 192 all-purpose yards in the contest, also catching six passes for another 33 yards. Eugene also scored three rushing TDs in the win against UNC, the highest for a Pack back versus a bowl championship division team since T.A. McLendon had five against Texas Tech in 2002.

In the last four games, Eugene has accounted for more than 100% of NC State's net rushing yards. He's netted 423 rushing yards in those contests (all Pack wins), while the team has netted just 410. Against UNC, he rushed 32 times without losing a single yard.

Eugene has gained 557 all-purpose yards in the last four games (over 139 yards per game). He has played an incredible 297 snaps in those four contests.

In addition to the Wolfpack's 4-0 start to the second half of the season in the win-loss column, several other numbers have improved for the Pack as well. The Wolfpack is scoring almost nine more points per game in the last four games than in the first six.

NC State has also averaged 2.5 less turnovers per game in the last four than in the first six contests, while forcing 1.4 more TOs per game.

One of the best personnel moves that the Wolfpack coaching staff decided to make during the open week was at the defensive end position. Instead of the ends lining up on the left or right side, they decided to put speedy sophomore Willie Young on the side away from the tight end - in other words, to let him operate "in space."

Space is definitely where Young belongs. In the last four games, Young has tallied nine tackles for loss, including six sacks and has pressured the opposing quarterback 19 times (including eight in the win over North Carolina).

The season didn't get off to a very good start for Daniel Evans, but then again, it didn't get off to a very good start for the entire Wolfpack team. After being named the starter before the season opener, Evans 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, and then started at Florida State when Beck couldn't go. But although he won the job back due to an injury, Evans has kept his starting job due to his competence.

In the last four games, all of which have been Wolfpack victories, Evans has averaged 279.5 (1,118) passing yards and has completed 58% (100-172) of his throws. He has thrown seven TD passes and been picked off just four times in those four games.

Evans has set career highs for completions (29 vs. ECU), yards (347 vs. UVa) and tied his mark for TD passes (3 vs. ECU and Virginia).

Two of the top 10 kickoff return men (in terms of average) in the Atlantic Coast Conference wear the red and white from State. Darrell Blackman currently ranks fifth in the league with a 24.0 yard per return mark, while Donald Bowens is seventh at 23.7.

The return tandem has combined for 955 yards of kickoff returns this season (NC State ranks second in the conference with 1,105 total return yards). Blackman was the hot return man in the first six games of the season, gaining 491 yards on 20 returns in that span. But in the last four contests, teams have kicked away from him, giving Bowens 12 returns for 284 yards in those four games.

On Saturday, November 3, he kicked the winning field goal in overtime to give the Wolfpack the rare gift of a victory in the Orange Bowl. On Monday the 5th, he was named ACC Specialist of the Week. On Tuesday the 6th, he interviewed at Tufts Dental School in Boston. And later that afternoon he was named a semi-finalist for the 2007 Lou Groza Award.

Pretty good for a guy who wasn't even on the Wolfpack's spring roster! In fact the whole year has been pretty good for Wolfpack placekicker Steven Hauschka, who is leading the ACC in field goal percentage with a 93.8 mark. Out of 100 players listed in the NCAA field goals per game list (where Hauschka ranks tied for 28th), his percentage is the fifth-best. In 10 games, Hauschka has connected on 15 of his 16 field goal attempts, including eight kicks in the last three games. He is 24-24 on his extra point attempts and has also kicked off 52 times with a dozen touchbacks.

Hauschka missed his only field goal of the season, a 29-yarder, in the second quarter of the Miami game, but more than made up for it, making kicks from 31, 35, 47 and 42 yards - including the game-winner in overtime. He kicked off five times in the contest, with four being 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 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.

After giving up a whopping 314 yards on the ground in the overtime win at Miami, the Wolfpack shut down North Carolina's running game on Saturday, limiting the Tar Heels to just 12 rushing yards - the fewest against the Pack since Wake Forest had -11 in 1998.

Since the halfway point of the season, NC State's defense has been very effective at shutting down either the pass OR the run, although not generally in the same game. While UNC couldn't buy yardage in its ground game, the Tar Heels did throw for 291 yards. While Miami ran up and down the field, the ‘Canes completed just one pass.

