Saturday, November 24, 2007
Raleigh, North Carolina
NC State Game Notes
NC STATE VERSUS MARYLAND
The series with Maryland dates back to 1909, with the two teams meeting every year since 1956. The rivalry has been a close one through the years, as evidenced by the 30-29-4 series record. NC State holds a two-win advantage in Raleigh, while the Terrapins have two more wins in College Park. The Wolfpack last lost five of the last seven games to Maryland, but prior to that streak had won eight of nine.
TURNOVERS DETERMINE VICTORY IN LAST TWO MATCHUPS
In the past two matchups, victory between the Wolfpack and Terrapins have been determined by which team could hold onto the ball better. Maryland won last year's contest versus NC State, 26-20, despite an outstanding defensive performance by the Wolfpack, which surrendered just 280 total yards. The score at the half was just 6-0 in the Terrapins' favor, but the Pack came out and turned the ball over on its first two snaps from scrimmage to start the second half - both of which Maryland converted following short drives for touchdowns. Those two TDs were the only ones the Terps scored in the whole contest, although one of their four field goals also came after getting the ball in State territory following an INT. In 2005, with bowl eligibility for both teams on the line, it was the Wolfpack that was the beneficiary of turnovers, taking advantage of four Maryland miscues. With NC State holding a slight 10-7 lead after three quarters, Wolfpack cornerback Marcus Hudson wrestled the ball from a Maryland receiver and returned it 28 yards for a score. On Maryland's next drive, Mario Williams had one of his school record four sacks, forcing a fumble to set up a 29-yard John Deraney field goal. Maryland would score again to put the score at 20-14 in the Pack's favor late in the game and was driving for a potential win, when Hudson picked off his second pass to seal the victory.
DEJA VU FOR PACK AND TERPS
It's Thanksgiving weekend. NC State has rebounded from a dismal early season performance and is now looking for an even record. The Wolfpack is playing Maryland. The game is in Raleigh. The winner of the game is bowl eligible. The loser's season is over. Sound like a familiar scenario? That's because almost the exact same events unfurled two seasons ago. In 2005, the Pack opened the season 2-4, then won three of its next four to post a 5-5 record heading into a Thanksgiving weekend. The opponent was Maryland and the winner was going to a bowl game. Hopefully, the result will be just as similar - NC State won that game, 20-14, to earn a bid to the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte.
CLOSE GAMES BETWEEN NC STATE AND MARYLAND
The last seven contests between NC State and Maryland (five of which the Wolfpack has lost) have all gone down to the wire, with the average margin of victory being just 5.4 points. NC State's 10-point win at College Park in 2004 was the largest margin in those last seven games. In 2000, the teams went into double-overtime 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, in 2005 to become bowl eligible in the final game of the season. And last season, the Pack turned the ball over three times to give the Terrapins a short field and easy scores, as NC State fell 20-26 in College Park.
WOLFPACK SUFFERS FIRST LOSS OF (NEW) SEASON
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 4-1 in the ‘new season,' posts a 5-6 record for the year and a 3-4 mark in conference play - winning three ACC games in a row before losing to Wake Forest. 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. On November 10, State broke a three-game losing streak against rival North Carolina.
REVERSAL OF FORTUNES
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 or even 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.
Maryland Game Notes And Depth Chart
NC State enters it’s final game of the season on Saturday needing a win to become bowl eligible. The Pack will square off against the Maryland Terrapins who are also looking for that all-important sixth win. Pack Pride takes an in-depth look at the Maryland football program.
Record 5-6 (2-5 ACC)
Maryland National Statistical Rankings
Recap of Maryland’s last game versus Florida State from Collegefootballnews.com
Florida State 24 ... Maryland 16
Florida State jumped out to a 21-3 first half lead with Drew Weatherford running for a one-yard score and throwing a ten-yard touchdown pass to DeCody Fagg, but the star of the show was Preston Parker, who ran for an 18-yard score in the first half and finished with 133 yards. Maryland pulled within eight on a 14-yard Darrius Heyward-Bey catch late in the third quarter, but the Noles got a 30-yard Gary Cismesia field goal to get comfortably ahead. The two teams combined to convert just five of 27 third down chances.
Player of the game: Florida State RB Preston Parker ran 20 times for 133 yards and a touchdown and caught a pass for 21 yards
Stat Leaders: Florida State - Passing: Drew Weatherford, 16-26, 204 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Preston Parker, 20-133, 1 TD. Receiving: DeCody Fagg, 4-68, 1 TD
Maryland - Passing: Chris Turner, 16-32, 242 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Keon Lattimore, 13-46. Receiving: Darrius Heyward-Bey, 5-82, 1 TD
What does it all mean? ... Where's the Maryland running game that worked so well at times against Boston College last week? Florida State was able to close down the Terp ground game and force Chris Turner to start bombing away. While Turner was effective for stretches, he wasn't consistent enough to pull off the road upset. With four losses in five weeks, a win over NC State is needed to just be bowl eligible, but at this point, this is still a mega-disappointment of a year no matter what happens. To beat the Wolfpack, the offense has to start getting more touchdowns instead of settling for field goals. Things can't keep bogging down.
