Gameday: NC State vs. Miami

NC State (5-6, 3-4) faces Miami (7-4,4-3) in the team's final regular season game. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:00, and the game will be televised on Raycom.

NC State (5-6) vs. Miami (7-4)
Saturday, November 29, 2008
12:00 pm (EST), Raycom
Raleigh, NC
Carter-Finley Stadium

NC State Links
Official Site
2008 Statistics
Game Notes

Miami Links
Miami Official Site
2008 Statistics
Game Notes

NC State Game Notes

NC State will face the University of Miami for the 13th time on Saturday, although it will be just the third meeting in Raleigh. Nine of the previous 12 contests have been played on the Hurricanes' home field. This will mark just the third meeting since UM joined the ACC and the 2004 matchup in Carter-Finley Stadium marked only the second time in the history of the series (which dates back to 1939) that the game was played on the Wolfpack's home field.

NC State has won four of the matchups with Miami, in 1942, 1944, 1971 and in 2007.

The Wolfpack's 2007 overtime win came down to the leg of Steven Hauschka, who kicked four field goals - three in the fourth quarter and the game winner in overtime - to lead NC State to a 19-16 win.

• Leads the ACC in passing efficiency (132.0).
• Leads the ACC in total offense (203.7).
• Tied for the ACC lead with 14 touchdowns passes.
• Has thrown only one interception all season, the fewest among all FBS quarterbacks ranked in the NCAA passing categories.
• Has gone 203 straight attempts without a pick, the longest active streak nationally and a school record.
• Named ACC Offensive Back of the Week (9/22) and Rookie of the Week (10/17).
• Ranks third nationally among freshman in passing efficiency.
• Ranks sixth nationally among freshman in total offense.

Quarterback Russell Wilson leads the ACC in passing efficiency at 132.0, despite missing two full games (William & Mary and South Florida), and most of the season opener, with injuries. That mark ranks third nationally among all freshman signal callers and would rank eighth all-time in school history for a single season if the season ended today and third for a career.

Wilson has been even better over his last seven starts, passing for all 14 of his touchdowns and not throwing an interception in that span. His performance over the last seven games translates to an impressive 140.19 passer efficiency rating.

Russell Wilson has a school record, active streak of 203 straight passing attempts without throwing an interception in a single season. That streak spans Wilson's last seven games, as his last pass attempt at Clemson was picked off. He surpassed the old school record on his fifth attempt of the UNC game, passing Jamie Barnette's streak of 179 attempts in 1998.

Among active NCAA quarterbacks, the streak ranks tied for fourth overall and is the longest active streak in the NCAA. On the season, Wilson has just one interception, the fewest in the nation among qualifying quarterbacks who rank in the NCAA top-100 for passing, passing yards per-game, total passing yards and/or passing efficiency.

Four of the first five teams NC State played this season were ranked at some point this season, and the Wolfpack has played the nation's No. 4 toughest schedule according to the USA Today/Sagarin Rankings this week.

NC State was the only ACC team to face four teams in the first five weeks of the season that had been ranked at some point in 2008. In fact, a NC State team had never played even three ranked opponents in the first five games of the season in school history until now.

Over the last two weeks, NC State had played - and defeated - two teams ranked in the BCS standings (Wake Forest and UNC). NC State also defeated then No. 15 East Carolina earlier this season.

NC State's injury troubles were well documented in 2007, with 13 starters missing time in 44 total games, and six starters missing multiple games.

So far during 2008, NC State has had 13 starters - including projected starters - miss playing time because of injury for a total of 69 games. All 13 of the players have each missed multiple games because of injury. Those fortunes have reversed course over the last three games - wins over Duke, Wake Forest and UNC - as NC State has had most of the starters back in the lineup with the exception of four guys - Toney Baker, Donald Bowens, Matt Kushner and Javon Walker - who are all out for the season. Shea McKeen missed the UNC game and is out for the season with a broken ankle.

In fact, for the first three weeks all season, NC State has had zero players listed on its Thursday injury report heading into that week's game (not counting the players already out for the season).

