Gameday: NC State vs. William & Mary

NC State (0-1) returns home tonight to face William & Mary (0-0) in the home opener for the Wolfpack. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina.

NC State (0-1) vs. William & Mary (0-0)
Saturday, September 6, 2008
6:00 pm (EST)
Raleigh, NC
Carter-Finley Stadium

NC State Links
Official Site
Roster
2008 Statistics
Game Notes

William & Mary Links
William & Mary Official Site
Roster
2007 Statistics
Game Notes


NC State Game Notes

WILSON SUFFERS CONCUSSION IN OPENER
Starting quarterback Russell Wilson suffered a Grade Three Concussion in the second quarter of the season opening loss to South Carolina and was transported to Richland Memorial Hospital. It was determined at the hospital that Wilson suffered no injury to his spinal cord.

EVANS UNDER CENTER
Graduate quarterback Daniel Evans will get the start against William & Mary on Saturday, the third season that the veteran has started at least one contest. He started nine games as a redshirt sophomore then eight games last season.

Daniel Evans

Evans is 6-11 overall and 4-5 at Carter-Finley Stadium. Evans won four straight last season. He is 1-2 against non-conference opponents, with a win against East Carolina and a loss against Central Florida in 2007. He also lost to ECU in 2006.

Evans needs just 90 yards passing for 4,000 in his career, which would make him just the seventh quarterback in school history to reach that mark.

He currently ranks fifth in school history in pass completions, seventh in yards, ninth in percentage and 15th in pass efficiency.

NC STATE VERSUS WILLIAM & MARY
NC State will open its 2008 home slate against the William & Mary Tribe. The Wolfpack holds an 11-8 all time record in the series, including a 9-3 mark in Raleigh and a perfect 2-0 record at Carter-Finley Stadium.

The Pack has outscored the Tribe 80-9 in the two meetings in Carter-Finley Stadium, a 38-9 win in 1999 and a 42-0 shutout in 1980.

The two teams met 14 times in 19 years from 1940 until 1958, but didn't meet again until 1980.

NC State is 64-12-3 all-time in home openers.

WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?
Senior running back Andre Brown's performance was perhaps the lone offensive highlight for the Wolfpack in the loss to South Carolina.

Andre Brown

Brown ran for 101 yards on 21 carries for his sixth career 100-yard rushing effort, tied for ninth in school history with the legendary Dick Christy. Brown now has 1,873 yards rushing, good for 11th all-time in school history. He ranks fourth in the league in rushing and 34th nationally after the first round of games.

Brown needs just 48 yards to move into 10th place all-time, and 127 yards for 2,000 career rushing yards.

The senior from Greenville, N.C. ranks second in the ACC among active players in career yards and rushing touchdowns (15).

IF YOU TRAVEL, YOU WILL PLAY
True to head coach Tom O'Brien's comments during the week, nearly every NC State player on the South Carolina travel roster played. Only eight players did not see action out of the 66 players who made the trip, and one of those was freshman quarterback Mike Glennon, who the coaches plan on redshirting.

Twenty-two players saw their first career action for NC State, including four true freshmen - wide receiver/returner T.J. Graham, fullback Taylor Gentry and linebacker's Dwayne Maddox and Sterling Lucas.

‘FOUR' THE FIRST TIME
NC State's pass defense was solid for most of the night against South Carolina, allowing just 106 yards through the first three quarters and picking off four passes.

DeAndre Morgan
The four interceptions are tied for the second-most nationally. Each of the four interceptions had a common theme - it was the interceptor's first of their career.

In fact, redshirt freshman Jimmaul Simmons had his pick on his first career play, which came on third down of the Gamecock's first drive.

Redshirt Justin Byers added an interception in his first career game. A pair of redshirt sophomores - linebacker Nate Irving and DeAndre Morgan - each had the first pick of their careers.

SPENCER LEADING RECEIVER
Granted, NC State only had five pass receptions for 49 yards in the opener, but sophomore Owen Spencer led the team with three of those five catches and 27 of the yards.

The speedy Spencer, from Leland, N.C., had just five catches for 73 yards as a true freshman, and didn't have more than a single catch in a game last year.

IRVING, LINEBACKERS LEAD DEFENSE
The NC State linebackers are an inexperienced bunch, as outlined in the note below. The three starters against South Carolina - Nate Irving, Robbie Leonard and Ray Michel - had combined for just five career starts heading into the opener.

Nate Irving

All three responded to the challenge and were the leading tacklers in the contest for the Pack. Irving led the team with 10 tackles, including two for loss and his first career interception.