The Terps offense, which was been decimated by injuries (only three players have started all 11 games) ranks sixth in the ACC (340.1 yards per game), but has averaged 403.5 yards over the last two weeks, including a season-best 472 total yards vs. Boston College (Nov. 10). Seniors Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore combine to average nearly 140 rushing yards per game. Lattimore ranks fourth in the ACC and 66th nationally in rushing (75.5 ypg), and has tallied a league-best 11 rushing TDs. NC State enters the weekend 64th nationally in total defense (387.4 ypg), including
11th in the ACC. Despite playing behind an offensive line which is without two starters, sophomore QB Chris Turner has been solid for the Terps. Turner, who stepped under center for junior Jordan Steffy (injured vs. Rutgers), ranks third in the ACC is passing effi ciency (134.8 rating) while starting the last six games. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, a freshman All-American in 2006, leads the Terps in receptions (42) and receiving yards (640). He has 15 catches over the last three weeks. Guards Andrew Crummey and Jaimie Thomas are out with fractured fibulas, while left tackle Scott Burley has missed quite a bit of the last four games with ankle woes. A preseason All-American, Crummey may return this weekend, while Thomas is out for the season.
The Maryland Defense
The Terps rank 48th nationally in total defense (365.6 ypg) and 39th in scoring defense (23.55 ppg). The Maryland defense stepped up against Boston College, sacking Heisman candidate Matt Ryan a season-high four times and holding the Eagles to just 45 rushing yards. The Terps also held the Florida State offense in check for most of last week’s game. FSU scored on its fi rst three drives, but then was forced to punt in each of its next eight possessions.
The Terps have two of the top tacklers in the country in junior linebackers Erin Henderson and Dave Philistin, who rank sixth (11.6) and tied for 31st (10.1), respectively, in the nation in tackles per game. Henderson has led the team in tackles each game except last week despite being hampered by injuries for the last six weeks. Henderson was a preseason All-American and a Butkus Award semifi nalist. Senior tackle Dre Moore has a team-high six sacks, including four in the last fi ve games. Moore has also averaged 7.2 tackles in his last fi ve contests. Junior cornerback Kevin Barnes has led the secondary with four of the team’s 11 interceptions.
Terrapins Special Teams
The Terps special teams has distinguished itself well after 11 games despite three new starters. True freshman Travis Baltz and junior place-kicker Obi Egekeze are both in their fi rst season as starters. Baltz ranks eighth in the ACC in punting average (41.2), including second (43.2) in league contests. Egekeze has hit 14 of 19 fi eld goals, with two of the misses coming from beyond 50 yards. Redshirt freshman Da’Rel Scott, a backup running back, has been the No. 1 kickoff return man, though he was slowed by injuries earlier in the year. He’s averaging 21.5 yards per
return, including a career-high 33.0 vs. FSU. Scott has also averaged 20.6 yards per touch this season. Junior Danny Oquendo was the lone returning specialist. SS Christian Varner has taken over as the No. 1 punt returner due to a season-ending knee injury to Oquendo. The Terps rank second in the country in kickoff return yardage defense (16.7 ypr) and 41st in punt return yardage defense (7.3 ypr).
Maryland Quick Hitters
Maryland is looking to become bowl eligible for fifth time in seven years under coach Ralph Friedgen.
• The Terps have won each of their last three bowl games. Maryland must defeat NC State to have any chance at gaining one of the eight available ACC bowl slots. There are currently seven teams bowl eligible in the conference and three at 5-6 (also Miami).
• The Terps have won fi ve of their last seven vs. NC State, including a 26-20 victory last season in College Park. Only one of the last seven games between the teams has been decided by more than seven points. In the Terps’ last visit to Raleigh in 2005, NC State downed Maryland, 13-3.
• Maryland has faced three top 10 teams this season and has gone 2-1 in those contests. This is the first time in school history the Terps have defeated two top-10 teams in the same season. It’s also just the second year in school history the Terps have faced three top-10 teams in the same season (also 1982). They lost to No. 4 West Virginia, 31-14, on Sept. 13, downed No. 10 Rutgers, 34-24, on Sept. 29, and defeated No. 8 Boston College (Nov. 10).
• According to the NCAA, the Terps’ 2007 schedule is tied for 11th-most diffi cult in the nation, based on records of past opposition (55-38/.591) and 21st-toughest based on the marks of all foes (54-40/.574).