The NC State football team will honor 16 players as they play their final home game, including three graduates. Defensive captain Jeremy Gray, co-offensive captain Daniel Evans and Andrew Evans all graduated last season before completing their eligibility. Thirteen other seniors have exhausted thier eligibility as well, including starters John Bedics (left guard), Andre Brown (running back), Meares Green (right guard), Anthony Hill (tight end), Robbie Leonard (linebacker), J.C. Neal (safety), Bradley Pierson (punter) and Keith Willis, Jr. (defensive tackle).

In addition, Scott Bradsher (safety), Ryan Goodman (linebacker), Antoine Holmes (defensive tackle) and Matthew White (offensive line) will also play in their final home game.

If you break down the conference standings into a first half of the season and the last half, NC State is without question one of the hottest teams in the league. The Pack has a perfect 3-0 mark after the midway point in the season, tied with Boston College for best record over the second half of the season so far.

NC State has gone from one of the worst turnover margins in 2007 to one of the best in just one year. Last season, the Wolfpack turned the ball over 32 times while forcing only 16 turnovers, ranking 116th out of 119 teams in the nation. This season has been a complete 180 degree turnaround, as NC State currently ranks 21st nationally by forcing 23 turnovers while only giving it away 15 times.

That is the third largest turnaround in the nation in terms of turnover margin from 2007.

That margin is even more impressive when you look at the last six games since Russell Wilson returned as the starting quarterback after missing the South Florida game with an injury. NC State is a +9 over the last six games after being a -1 in the first five games.

As a team, NC State has only turned the ball over twice in those six games, a school record. Only once in school history - in 1965 - has NC State had only two turnovers in a FOUR game streak. For comparison, the Wolfpack turned the ball over 13 times in the first five games of the season.

The NC State offense has been much improved over the last five games, as it is averaging almost 10 more points-per-game, almost 90 more yards of total offense and more than doubled its rushing output. One of the keys? Quarterback Russell Wilson has started the last five contests, throwing for a pair of touchdowns in each of the five games with no interceptions.

Wilson missed two full games and most of the season opener with injuries over the first six games of the season. When Wilson did play in those four early games, he passed for four touchdowns and one interception while Daniel Evans and Harrison Beck combined for two touchdowns and nine interceptions in the first six games of the season.

Senior running back Andre Brown has been a solid all-purpose back for NC State in his career. He became just the 10th player in school history to amass 2,000+ career rushing yards after running for 73 yards in the win over No. 15 ECU, including the last 26 yards in overtime and the game-winning 10-yard scamper.

He now has 2,407 rushing yards (9th in school history) and 20 rushing touchdowns (tied for eighth in school history). Brown needs 73 yards on the ground to move into eighth all-time at NC State in rushing yards.

Brown also ranks 10th in school history with 3,338 all-purpose yards, only 24 yards short of 9th place.

He is just the fifth NC State player to have 2,000+ rushing yards and 600+ receiving yards in a career, joining standouts Ted Brown, Willie Burden, Ray Robinson and T.A. McClendon.

The senior from Greenville, N.C. ranks second in the ACC among active players in career rushing yards and is tied for third in career rushing touchdowns.

Quarterback Russell Wilson earned Co-Offensive Back of the Week honors after the UNC win, his second Offensive Back of the Week honor and third overall this season. Wilson passed for a career-high 279 yards and two touchdowns while leading NC State to season-highs in total offense, rushing yards and passing yards in the 41-10 rout.

He was also named ACC Rookie of the Week after he passed for 152 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions, in NC State's upset win over Wake Forest. He completed 16 of 33 pass attempts and also carried the ball 14 times for 69 yards and a touchdown. He was NC State's leading rusher for the game and was responsible for all three of the Wolfpack's touchdowns and 221 yards of total offense.

Wilson was ACC Offensive Back of the Week after the win against then-No. 15 East Carolina, when he passed for 210 yards and a career-high three touchdowns in the overtime victory.