Leonard notched nine tackles in his first ever game as a linebacker and had two quarterback hurries.

Michel had eight tackles and a quarterback pressure.

LINEBACKER EXPERIENCE
The six players listed on the two-deep at linebacker have combined for just eight career starts, and redshirt sophomore Nate Irving has five of them. Redshirt junior Ray Michel has started two.

Redshirt senior Robbie Leonard, a former walkon, not only has never PLAYED linebacker in a collegiate game until the opener against South Carolina, but the converted safety had played in only 12 games from scrimmage in his career.

He earned his first start at linebacker against USC and had nine tackles and two QB hurries.

PACK DEFENSE SOLID
Before fatigue set in after being on the field for 10 full minutes longer than the offense against South Carolina, defensive coordinator Mike Archer had to have been pleased with the performance.

Markus Kuhn

NC State allowed 369 total yards, but 208 of those came in the fourth quarter alone as cramps and bad field position took its toll. Through the first three quarters, NC State had allowed just 55 rushing yards and 106 yards through the air.

The 2007 unit allowed over 186 yards on the ground - last in the ACC - and was 11th in the league in total defense. Against USC, NC State allowed just 198 passing yards and intercepted a leaguehigh four passes in the game. Those four picks were the most since 2000.

The defensive unit also notched five sacks in the game, tied for second nationally.

SPEEDY GRAHAM
Freshman wideout T.J. Graham has instantly added speed to the Wolfpack. Graham won the North Carolina 4-A title in the 100 and 200 meters with times of 10.44 and 20.82, respectively. He also posted the nation's fastest time in the 200 meters at one point during the season.

In 2007, Graham finished third nationally in the 100 meters at the Nike Nationals.

Graham was back as a punt returner and in on kickoff return, in addition to earning the start at wide receiver. He returned two kickoffs for 42 yards and caught the first pass of his career, a 10-yard reception.

YOUNG IN SPACE
One of the best personnel moves that the Wolfpack coaching staff decided to make last season was at the defensive end position midseason.

Willie Young

Instead of the ends lining up on the left or right side, they decided to put speedy 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 six games, Young tallied 12 tackles for loss, including six sacks and pressured the opposing quarterback 20 times (including eight in the win over North Carolina).

Young tallied 16 tackles for loss for the season, the seventh-best mark in school history and was one more than #1 NFL pick Mario Williams had for the second-best mark ever for a Wolfpack sophomore.

The talented redshirt junior posted four tackles, including 1 1/2 sacks and two quarterback hurries in the season opener.

KICKERS LOOK FOR A PLACE
For the second straight season, NC State will have a new player handling the placekicking duties in 2008.

Last season, the man who would end up with his name in the Wolfpack record books wasn't even in the preseason media guide. Steven Hauschka came to the Wolfpack as a graduate student after earning his degree from Middlebury College.

He ended up leading the ACC in field goal percentage (.889, 16-18), tying for sixth in NC State history. He was also a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award. He went from not even being on the roster, to signing an NFL free agent deal with the Minnesota Vikings, and now with the Baltimore Ravens.

Redshirt sophomore Josh Czajkowski will handle the kicking duties after solid spring and fall camps. Senior Bradley Pierson, who took over as the Wolfpack's starting punter in the third game of last season, will back up Czajkowski and also punt.

Although Pierson had punted 62 times heading into 2008, neither player has ever kicked off, kicked a PAT or a field goal in a college game until South Carolina.

Czajkowski missed his first career field goal attempt - 49 yards - but didn't have any other kicking chances. Pierson averaged 42.7 yards per punt, the best single-game average in his career, against South Carolina. He handled the kickoffs as well, booting his only attempt of the opener to the goal line.


William & Mary Game Notes And Depth Chart

Record (0-0)

William and Mary Final National Statistical Rankings FCS (2007)

Rushing offense...95

Passing offense...12

Total offense...40

Rushing defense...108

Passing defense...12

Total defense...83

All-Time Series With N.C. State

Series Record: N.C. State leads, 11-8

Series Record in Williamsburg: W&M leads, 4-2

Series Record in Raleigh: N.C. State leads, 9-3

Series Record at Neutral Sites: W&M leads, 1-0

First Meeting: 1906; N.C. State won, 40-0, in Raleigh

Heading Home

Saturday’s game at N.C. State will be a homecoming of sorts for five Tribe players who are natives of the Tar Heel state. While none of group is from Raleigh, senior captain Derek Cox is from Winterville, which is located approximately 85 miles southeast of the capital city. W&M’s other North Carolina natives are Robert Livingston (Hendersonville), Wes Steinman (Wilmington), Josh Thompson (Charlotte) and Rob Varno (Wilmington).