• With Lance Ball’s rushing TD vs. Boston College (Nov. 10), Keon Lattimore and Ball became the second duo in school history to each post 10 or more rushing touchdowns in the same season. Lattimore has 11 rushing scores (fi rst in the ACC), while Ball has 10 (second in the league). Bruce Perry and Marc Riley each had 10 during the 2001 campaign.
• Ball could move into fourth place on the school’s career rushing chart (see pg. 5) this weekend. He currently has 2,404 career rushing yards which is sixth on the list. He needs 13 yards to reach fifth place (2,417/Rick Badjanek, 1982-85) and 20 yards for fourth place (2,424/Bruce Perry, 1999, 2001-03). He became the ninth back in school history to go over 2,000 career rushing yards with his team-high 86 yards in the win over Georgia Tech (Oct. 6).
• With 46 rushing yards vs. FSU (Nov. 17), Lattimore moved from 15th to 14th on the Maryland career rushing list (pg. 5). Art Seymore (1970-72, 1,611) was 14th. With 51 yards on the ground vs. Clemson (Oct. 27), Lattimore moved up two spots passing Alvin Maddox (1975-78, 1,571) and Bren Lowery (1986-89, 1,611). Lattimore has 1,694 career rushing yards.
• Darrius Heyward-Bey ranks 13th on Maryland’s career receiving yards list (1,334) and has a chance to move into the top 10 before season’s end despite just 24 games at the position (see chart on pg. 6). He moved from 19th to 15th with 75 yards vs. Boston College (Nov. 10). He needs 74 yards to reach 10th on the list.
TERPS BATTLE THROUGH INJURIES...
The Terps have been hit by the injury bug in some key areas this season, mostly noticeably on offense where just three players have started all 11 games.
RG Andrew Crummey, a preseason All-American, has missed the last fi ve games with a fractured left fi bula (vs. Georgia Tech, Oct. 6). He hopes to return before the regular season ends. Starting left guard Jaimie Thomas was lost for the season when he fractured his right fibula vs. Virginia (Oct. 20). TE Dan Gronkowski left the Clemson game (Oct. 27) with a knee injury and missed two contests before returing vs. Florida State (Nov. 17). FB Cory Jackson played
most of the Virginia game with a broken hand and missed the Clemson contest. He returned vs. UNC (Nov. 3) and has played with a wrap on his hand since the injury. Starting LT Scott Burley has played the last four weeks, but sparingly due to an ankle injury. His backup, true freshman Bruce Campbell, has also been on and off the fi eld with an ankle injury. Redshirt freshman Paul Pinegar, a walk-on, has replaced both of them. Most recently, WR Danny Oquendo injured a knee in practice prior to the BC game and is gone for the season. Fellow wideout LaQuan Williams hurt his knee in practice last week and is out the rest of the regular season. On defense, reserve DT Travis Ivey missed three weeks with a knee injury, but returned vs. BC. LB Rick Costa, who was starting for an injured Erin Henderson, incurred a sprained neck vs. the Yellow Jackets and is out indefi ntely. QB Jordan Steffy sat out vs. Georgia Tech and Virginia after suffering a concussion vs. Rutgers (Sept. 29). He was cleared to play prior to the Clemson game
and played two series vs. FSU. Some key reserves are also on the shelf. Pass-rushing DE Mack Frost injured his right knee vs. the Cavaliers and is out for the season. Junior Drew Robinson, a backup safety and special teams player, is out for the season with a knee injury, one he suffered vs. the Tar Heels. The Terps also lost Alex Wujciak, who was expected to vie for one of the starting linebacker roles, during the preseason. In all, 16 members of the two-deep have missed at least one game this season due to injury. That number does not include Burley even though he
was in on just three plays vs. Clemson (Oct. 27).