Wake Forest Game Notes And Depth Chart

NC State will have to guard against an emotional letdown coming off of a thrilling win over arch-rival UNC last weekend in Raleigh. Wake Forest boasts a solid offense, nationally ranked defense and opportunistic special teams. The Deacons have been a thorn in the Pack’s side over the last few years and Pack Pride takes a look at Wake’s football program.

Record 6-3 (4-3 ACC)

Wake Forest National Statistical Rankings

Rushing offense..72

Passing offense...89

Total offense...96

Rushing defense...30

Passing defense...63

Total defense...40

Click here for complete Wake Forest statistical rankings

Recap of Wake Forest’s last game from

Clemson 44 ... Wake Forest 10
Clemson scored on its first drive, getting a seven-yard Cullen Harper touchdown run, but Wake Forest was able to keep it close early with a two-yard Josh Adams touchdown run to pull within three. And then the rout was on. Clemson scored 17 straight points in the first half on two Harper touchdown passes, including the first of two to Aaron Kelley, and Mark Buchholz's second of three field goals. Wake Forest got on the board first in the second half with a 52-yard Sam Swank field goal, but the Tigers answered with a 90-yard C.J. Spiller kickoff return for a score to spark another 17-point Tiger run. Kelly set the Clemson record for touchdown catches in a season with 11.
Player of the game: Clemson QB Cullen Harper completed 27 of 35 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for seven yards and a score
Stat Leaders: Clemson - Passing: Cullen Harper, 27-35, 266 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: James Davis, 21-62. Receiving: Aaron Kelly,10-93, 2 TD
Wake Forest - Passing: Riley Skinner, 21-30, 170 yds, 1 INT
Micah Andrews, 10-42. Receiving: Josh Adams, 7-5
What does it all mean? ... Everything is humming at just the right time. Wake Forest is a very good team that that got its doors blown off early on. Now after a two-game losing streak a month ago, the Tigers are right in position to go play for the ACC title, needing to beat Boston College next week for the Atlantic title. The talk might start around an at-large BCS bid even if Clemson doesn't win the ACC championship, but wins over BC and South Carolina are needed for that to happen. If Cullen Harper keeps playing mistake-free football, that might happen. At the moment, he's the ACC Player of the Year.

Jim Grobe vs. In-State Opponents

• Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe has had remarkable success against in-state opponents.

• Under Grobe, the Deacons are 21-5 against North Carolina-based schools.

• Wake has won its last eight games against North Carolina institutions.

• The Deacons’ last loss to an in-state school was a 31-24 defeat vs. North Carolina on Nov. 13, 2004.

• In the ACC, the Deacs are 7-0 vs. Duke, 4-2 vs. UNC and 3-3 vs. NC State.

• Against non-ACC North Carolina schools, Wake is 5-0 vs. East Carolina, 1-0 vs. NC A&T and 1-0 vs. Appalachian.

• In 2006, Wake Forest swept the Tobacco Road Series by beating UNC, NC State and Duke for the first time since 1987.

Moore Nears School Reception Record

• WR Kenneth Moore is the ACC leader in receptions with 70, an average of 7.0 per game.

• Moore needs just three receptions to set the school record for receptions in a season.

• The current record is 72 held by Desmond Clark in 1997

• Moore will crack the ACC’s top 10 for season receptions with three more catches.

• He has four 100-yard games this season: 126 receiving yards vs. BC, 181 receiving yards vs. Navy, 119 rushing yards vs. Nebraska, and 100 receiving yards vs. Duke.

• Moore’s 15 receptions vs. BC and Navy tied the school record and is one shy of the ACC record.

• In 2007, Moore has scored three rushing touchdowns, five by reception and one punt return.

• He is the only player among the top 10 scorers in the ACC with a rushing, receiving and return TD.

Marion Nears KOR Record

• Wake Forest senior Kevin Marion is second in the ACC and 10th in the nation in kickoff returns

with a 30.6 average.

• Marion has 25 returns for 766 yards, an average of 30.6 yards per return.

• He is Wake Forest’s all-time leader in career kickoff return yards with 2,050.

• The previous record holder was John Stone (1998-2001) who had 1,906 career KOR yards.

• Marion has 85 career kickoff returns and is approaching the school career record of 87 set by

Anthony Williams (1988-91).

• Against North Carolina, Marion returned two kicks for 181 yards.