Team Notes

The Tribe offense returns the services of senior all-conference quarterback Jake Phillips to lead an attack that averaged 29 points and nearly 400-yards of total off ense (396.2) a contest in 2007. The team hopes to continue the upward trend started last season, which saw the squad improve radically over the 2006 unit (which produced ‘just’ 19.0 points and 339.4 yds/contest).

The Tribe faithful have reason for continued optimism, as eight other players return with Phillips from last season’s unit, including fellow senior and returning all-conference performer, wide receiver Elliott Mack (Irvington, NJ). Including Mack, the unit returns six of its top seven receivers from a year ago.

Though not available for this Saturday’s contest, sophomore tailback Courtland Marriner is the top rusher from a season ago (518 yards on 115 attempts) and leads a ground game that returns all but 207 yards of the 1,299 total rushing yards from 2007.

With the wealth of skill positions coming back to the fold, much of the attention will fall on the team’s offensive front to provide the power behind what promises to be an electric Tribe attack.

A solid, experienced foundation is in place between the tackles, as both guards (Michael Grant and CJ Muse) and the center (Luke Hiteshew) return from last season. The team will turn to youth on the bookends, as it will see talented redshirt freshman Jake Marcey and rising sophomore Keith Hill making their fi rst and second career starts, respectively, against the Wolfpack.

Defensive Notes

With the return of nine starters on the defensive side, William and Mary will look to improve upon the number of points it surrendered a season ago. The ‘07 edition of the Tribe allowed a school-record 427 points (38.8 ppg), breaking the previous mark established 333 (30.3 ppg) during the 1982 season.

Leading W&M’s group of veterans are senior captain all-conference cornerback Derek Cox and senior captain linebacker Josh Rutter. A third-team all-league selection in ‘07, Cox led the Tribe with three interceptions last year. Additionally, he ranked tied for sixth on the team with 51 total tackles.

After starting all 11 games and ranking seventh in the conference in tackles per game as a freshman, Rutter missed most of ‘06 with a knee injury he suff ered in the VMI game. He returned last season to rank second on the team with 95 total tackles and led the squad with three recovered fumbles. His 8.7 tackles per game ranked 11th in the CAA.

Also expected to help anchor the College’s defense is junior defensive back David Caldwell. The Montclair, N.J., native led W&M and ranked sixth in the conference with 9.7 tackles per game during the 2007 campaign. Caldwell also ranked second on the team with 5.5 tackles for a loss.

First Start

If the current two-deep holds for the remainder of the week, the Tribe will have as many as seven players making their first collegiate starts on Saturday evening. On the offensive side of the ball, junior tight end Rob Varno joins redshirt freshman left tackle Jake Marcey and sophomore tailback Terrence Riggins as fi rst-time starters.

Redshirt freshmen Harold Robertson (DT) and Jake Trantin (LB) will see the fi eld for the fi rst time as collegians, while sophomore defensive backs Ben Cottingham (CB) and Michael Alvarado (S) will each get the starting nod for the fi rst time.

As was previously stated, Riggins received significant playing time during the fi nal three games of the 2007 season (after injuries depleted the backfi eld of both its first and second-string tailbacks).

While Saturday will be Varno’s fi rst start, he was the top reserve at TE a year ago and saw action in all 11 games (making 11 grabs for 115 yards). Cottingham, a walk-on to the program in 2006, worked his way into a key reserve role at cornerback last season and fi nished the year with a pair of interceptions against conference rival Richmond.

Top-Notch Competition

The game with N.C. State will mark the 11th-consecutive year the College has faced an opponent from the FBS (formerly Division I-A), which is the longest current streak in the CAA. In the last 22 years, the Tribe has faced more than 25 I-A opponents, including 23 from the current BCS conferences. The last W&M win over an FBS opponent was in 1998, when the Tribe downed

Temple, 45-38. Here is a quick look at W&M’s last 11 games against a FBS opponent:

2007: at Virginia Tech, L 44-3

2006: at Maryland, L 27-14

2005: at Marshall, L, 36-24

2004: at North Carolina, L, 49-38

2003: at Western Michigan, L, 56-24

2002: at Indiana, L, 25-17

2001: at East Carolina, L, 38-23

2000: at Central Florida, L, 52-7

1999: at N.C. State, L, 38-9

1998: at Temple, W, 45-38

1996: at Central Florida, L, 39-33

Offensive Depth Chart: N.C. State Game

Pos. No. Name Elg. Ht. Wt. Notes

WR 2 Elliott Mack SR 6-0 195 All-CAA Third Team in ‘07 with team-high 46 catches for 849 yards