X 8 Darrius Heyward-Bey 6-2 206 So.-1V
7 Adrian Cannon 6-2 204 Fr.-RS
LT 77 Scott Burley 6-5 324 Jr.-2V
or 74 Bruce Campbell 6-7 285 Fr.-HS
or 71 Paul Pinegar 6-3 277 Fr.-RS
LG 72 Phil Costa 6-3 297 So.-SQ
71 Paul Pinegar 6-3 277 Fr.-RS
C 60 Edwin Williams 6-2 326 Jr.-2V
65 Danny Edwards 6-1 276 Fr.-RS
RG 67 Jack Griffi n 6-7 308 Jr.-2V
71 Paul Pinegar 6-3 277 Fr.-RS
70 Lamar Young 6-4 285 Fr.-HS
RT 75 Dane Randolph 6-5 312 Jr.-2V
67 Jack Griffi n 6-7 308 Jr.-2V
73 Stephen St. John 6-6 285 Fr.-HS
TE 80 Joey Haynos 6-8 260 Sr.-3V
13 Dan Gronkowski 6-6 263 Jr.-1V
45 Tommy Galt 6-5 263 So.-SQ
QB 10 Chris Turner 6-3 214 So.-SQ
19 Jordan Steffy 6-1 209 Jr.-2V
11 Jamarr Robinson 6-0 184 Fr.-HS
TB 44 Lance Ball 5-9 223 Sr.-2V
21 Keon Lattimore 5-11 223 Sr.-3V
23 Da’Rel Scott 5-11 192 Fr.-RS
20 Morgan Green 5-11 207 Fr.-RS
FB 38 Cory Jackson 6-1 253 So-1V
47 Haroon Brown 5-11 240 Fr.-HS
46 Steven Pfi ster 6-2 234 So.-SQ
Z 84 Isaiah Williams 6-3 197 Jr.-2V
87 Kevin Gresham 5-11 174 Jr.-SQ
Slot 83 Emani Lee-Odai 6-3 197 Fr.-RS
89 Matt Goldberg 6-2 193 Sr.-SQ
H 15 Jason Goode 6-3 238 Sr.-3V
86 Drew Gloster 6-3 244 Fr.-RS
RG 63 Andrew Crummey 6-5 301 Sr.-3V
LG 76 Jaimie Thomas 6-4 339 Jr.-2V
WR 17 Danny Oquendo 6-0 193 Jr.-2V
WR 18 LaQuan Williams 6-1 184 Fr.-RS
DE 40 Jeremy Navarre 6-3 262 Jr.-2V
57 Jared Harrell 6-5 248 So.-SQ
DT 68 Carlos Feliciano 6-5 307 Sr.-3V
40 Jeremy Navarre 6-3 262 Jr.-2V
97 Dean Muhtadi 6-3 289 Jr.-TR
DT 92 Dre Moore 6-4 311 Sr.-3V
90 Travis Ivey 6-5 315 So.-SQ
96 Olugbemi Otulaja 6-1 278 Jr.-TR
or 56 Deege Galt 6-4 263 So.-SQ
LEO 55 Trey Covington 6-3 240 Jr.-2V
50 Jermaine Lemons 6-2 251 Sr.-SQ
47 Jeff Clement 6-2 246 So.-SQ
MIKE 34 Dave Philistin 6-2 231 Jr.-2V
42 Chase Bullock 6-2 234 Jr.-SQ
WILL 1 Erin Henderson 6-3 236 Jr.-1V
54 Adrian Moten 6-2 221 Fr.-RS
52 Chris Clinton 6-2 259 Fr.-RS
SAM 48 Moise Fokou 6-1 225 Jr.-1V
54 Adrian Moten 6-2 221 Fr.-RS
CB 5 Isaiah Gardner 5-11 197 Sr.-2V
6 Anthony Wiseman 5-9 187 So.-1V
9 Richard Taylor 5-11 193 Jr.-2V
FS 30 J.J. Justice 6-2 222 Sr.-3V
10 Terrell Skinner 6-2 214 So.-1V
4 Jamari McCollough 5-11 206 So.-SQ
SS 3 Christian Varner 5-11 205 Sr.-3V
29 Jeff Allen 6-1 192 Jr.-2V
27 Dominique Herald 5-11 185 Fr.-HS
CB 2 Kevin Barnes 6-1 188 Jr.-2V
14 Nolan Carroll 6-1 201 So.-1V
25 Colin Nelson 5-10 183 Sr.-SQ
DE 91 Mack Frost 6-5 252 Jr.-2V
LB 43 Rick Costa 6-1 238 Jr.-1V
LB 33 Alex Wujciak 6-3 248 Fr.-RS
SS 22 Drew Robinson 5-10 197 Jr.-TR
Maryland Football Notes: at North Carolina State (Nov. 24)
PK 39 Obi Egekeze 6-2 224 Jr.-1V
35 Travis Baltz 6-2 200 Fr.-HS
KO 49 Chris Roberts 6-1 198 Sr.-2V
35 Travis Baltz 6-2 200 Fr.-HS
39 Obi Egekeze 6-2 224 Jr.-1V
P 35 Travis Baltz 6-2 200 Fr.-HS
49 Chris Roberts 6-1 198 Sr.-2V
PR 3 Christian Varner 5-11 205 Sr.-3V
6 Anthony Wiseman 5-9 187 So.-1V
KR 23 Da’Rel Scott 5-11 192 Fr.-RS
6 Anthony Wiseman 5-9 187 So.-1V
H 89 Matt Goldberg 6-2 193 Jr.-SQ
13 Dan Gronkowski 6-6 263 Jr.-1V
LS 31 Andrew Schmitt 6-0 236 Jr.-2V
SS 53 Brendan McDermond 6-2 265 Sr.-2V
NC State Two-Deep Depth Chart
|2007 NC State Depth Chart|
Thanks to NC State and North Carolina Athletics for much of the information in this preview.