• His first kickoff return against the Tar Heels went for 98 yards and a touchdown, giving the Deacons a 17-3 lead in the second quarter.

• He added an 83-yard return early in the fourth quarter that gave WFU the ball at the UNC 14 and led to a Josh Adams touchdown run.

• Marion’s return for a score vs. UNC was the first by a Deac since John Stone went 93 yards vs.

Georgia Tech in 2001.

• Marion’s 98-yard return tied the BB&T Field record set by Myles Savage against Maryland in


Swank a Groza Semifinalist

• Wake Forest kicker Sam Swank has been named as one of 20 semifinalists for the prestigious Lou Groza Award presented by the FedEx Orange Bowl.

• Swank is Wake Forest’s all-time leading scorer with 265 points.

• He has converted 15 of 18 field goal tries this year and all 32 PAT attempts.

• The three finalists for the award will be announced on Monday, Nov. 19.

Adams Breaks Redshirt Freshman Marks

• Redshirt freshman RB Josh Adams owns a number of school records for redshirt freshmen.

• The Cary, NC native owns the redshirt freshman records for touchdowns (8) in a season and rushing touchdowns (7) in a season.

• Adams is Wake Forest’s all-time leader in rushing yards by a redshirt freshman with 692 yards.

Non-Offensive Touchdowns

• Wake Forest has nine non-offensive touchdowns this season. Wake and Hawaii are tied for the

national lead in non-offensive touchdowns.

• The latest came against North Carolina on Oct. 27 when Aaron Curry scored on a 77-yard

interception return and Kevin Marion returned a kickoff 98 yards.

• Alphonso Smith has accounted for three non-offensive touchdowns with interception returns.

Curry has two interception returns for scores.

• Chip Vaughn and Matt Robinson own fumble returns and Kenny Moore a punt return.

• Wake owns the ACC lead for non-offensive touchdowns with nine. Virginia Tech has seven..

• Under Jim Grobe, the Deacons have scored 31 non-offensive touchdowns in seven seasons.

• The Deacons have 18 interception returns for a touchdown under Grobe.

Scoring Spurts

Scoring spurts are usually associated with basketball but this season, Wake Forest has made a habit of going on a scoring run:

• WFU held a 10-3 lead over North Carolina on Oct. 27 before going on a 13-0 run.

• The Deacs fell behind Navy 17-14 in the second quarter then outscored the Midshipmen 30-7 over the final 40 minutes of the game.

• Trailing Florida State 14-7, Wake ran off 17 straight points to take a 24-14 lead before winning 24-21.

• At Duke on Oct. 6, the Deacons trailed 9-0 before scoring 34 consecutive points to lead 34-9 in the third quarter.

• At home with Maryland on Sept. 22, WFU trailed 24-3 before scoring 28 unanswered points to win 31-24 in OT.

Probable Offensive Starters:

QB 11 Riley Skinner R-So. Has 15 wins as starter, 2nd-best in school history

TB 27 Josh Adams R-Fr. School RS freshman rushing record with 692 yards

FB 18 De’Angelo Bryant R-Sr. Has career-high 14 receptions this season

WR 21 Kenny Moore R-Sr. Needs 3 catches to set school season record

WR 88 Chip Brinkman R-Jr. Has started six straight games

TE 84 Zac Selmon R-Sr. 33 career catches, NFF Scholarship semifinalist

LT 78 Louis Frazier R-Sr. Named Academic All-District 3 in 2007

LG 61 Barrett McMillin R-So. Made first career start at LG vs. Clemson

C 74 Steve Justice R-Sr. Top candidate for postseason honors on OL

RG 70 Chris DeGeare Jr. Has started 20of last 24 games at guard

RT 64 Jeff Griffin R-So. Started at RT vs. Clemson

Top Offensive Reserves:

TE 89 John Tereshinski R-Sr. Second on the team with career-high 25 catches

WR 14 Kevin Marion R-Sr. Fifth on the team with 15 catches

LG 79 Matthew Brim R-Sr. Limited playing time vs. Clemson with sprained ankle

QB 6 Brett Hodges R-So. Completed 9 of 12 passes vs. Army

RT 76 Joe Birdsong R-So. Out this week with a high ankle sprain

TB 3 Micah Andrews R-Sr. Team’s active career rush leader with 1,487 yds

Probable Defensive Starters:

DE 95 Zach Stukes R-Sr. Second in the ACC with 3 fumbles recovered

NG 96 Boo Robinson R-Fr. Made two tackles vs. Clemson

DE 42 Matt Robinson R-Sr. Received sixth year of eligibility for 2008

DE 98 Jeremy Thompson Sr. Named Academic All-District 3 in 2007

SAM59 Aaron Curry R-Jr. Six tackles vs. Clemson

MLB 43 Stanley Arnoux R-Jr. Third on the team with 44 tackles

WLB39 Chantz McClinic R-Jr. Six stops, 1 tackle for loss vs. Clemson

CB 2 Alphonso Smith R-Jr. Four interceptions, three touchdowns in 2007

FS 32 Aaron Mason R-Sr. Recorded a sack vs. Clemson

FS 9 Chip Vaughn R-Jr. Team tackle leader with 93

SS 10 Kevin Patterson R-Jr. Made five stops vs. Clemson

CB 17 Brandon Ghee R-So. Three pass breakups vs. Clemson

Top Defensive Reserves:

WLB56 Hunter Haynes R-Fr. Had four tackles vs. Virginia

LB 44 Mike Rinfrette R-So. 21 tackles, 2 PBU’s for former FB turned LB

DT 51 John Russell R-So. Led DL with six tackles vs. Clemson

CB 29 Kerry Major R-Jr. 21 tackles on the season

The Specialists

PK 38 Sam Swank R-Jr. Owns school scoring record with 265 points

P 38 Sam Swank R-Jr. ACC Special Teams Player of the Week Oct. 15

KR 14 Kevin Marion R-Jr. Second in ACC with 30.6 KOR average

KR 21 Kenny Moore R-Jr. First year returning kickoffs for Deacons

PR 21 Kenny Moore R-Jr. Career average of 12.2 yards per punt return

LS 92 Nick Jarvis Jr. Long snapper in each of the last 35 games

NC State Two-Deep Depth Chart

2007 NC State Depth Chart
7Daniel Evans6-2/191Jr.*
12Harrison Beck6-2/220Soph.*
29 Jamelle Eugene 5-10/195So.*
3 Curtis Underwood, Jr. 5-11/215Fr.
46 Pat Bedics 6-1/250Sr.*
26 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
60 Meares Green6-4/295Jr.*
76 Curtis Crouch 6-5/324Jr.
Right Tackle
50 Jeraill McCuller6-7/330So.*
61 Matt White6-6/360Jr.*

Special Teams
Place Kicker
27Steven Hauschka6-3/190Sr.*
36Josh Czajkowski5-9/178Fr.*
26Bradley Pierson5-9/163Jr.*
38Jeff Ruiz6-2/185So.
Long Snapper
56Corey Tedder6-1/212So.
26Bradley Pierson5-9/163Jr.*
7Daniel Evans6-2/191Jr.*
Kick Returner
2 Darrell Blackman 5-11/210Sr.
80 Donald Bowens 6-3/206So.
Punt Returner
2 Darrell Blackman 5-11/210Sr.
29 Jamelle Eugene 5-10/195So.*
Right Defensive End
41 Martrel Brown 6-2/265Sr.*
62 Markus Kuhn 6-5/275Fr.
Left Defensive Tackle
92 DeMario Pressley 6-4/293Sr.
93 John Bedics 6-4/295Jr.*
Right Defensive Tackle
49 Alan-Michael Cash 6-1/286So.*
91 Teddy Larsen 6-2/285So.*
Left Defensive End
97 Willie Young 6-4/230So.*
98 Littleton Wright 6-6/248Sr.*
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
56 Nate Irving 6-1/227Fr.*
52 LeRue Rumph 6-1/227Sr.*
Left Cornerback
30 Jeremy Gray 6-2/186Jr.*
8 Jimmie Sutton 5-11/181Sr.*
Strong Safety
14 J.C. Neal 5-11/195Jr.
34Robbie Leonard 6-0/194Jr.*
Free Safety
7 DaJuan Morgan 6-1/206Jr.*
25 Miguel Scott 6-1/195 Jr.
21 DeAndre Morgan 5-10/166Fr.*
24Phillip Holloman 5-11/194Sr.*

Thanks to NC State and Wake Forest Athletics for much of the information in this preview.

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