15 Chase Hill SO 6-2 192 Converted quarterback who switched to receiver last spring

WR 4 D.J. McAulay JR 5-11 180 Suff ered season-ending injury in opener against Delaware in ‘07

81 Cameron Dohse SO 6-0 177 Had 31 catches for 557 yards and fifi ve TDs in ‘07

TE/HB 98 Rob Varno JR 6-5 218 Key reserve last season

83 Gareth Hissong SO 6-3 252 Makes move to TE after beginning career as a DL

LT 77 Jake Marcey RFR 6-4 308 Earns starting position as red-shirt freshman

62 Thomas McCutcheon JR 6-5 325 Enters season looking to gain fifi rst signififi cant playing experience

LG 79 Michael Grant SR 6-5 296 Started all 11 games at left guard last season

67 Kyle Allison SO 6-2 300 Scout team in ‘07; switched from DT to LG last fall

C 53 Luke Hiteshew SR 6-1 304 Two-years of starting experience; team’s strongest lineman

75 Eric O’Brien SR 6-1 270 Hard-working reserve who will challenge for playing time

RG 56 C.J. Muse JR 6-4 315 Two years of starting experience

62 Thomas McCutcheon JR 6-5 325 Enters season looking to gain fifi rst signififi cant playing experience

RT 72 Keith Hill SO 6-4 315 Promising young lineman with ability to have major impact

63 Chris Sutton RFR 6-2 267 Member of the scout team last season

QB 11 Jake Phillips SR 6-3 209 All-CAA Third Team in ‘07 with 2,801 passing yards and 19 TDs

16 R.J. Archer JR 6-2 218 Starting WR last season; second on team with 39 catches

 

RB 43 Jimmy Hobson SO 5-11 226 Two rushes for eight yards last season; squad’s top true FB

33 Tom Schonder SO 5-11 182 Rushed for 42 yards versus Virginia Tech; great hands

TB 23 Terrence Riggins SO 6-1 234 Scored two touchdowns last season on just 19 carries

28 Ryan Woolfolk RFR 5-11 192 Member of the scout team las season

Defensive Depth Chart: N.C. State Game

Pos. No. Name Elg. Ht. Wt. Notes

DE 97 Adrian Tracy JR 6-4 244 Led team with 9.5 TFL in ‘07

52 Marcus Hyde RFR 6-3 223 Skilled young end with great potential

DT 93 Sean Lissemore JR 6-4 274 Had two sacks last season; great physical skills

92 Mike Stover SO 6-3 253 Walk-on who earned signififi catn playing time in ‘07

DT 99 Harold Robertson RFR 6-0 290 Great size and strength

40 Kyle O’Brien SO 6-0 246 Missed all of last season due to ACL surgery

DE 95 C.J. Herbert JR 6-3 264 Veteran defensive player who enters third season as a starter

94 Ravi Pradhanang FR 6-3 253 Explosive young player with great potential

MLB 44 Josh Rutter SR 6-3 222 Ranked second on the team with 95 tackles in ‘07

50 Todd Reyher SR 6-0 218 Experienced player who gives Tribe solid depth

WLB 5 Michael Pigram SR 5-10 219 Fourth on the team with 66 tackles last season

21 Evan Francks SO 5-11 212 Athletic young player who shows promise

SLB 32 Jake Trantin RFR 6-1 232 Talented linebacker who enters fi rst season as a starter

48 Wes Steinman SO 6-2 226 Played in seven games in ‘07

CB 24 Ben Cottingham SO 5-9 163 Recorded pair of interceptions in Tribe’s season fi nale at Richmond

38 Terrell Wells SO 5-10 180 Saw playing time as a freshman with 13 tackles

SS 6 David Caldwell JR 5-11 213 Led the team with 107 tackles in ‘07

22 David Houff SR 6-1 199 Team’s most experienced reserve DB

FS 26 Michael Alvarado SO 6-0 194 Experienced special teams performer

41 Sheldon Alexander JR 6-1 205 Saw action in fifi ve games last season

CB 37 Derek Cox SR 6-1 186 All-CAA Third Team in ‘07 with team-high three interceptions

