Game Data: Ohio State at N.C. State

We go inside the numbers with the pertinent data, ABC-TV coverage map, depth charts and one man's prediction on how Saturday's key nonconference game at N.C. State (3:30 p.m., ABC regional telecast) may play out. Click this free link for more.

Game Data

* Date, Time: Sat., Sept. 18; 3:30 p.m. (Eastern)

* Location: Carter-Finley Stadium; Raleigh, N.C.

* TV: ABC regional telecast (WSYX-TV, Ch. 6, in Columbus); Announcers: Brad Nessler, Bob Griese, Lynn Swann.

ABC Coverage Map

* 2004 Records, Rankings: Ohio State, 2-0, ninth in AP poll, seventh in ESPN/USA Today coaches poll; N.C. State, 1-0.

* 2003 Records: Ohio State, 11-2, 6-2 Big Ten; N.C. State, 8-5, 4-4 ACC.

* Coaches: Ohio State, Jim Tressel (fourth year at OSU, 34-7; 19th year overall, 169-64-2; vs. N.C. State, 1-0); N.C. State, Chuck Amato (fifth year at N.C. State, 35-17; vs. Ohio State, first meeting).

* Series History: Ohio State leads 1-0 (won 44-38 in triple overtime last year in Columbus).

* N.C. State Schedule: Sept. 4, Richmond, W 42-0; Sept. 18, Ohio State; Oct. 25, at Virginia Tech; Oct. 2, Wake Forest; Oct. 9, at North Carolina; Oct. 16, at Maryland; Oct. 23, Miami (Fla.); Oct. 30, at Clemson; Nov. 6, Georgia Tech; Nov. 11, Florida State; Nov. 27, East Carolina.

* N.C. State Key Players:QB Jay Davis (16 of 22 passing, 168 yards, 2 TDs in 2004), RB T.A, McLendon (130 carries, 608 yards, 9 TDs in 2003), HB Tramain Hall (6 catches, 60 yards, 1 TD in 2004; 69 catches, 799 yards, 7 TDs in 2003), WR Richard Washington (44 catches, 500 yards, 6 TDs), S Andre Maddox (145 tackles in 2003), LB Pat Thomas (130 tackles, 8 sacks in 2003), LB Freddie Aughtry-Lindsay (105 tackles in 2003).

* N.C. State Fast Facts: Location: Raleigh, N.C.; Enrollment, 29,637; Nickname, Wolfpack; Colors, Red and White; Stadium, Carter-Finley Stadium (surface, grass; capacity, 53,800).

Depth Charts

Ohio State Offense

SE 8 Roy Hall, 6-3, 228. So.

7 Ted Ginn Jr., 6-0, 170, Fr.

LT 77 Rob Sims, 6-4, 310, Jr.

62 John McLaughlin, 6-6, 300, Sr.

LG 50 Doug Datish, 6-5, 295, So.

59 John Conroy, 6-3, 295, Jr.

C 55 Nick Mangold, 6-4, 290, Jr.

73 Steve Winner, 6-6, 290, Jr.

RG 52 Mike Kne, 6-4, 303, Sr.

72 T.J. Downing, 6-5, 305, So.

RT 68 Tim Schafer, 6-5, 290, So.

74 Kirk Barton, 6-6, 305, Fr.

TE 80 Ryan Hamby, 6-5, 250, Jr.

86 Rory Nicol, 6-5, 245, Fr.

FL 4 Santonio Holmes, 5-11, 185, So.

3 Bam Childress, 5-10, 185, Sr.

QB 12 Justin Zwick, 6-4, 225, So.

10 Troy Smith, 6-1, 215, So.

TB 30 Lydell Ross, 6-0, 225, Sr.

28 Maurice Hall, 5-10, 205, Sr.

FB 43 Brandon Schnittker, 6-2, 250, Jr.

89 Stan White Jr., 6-3, 242, So.

K 85 Mike Nugent, 5-10, 180, Sr.

23 Josh Huston, 6-1, 195, Sr.

Ohio State Defense

DE 75 Simon Fraser, 6-6, 280, Sr.

97 David Patterson, 6-3, 285, So.

DT 94 Marcus Green, 6-3, 290, Jr.

97 David Patterson, 6-3, 285, So.

DT 90 Quinn Pitcock, 6-3, 295, So.

98 Joel Penton, 6-5, 275, So.

DE 99 Jay Richardson, 6-6, 270, So.

50 Vernon Gholston, 6-4, 250, Fr.

SLB 42 Bobby Carpenter, 6-3, 255, Jr.

17 Marcus Freeman, 6-2, 230, Fr.

MLB 5 Mike D'Andrea, 6-3, 248, Jr.