Miami Game Notes And Depth Chart

Record (7-4)

Miami National Statistical Rankings

Rushing offense...77

Passing offense...81

Total offense...90

Rushing defense..57

Passing defense...8

Total defense...20

Miami’s last game from

Georgia Tech 41 ... Miami 23

Georgia Tech ran for 472 yards as the option worked its way up to a 41-10 lead after three quarters. Miami got two touchdown passes from Jacory Harris in the fourth, but they weren't nearly enough to overcome the huge day from a Tech ground game that touchdown runs from 58 and six yards out from Jonathan Dwyer and a 32-yard scoring run from Lucas Cox late in the third. The Yellow Jacket defense got involved as Michael Johnson reached up and grabbed a Robert Marve pass and took it for a second quarter score. The two teams combined to convert six of 23 first down chances.

Player of the game: Georgia Tech RB Jonathan Dwyer ran 10 times for 128 yards and two touchdowns

Stat Leaders: Miami - Passing: Jacory Harris, 13-18, 162 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: Graig Cooper, 10-44. Receiving: Dedrick Epps, 4-57, 1 TD

Georgia Tech - Passing: Josh Nesbitt, 3-6, 24 yds

Rushing: Jonathan Dwyer, 10-128, 2 TD Receiving: Demaryius Thomas, 2-17

What does it all mean? ... Miami's speed and athleticism didn't make up for a lack of discipline against the Georgia Tech offense. It was almost as if the players were trying to react and make something happen, rather than stay home and let the plays come to them. It's not like the offense provided any help. Robert Marve was fine at times, but he didn't come up with any big throws to slow down the Yellow Jacket momentum. On the contrary, his pick six thrown to Michael Johnson turned out to be a killer.


-Miami wraps up the regular season when the Hurricanes head to Raleigh, N.C. to face NC State. Game time is noon at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C. and will be televised by Raycom Sports.

-The Hurricanes had their five-game winning streak snapped by Georgia Tech last Thursday night

in Atlanta, 41-23. Redshirt freshman quarterback Robert Marve and true freshman quarterback Jacory Harris combined to throw for 283 yards and three touchdowns. Junior tight end Dedrick Epps caught four passes for a career-high 57 yards and a touchdown.

-Lou Groza Award semifinalist Matt Bosher added his 17th field goal of the season against the Yellow Jackets. Bosher has made 13 of his last 14 field goals and is 17-of-19 on the season. He is a perfect 34-of-34 in PATs and leads the team with 85 points.

-Defensively, senior linebacker Glenn Cook leads the team with 69 total tackles and is tied for the team-lead with 7.5 tackles for loss. Freshman linebacker Sean Spence is second with 60 tackles while safety Anthony Reddick has 58 tackles on the season. Miami ranks 20th nationally in total defense, and eighth in pass defense.

-The Hurricanes are one of the top two scoring offenses in the ACC. Miami is averaging 27.3 points per game in ACC games and 27.9 points overall. Miami is 48th nationally in overall scoring offense.


-Of the 23 seniors on this year's squad, 13 have already earned degrees, while the remaining 10 are all on course to graduate either in December of 2008 or May of 2009.

-Last spring, the NCAA released its annual Academic Progress Report (APR) and the Hurricane football team scored a 969, the eighth-highest mark out of the 119 Bowl Sub-division football programs. Miami's score - also the third-highest mark in the 12-team Atlantic Coast Conference - put the team in the 80th-90th percentile nationally based on its performance in the classroom.

-With UM’s 24-17 overtime win at Virginia on Nov. 1, the Hurricanes qualified for a bowl game for the 23rd time in the last 26 seasons.


-Randy Shannon is 12-11 overall and is in his second season at Miami. NC State’s Tom O’Brien is 10- 13 in his second season with the Wolfpack.


-This will be the 13th game between the two schools, with Miami holding a 7-4-1 lead in the series. NC State won last season’s meeting in Miami, 19-16, in overtime.


-Freshman wide receiver/return man Travis Benjamin’s 968 all-purpose yards through 11 games is the most by a Hurricane since Frank Gore had 971 all-purpose yards heading into the 12th game of the 2004 season.

-Miami leads the nation in number of different players that have scored a touchdown this season (18) as well as the number of freshmen that have reached paydirt (8).

-UM’s five-game winning streak from Oct. 11 to Nov. 13 was the first winning streak of such kind since 2005 when the Hurricanes won eight straight games from Sept. 27 to Nov. 12.