42 Fred Johnson JR 6-1 190 One of team’s top special teams performers

Special Teams Depth Chart: N.C. State Game

Pos. No. Name Elg. Ht. Wt. Notes

KR 38 Terrell Wells SO 5-10 180 Totaled 90 kickoff return yards in ‘07

6 David Caldwell JR 5-11 213 Primary kick returner in ‘07, totaling 486 yards on 20 returns

PR 2 Elliott Mack SR 6-0 195 First season as primary punt returner

37 Derek Cox SR 6-1 186 Totaled six punt return yards last season

PK/KO 80 Brian Pate JR 5-9 175 Converted 40-of-41 extra-point attempts in ‘07

87 David Miller SO 6-0 180 W&M’s punter

P 87 David Miller SO 6-0 180 Averaged more than 35 yards per attempt last season

80 Brian Pate JR 5-9 175 W&M’s place-kicker

H 16 R.J. Archer JR 6-2 218 Returns as team’s starting place-holder

7 Mike Callahan SO 5-11 190 Reserve quarterback

LS 15 Chase Hill SO 6-2 192 First year as starting long-snapper

75 Eric O’Brien SR 6-1 270 Reserve center

SS 56 C.J. Muse JR 6-4 315 Handled short-snap duties last season

57 Mike Schrift RF 6-2 286 Reserve off ensive lineman


NC State Two-Deep Depth Chart

2008 NC State Depth Chart
Offense
Quarterback
7Daniel Evans6-2/200Gr.*
12Harrison Beck6-2/220Jr.*
Halfback
24 Andre Brown 6-0/228Sr.
3 Curtis Underwood, Jr. 5-11/215So.
Fullback
27 Harrison Ritcher 5-11/215So.*
47 Taylor Gentry 6-2/215Fr.
Wide Receiver
13Owen Spencer6-3/180So.
15 Darrell Davis 6-4/212So.*
Wide Receiver
5 Jarvis Williams 6-4/205 So.*
88 Geron James 6-3/220Jr.*
Tight End
89 Matt Kushner 6-4/259Jr.*
84 George Bryan 6-5/250Fr.*
Left Tackle
73 Julian Williams 6-5/305Jr.*
61 Matt White6-6/325Sr.*
Left Guard
75 John Bedics 6-4/295Sr.*
70 Jake Vermiglio6-5/315So.
Center
58 Teddy Larsen 6-2/295Jr.*
74 Andy Barbee6-3/310Jr.*
Right Guard
60 Meares Green6-4/306Sr.*
76 Curtis Crouch 6-5/320Sr.
Right Tackle
50 Jeraill McCuller6-7/330Jr.*
71 Gary Gregory6-4/305So.*


Special Teams
Place Kicker
36Josh Czajkowski5-9/184So.*
Punter
26Bradley Pierson5-9/163Sr.*
38Jeff Ruiz6-2/185Jr.
Long Snapper
56Corey Tedder6-1/212Jr.
57Michael Maurer5-11/225Jr.
Holder
26Bradley Pierson5-9/163Sr.*
56Corey Tedder6-1/212Jr.
Kick Returner
6 T.J. Graham 6-0/180Fr.
24 Andre Brown 6-0/228Sr.
Punt Returner
6 T.J. Graham OR 6-0/180 Fr.
88 Geron James 6-3/220Jr.*
Defense
Left Defensive End
98 Shea McKeen 6-5/250Jr.
91 Markus Kuhn 6-5/280So.
Left Defensive Tackle
96 Antoine Holmes 6-2/281Sr.
94 Keith Willis Jr. 6-1/284Sr.*
Right Defensive Tackle
49 Alan-Michael Cash 6-1/286Jr.*
95 LeRoy Burgess 6-1/300Jr.
Right Defensive End
97 Willie Young 6-4/243Jr.*
99 Jeff Rieskamp 6-3/235Fr.*
Weakside Linebacker
56 Nate Irving 6-1/225So.*
41 Dwayne Maddox 6-2/225Fr.
Middle Linebacker
44 Ray Michel 6-0/224Jr.*
7 Sterling Lucas 6-2/220Fr.
Strongside Linebacker
34Robbie Leonard 6-0/205Sr.*
16 Ryan Goodman 6-2/205Sr.*
Cornerback
30 Jeremy Gray 6-2/188Gr.*
20 Dominique Ellis 5-11/190Fr.
Safety
14 J.C. Neal 5-11/195Sr.
32 Jimmaul Simmons 6-2/200 Fr.*
Safety
28 Justin Byers 6-0/185Fr.*
31 Bobby Floyd 5-9/211 Jr.
Cornerback
21 DeAndre Morgan 5-10/170So.*
33Koyal George 5-11/175Jr.*


Thanks to NC State and William & Mary Athletics for much of the information in this preview.

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