Meet the Wolfpack

N.C. State (3-1, 2-0 ACC) ranks second in the nation and leads the ACC in total defense, allowing 193.8 yards per game.

Chuck Amato's press conference quotes
N.C. State players' quotes

But while State held Wake Forest to zero yards in the third quarter after trailing 14-0 at the half, its offense seemed to click as well in last Saturday's 27-21 overtime win over the Demon Deacons.

State has not been shutout in 108 games, the fifth-longest scoring streak in ACC history.

Quarterbacks


Davis
Jay Davis (#10, 6-2, 206, Jr.) gained some much needed confidence last week, completing 16 of 21 of his passes for 228 yards and a touchdown. With much more experience, he's gotten much closer to wrapping up the full-time job. Davis' backup is Marcus Stone (#9, 6-4, 228, Fr.*), who despite mediocre numbers, has taken a good deal of the snaps this season. Stone's 77.38 rating is considerably lower than Davis' 129.38, and he has yet to throw for a touchdown. So far this year, Stone has entered the game in the third series of each game, however he will certainly look to make the most of any appearance he might make against UNC's suspect defense.

Running Backs

Running the ball has been a deciding factor in its three wins over Carolina since Amato took over the reigns four years ago. State averaged 207 yards on the ground in those games, but could manage just 52 yards in its 17-9 loss to the Tar Heels in 2001. The 2002 ACC Rookie of the Year, T.A. McLendon (#44, 5-11, 232, Jr.), is a punishing runner with speed, who appears to be as healthy as he has in a long time. The league's rushing leader ran for 139 yards and two touchdowns against the Deacs, including the game winner. McLendon has rushed for 326 yards and four touchdowns in three games, for a 4.7-yard average. But it's his 108.7 yards per game statistic that has him just ahead of Georgia Tech's P.J. Daniels in conference rushing rankings this week. Bobby Washington (#26, 6-1, 200, Fr.) and Darrell Blackman (#2, 6-0, 205, Fr.) provide solid relief behind McLendon, and have each reached the end zone once this season. Reggie Davis (#20, 6-1, 233, So.) is the fourth tailback option, and fullback Chance Moyer (#49, 6-2, 242, Sr.) provides solid leadership and strength in paving the way for the rushing game and in pass protection.

Wide Receivers


Hall
The Wolfpack, currently ranked 10th in the league with 166.2 yards passing per game, has found the going relatively tough through the air compared to recent years. But H-Back Tramain Hall (#21, 5-10, 185, Jr.) is as dangerous as any of the Pack's offensive weapons. Other than Philip Rivers, nobody touched the ball more last year than him. Hall's 140 receiving yards and 3.5 receptions per game lead the team, but both Richard Washington (#6, 5-11, 171, Jr.) and Sterling Hicks (#5, 6-2, 181, Jr.) are almost equally as productive. Both Hall and Hicks have scored this year, along with Brian Clark (#87, 6-2, 205, Jr.), who has two touchdowns on just four receptions. Lamart Barrett (#13, 6-1, 190, So.) is also a significant contributor in State's passing game.

Tight Ends

Rumbling T.J. Williams (#80, 6-3, 260, Jr.), who had three catches for 69 yards in the Wolfpack's 47-34 win over the Tar Heels in Raleigh last year, has fully recovered from injury setbacks in previous seasons. Williams has six catches this year for 61 yards. His co-starter is John Richter (#15, 6-3, 244, Jr.), the son of two-time N.C. State All-America center Jim Richter.

Offensive Line

Left tackle Chris Colmer (#70, 6-6, 325, Gr.) was the top blocker before being diagnosed with a rare condition known as Parsonage Turner Syndrome, which causes numbness, burning and pain through his shoulder and arm. He returned this season for the first time since playing in the 2002 Gator Bowl. He has already been in on 211 snaps this season. Left guard Leroy Harris (#64, 6-3, 295, So.) was named a freshman All-America by The Sporting News. Center Jed Paulsen (#53, 6-2, 290, Sr.), a candidate for the Rimington Trophy, in his third year as a starter. James Newby (#78, 6-5, 281, So.), who started in Colmer's absence, has made tremendous strides in conditioning his body. Right tackle Derek Morris (#71, 6-6, 340, So.), who can bench press 500 pounds, came on as the starter in the last five games of the 2003 season. John McKeon (#75, 6-5, 300, Jr.) started 10 games in Colmer's absence, but moved to the right guard position this year.

Defensive line

Last year's youth has become today's experience, as prior to the 2003 season opener none of the current starters had ever played in an collegiate game. Now they make one of the best front fours in the country. Left end Mario Williams (#9, 6-7 291, So.) earned freshman All-America honors with 21 tackles for loss last season. Speedy Manny Lawson (#91, 6-5, 220, Jr.), a former outside linebacker, already has five sacks and eight tackles for loss to his credit from the right end position. Tackles' Demarcus "Tank" Tyler (#72, 6-2, 294, So.) and John McCargo (#90, 6-2, 289, So.) stuff up the middle on a team allowing opponents just 2.5 yards per rush.

Linebackers


Thomas
The top three tacklers on the team all hail from Florida. The leader is MLB Oliver Hoyte (#22, 6-3, 247, Jr.), who has 39 stops on the season. While SLB Pat Thomas (#52, 6-2, 230, Sr.) and his high school teammate Stephen Tulloch (#50, 5-11, 230, So.) have made 34 and 26 tackles, respectively. Add in Freddie Aughtry-Lindsay (#31, 6-1, 234, Sr.), who has alternated with Tulloch on the weak side, and the linebacking corps has tallied 119 tackles, including 21 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Thomas is one of only two ACC players to be on all three watch lists for the Nagurski, Lombardi and Butkus Awards.

Defensive Backs


Maddox
The Wolfpack leads the nation in pass defense, allowing just 92.2 yards per game through the air. Opposing quarterbacks are completing just 45.7 percent of their attempts, while State has yet to allow 300 yards passing in a game this season. Roverback Andre Maddox (#36, 6-1, 202, Sr.) is still recovering from a pulled hamstring, but is expected to start. Maddux's backup J.J. Jones (#4, 6-0, 168, Jr.) leads the team with two interceptions. Cornerback Dovonte Edwards (#14, 6-0, 176, Jr.), a converted wide receiver, led State with 10 pass breakups last year. Lamont Reid (#28, 6-0, 193, Sr.) is a third-year starter and Academic All-ACC. Free safety Marcus Hudson (#1, 6-2, 191, Jr.) has made 23 tackles and hasthe Pack's only other interception this season.

Special Teams

John Deraney (#12, 6-4, 202, So.) handles all the kicking duties for the Wolfpack. He has converted three of his six field goal attempts this season, while punting for a 44.0 average. Hall, Hudson and Washington are the returners. Hudson is averaging 25.7 yards per kickoff return and Hall is getting 8.1 yards per punt return, but no one has taken it to the house yet this season.


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