-With Miami’s win over Virginia Tech, the Hurricanes improved to 12-3 since the turn of the century in games following a bye week. UM is 2-0 this year after a bye week, beating Texas A&M and VT.

-With UM’s 24-17 overtime win at Virginia on Nov. 1, the Hurricanes qualified for a bowl game for the 23rd time in the last 26 seasons.

-Nine UM receivers have double-digit catches through the season’s first 11 games with Leonard Hankerson recording his 10th catch against Georgia Tech. Last year, UM had seven all season.

-Sophomore kicker Matt Bosher has scored 18 more points this season through 11 games (85) than both of UM’s kickers (Francesco Zampogna and Daren Daly) combined for all of last season (67).

-Despite having 11 underclassmen listed on its defensive depth chart, three of UM’s top four tacklers this year (Glenn Cook, Anthony Reddick and Darryl Sharpton) have been at UM for a combined 15 years.

-Miami has kept its opponents under 20 points in four of its last six games. During the team’s five-game winning streak, the Hurricanes are out-scored their opponents by an average of 25.0-to-17.2.

-The Hurricanes are out-scoring opponents 94-55 in the third quarter this season. That differential is 88 points higher than in the second quarter, where UM is being out-scored 88-to-39.

-Only four Hurricanes (Glenn Cook, Steven Wesley, Bruce Johnson and Xavier Shannon) have started all 11 games so far this season.

-Miami is 34-18-1 all-time against teams from the state of North Carolina, with its last win coming against the state earlier this season when Miami beat Wake Forest, 16-10, in Miami.

-The Hurricanes have converted on their last 25 red zone attempts and 39 of 41 overall attempts

(95.1%) this season. UM has 25 touchdowns and 14 field goals in its 41 red zone appearances.

-Miami is 6-1 when it rushes for at least 120 yards this season. The only time UM lost when it ran for over 120 yards was the Sept. 27 loss to North Carolina, when UM had 135 yards on 33 carries.

-Eight different players have either led or tied for the team-lead in receptions in a game this season.

Thearon Collier, Kayne Farquharson, Graig Cooper, Aldarius Johnson and Dedrick Epps have all led more than once.

-Defensive Ends Allen Bailey and Marcus Robinson currently lead the team with four sacks apiece while Adewale Ojomo and Spencer Adkins each have three.

-Miami has only allowed three second-half touchdowns in its last four games and over that span, it is out-scoring its opposition 58-24 after halftime.


-So much of Miami’s success offensively comes from the running back tandem of sophomore Graig Cooper and junior Javarris James. In the rushing duo’s time together at UM, the Hurricanes have a 6-2 record when the two combine to get at least 25 carries and a 3-7 record when they both play and are under the 25-carry mark. In 2007, reaching this mark was extremely important to the team’s success as all five of UM’s victories came when the two combined to reach the 25-carry mark. This year, James has missed the better part of five games with a high ankle sprain, but since his return, the pair combined for 33 carries and 186 yards in a come-from-behind-victory at UVa two weeks ago. It was the only time this season that the two have combined for 25 or more carries.


-Two Miami players - Freshmen Laron Byrd and Aldarius Johnson - have caught a pass in 10 of UM’s 11 contests thus far.

-Johnson leads the team with 30 receptions thus far, while running back Graig Cooper ranks second with 22, despite not recording a catch in the first three games of the season.

-Following Johnson and Cooper, Thearon Collier ranks third with 21 receptions, while Dedrick Epps and Kayne Farquharson are tied for fourth with 18 catches apiece. Following that group, freshmen Travis Benjamin and Laron Byrd have 16 and 15 respectively, while junior Sam Shields has 11 and Leonard Hankerson has 10 to give the Hurricanes nine players with at least 10 catches.

-Four other UM players have at least four catches (Javarris James, Davon Johnson, Derron Thomas and Chris Zellner). Aldarius Johnson leads the team in receiving yards (321) while Benjamin, Johnson and Farquharson are tied with a team-high three receiving touchdowns.

-Benjamin also leads the team with a 17.2 yards per catch average.

-Johnson’s eight receptions against Duke was the most receptions in a game for a UM player since Greg Olsen had eight receptions against North Carolina on Oct. 7, 2006.


-The University of Miami has always taken pride in its defense, and after a down year on that side of the ball, the Hurricanes appear to be regaining the success they enjoyed since the turn of the century. UM is ranked 20th in total defense nationally heading into Saturday’s game with NC State. The ‘Canes haven’t allowed a second-half touchdown in two of its last four games and are currently ranked eigthth nationally in passing yards allowed per game (164.73).


-The University of Miami is 34-18-1 all-time versus teams from the state of North Carolina. Since UM joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004, the Hurricanes are 10-4 against teams from the Tar Heel State. Prior to two late season losses to N.C. teams last season, the Hurricanes had seven straight wins against the state from late 2004 to early last year.

-Before Miami joined the ACC, the ‘Canes rarely faced teams from North Carolina, playing just four games against N.C. teams from the time Dennis Erickson took over the program in 1989 to the team’s last year in the BIG EAST in 2003. Over that 15-year span, UM faced East Carolina three times and NC State once.



WR 4 Aldarius Johnson (6-2, 205, Fr.)

47 Laron Byrd (6-4, 211, Fr.)

LT 64 Jason Fox (6-7, 306, Jr.)

65 Matt Pipho (6-7, 307, Jr.)

LG 74 Orlando Franklin (6-7, 334, Soph.)

70 A.J. Trump (6-3, 300, Jr.)

C 55 Xavier Shannon (6-1, 302, Sr.)

70 A.J. Trump (6-3, 300, Jr.)

RG 70 A.J. Trump (6-3, 300, Jr.)

61 Joel Figueroa (6-5, 344, Soph.)

RT 76 Chris Rutledge (6-5, 311, Sr.)

77 Reggie Youngblood (6-5, 317, Sr.)

TE 18 Dedrick Epps (6-4, 253, Jr.)

or 88 Chris Zellner (6-2, 247, Sr.)

84 Richard Gordon (6-4, 270, Jr.)

WR 83 Sam Shields (6-0, 186, Jr.)

80 Travis Benjamin (5-10, 162, Fr.)

or 81 Davon Johnson (5-11, 186, Fr.)

QB 9 Robert Marve (6-1, 210, R-Fr.)

12 Jacory Harris (6-4, 185, Fr.)

HB 2 Graig Cooper (6-0, 202, Soph.)

5 Javarris James (6-0, 215, Jr.)

21 Derron Thomas (5-9, 208, Sr.)

FB 30 Patrick Hill (5-9, 262, Jr.)

46 Eric Houston (6-2, 236, Sr.)


LE 90 Steven Wesley (6-3, 266, Soph.)

57 Allen Bailey (6-4, 285, Soph.)

LT 91 Joe Joseph (6-3, 302, Jr.)

96 Antonio Dixon (6-3, 322, Sr.)

92 Josh Holmes (6-0, 279, Soph.)

RT 93 Dwayne Hendricks (6-4, 300, Sr.)

99 Marcus Forston (6-2, 308, Fr.)

RE 56 Marcus Robinson (6-1, 242, Fr.)

62 Andrew Smith (6-2, 242, Fr.)

or 97 Adewale Ojomo (6-3, 248, R-Fr.)

SLB 51 Romeo Davis (6-3, 235, Sr.)

or 50 Darryl Sharpton (5-11, 235, Jr.)

MLB 3 Glenn Cook (6-0, 228, Sr.)

48 Spencer Adkins (5-11, 240, Sr.)

WLB 31 Sean Spence (6-0, 211, Fr.)

11 Arthur Brown (6-2, 223, Fr.)

LCB 1 Brandon Harris (5-10, 185, Fr.)

or 24 Chavez Grant (5-11, 180, Jr.)

RCB 22 Bruce Johnson (5-11, 182, Sr.)

8 DeMarcus Van Dyke (6-1, 177, Soph.)

S 26 Anthony Reddick (6-0, 212, Sr.)

35 Lovon Ponder (6-0, 218, Sr.)

S 29 JoJo Nicolas (6-1, 197, Soph.)

13 Ryan Hill (5-11, 203, Jr.)


PK 25 Matt Bosher (6-0, 205, Soph.)

40 Jake Wieclaw (6-1, 194, Fr.)

KO 25 Matt Bosher (6-0, 205, Soph.)

40 Jake Wieclaw (6-1, 194, Fr.)

P 25 Matt Bosher (6-0, 205, Soph.)

17 Taylor Cook (6-7, 225, Fr.)

H 19 Matt Perrelli (6-3, 248, Jr.)

LS 69 Jake Byrne (6-4, 215, Sr.)

60 Chris Ivory (6-2, 227, R-Fr.)

PR 80 Travis Benjamin (5-10, 162, Fr.)

28 Thearon Collier (5-8, 184, Fr.)

KOR 13 Ryan Hill (5-11, 203, Jr.)

33 Shawnbrey McNeal (5-11, 190, Soph.)

KOR 80 Travis Benjamin (5-10, 162, Fr.)

1 Brandon Harris (5-10, 185, Fr.)


NC State Two-Deep Depth Chart

Depth Chart Notables

  • With the injury to Clem Johnson, Justin Byers and walk on Bobby Floyd will share time at safety. Johnson will not play in the game after suffering an ankle injury against North Carolina.

  • NOTE: * - Indicates redshirted one season

    2008 NC State Depth Chart
    16Russell Wilson5-11/191Fr.*
    12Harrison Beck6-2/220Jr.*
    24 Andre Brown 6-0/228Sr.
    29 Jamelle Eugene 5-10/195Jr.*
    47 Taylor Gentry 6-2/215Fr.
    27 Harrison Ritcher 5-11/215So.*
    Wide Receiver
    13Owen Spencer6-3/180So.
    6 T.J. Graham 6-0/180Fr.
    Wide Receiver
    5 Jarvis Williams 6-4/205 So.*
    15 Darrell Davis 6-4/212So.*
    Tight End
    83 Anthony Hill 6-6/265Sr.*
    84 George Bryan 6-5/265Fr.*
    Left Tackle
    70 Jake Vermiglio6-5/315So.
    73 Julian Williams 6-5/292Jr.*
    Left Guard
    75 John Bedics 6-4/295Sr.*
    55 Desmond Roberts6-4/295Fr.*
    58 Ted Larsen 6-2/295Jr.*
    74 Andy Barbee6-3/310Jr.*
    Right Guard
    60 Meares Green6-4/306Sr.*
    71 Gary Gregory6-4/305So.*
    Right Tackle
    50 Jeraill McCuller6-7/330Jr.*
    61 Matt White6-6/325Sr.*

    Special Teams
    Place Kicker
    36Josh Czajkowski5-9/184So.*
    26Bradley Pierson5-9/163Sr.*
    38Jeff Ruiz6-2/185Jr.
    Long Snapper
    59Corey Tedder6-1/212Jr.
    57Michael Maurer5-11/225Jr.
    26Bradley Pierson5-9/163Sr.*
    16Russell Wilson5-11/191Fr.*
    Kick Returner
    6 T.J. Graham 6-0/180Fr.
    24 Andre Brown 6-0/228Sr.
    Punt Returner
    6 T.J. Graham 6-0/180 Fr.
    29 Jamelle Eugene 5-10/195Jr.*
    Left Defensive End
    91 Markus Kuhn 6-5/280So.
    11 Audi Augustin 6-2/250So.*
    Left Defensive Tackle
    94 Keith Willis Jr. 6-1/284Sr.*
    96 Antoine Holmes 6-2/281Sr.
    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.*
    42 Audie Cole 6-5/215Fr.
    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.*
    30 Jeremy Gray 6-2/188Gr.*
    20 Dominique Ellis 5-11/190Fr.
    14 J.C. Neal 5-11/195Sr.
    32 Jimmaul Simmons 6-2/200 Fr.*
    28 Justin Byers OR 6-0/185Fr.*
    31 Bobby Floyd 5-9/211 Jr.
    21 DeAndre Morgan 5-10/170So.*
    33Koyal George 5-11/175Jr.*

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

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