51 Anthony Schlegel, 6-2, 245, Jr.

WLB 47 A.J. Hawk, 6-1, 238, Jr.

1 Thomas Matthews, 6-2, 220, Sr.

CB 26 Ashton Youboty, 6-1, 188, So.

13 Harlen Jacobs, 6-1, 197, Sr.

FS 21 Nate Salley, 6-3, 215, Jr.

32 Brandon Mitchell, 6-3, 205, So.

SS 9 Donte Whitner, 5-11, 200, So.

6 Tyler Everett, 5-11, 196, Jr.

CB 2 E.J. Underwood, 6-1, 175, Jr.

41 De'Angelo Haslam, 5-9, 170, Fr.

P 86 Kyle Turano, 6-0, 205, Sr.

23 Josh Huston, 6-1, 195, Sr.

LS 60 Kyle Andrews, 5-11, 245, Sr.

68 Drew Norman, 6-0, 230, So.

N.C. State Offense

QB 10 Jay Davis, 6-2, 206, Jr.

9 Marcus Stone, 6-4, 228, Fr.

TB 44 T.A. McLendon, 5-11, 232, Jr.

26 Bobby Washington, 6-1, 200, Fr.

FB 49 Chance Moyer, 6-2, 242, Sr.

37 Avery Gibson, 6-2, 227, Sr.

HB 21 Tramain Hall, 5-10, 185, Jr.

32 Chris Hawkins, 6-3, 188, So.

SE 87 Brian Clark, 6-3, 205, Jr.

13 Lamart Barrett, 6-1, 190, So.

FL 6 Richard Washington, 5-11, 171, Jr.

5 Sterling Hicks, 6-2, 181, Jr.

TE 80 T.J. Williams, 6-3, 260, Jr.

15 John Ritcher, 6-3, 244, Jr.

LT 70 Chris Colmer, 6-6, 325, Sr.

78 John Newby, 6-5, 281, So.

LG 64 Leroy Harris, 6-3, 295, So.

72 Luke Lathan, 6-4, 290, Fr.

C 53 Jed Paulsen, 6-2, 290, Sr.

64 Leroy Harris, 6-3, 295, So.

RG 77 John McKeon, 6-5, 300, Jr.

76 Ricky Fowler, 6-2, 316, Sr.

RT 71 Derek Morris, 6-6, 340, So.

79 Jon Holt, 6-6, 277, So.

K 12 John Deraney, 6-4, 202, So.

N.C. State Defense

DE 9 Mario Williams, 6-7, 271, So.

33 Raymond Brooks, 6-3, 260, Fr.

DT 63 John McCargo, 6-2, 289, So.

41 Martrel Brown, 6-2, 274, Fr.

DT 72 DeMarcus "Tank" Tyler, 6-2, 294, So.

62 Dwayne Herndon, 6-3, 280, Jr.

DE 91 Manny Lawson, 6-5, 220, Jr.

96 Renaldo Moses, 6-6, 211, Jr.

SLB 31 Freddie Aughtry-Lindsay, 6-1, 234, Sr.

29 LeRue Rumph, 6-2, 211, Fr.

MLB 22 Oliver Hoyte, 6-3, 247, Jr.

56 Patrick Lowery, 6-2, 232, So.

WLB 52 Pat Thomas, 6-2, 232, Sr.

50 Stephen Tulloch, 5-11, 230, So.

ROV 36 Andre Maddox, 6-1, 202, Sr.

19 Garland Heath, 6-2, 212, So.

CB 14 Dovonte Edwards, 6-0, 170, Sr.

8 Jimmy Sutton, 5-11, 175, Fr.

FS 1 Marcus Hudson, 6-2, 191, Jr.

27 Troy Graham, 6-3, 204, Sr.

CB 28 Lamont Reid, 6-0, 193, Sr.

3 A.J. Davis, 5-10, 183, So.

P 12 John Deraney, 6-4, 202, So.

Breaking It Down

* When Ohio State Has The Ball: The Wolfpack has nine starters back from last year, so they have the decided experience edge over Ohio State in this particular match-up. There will be several keys for Ohio State. First, OSU must move the ball on the ground so the passing game will have some room to operate. If OSU can't show an ability to run the ball, NCSU's talented linebackers and safeties will creep closer to the line of scrimmage with each snap, making Justin Zwick's life a living hell. Of course, it would help if Branden Joe and Antonio Pittman are truly available to take some of the heat off of Lydell Ross.

Second, Zwick must avoid costly turnovers, particularly in OSU's own end. The noise will probably be deafening at times for the young QB and NCSU will do everything it can to rattle him (i.e., pressure on pressure). He will need to make great pre-snap reads and distribute the ball in rhythm. Santonio Holmes needs to continue his incredible play and he'll need help from Roy Hall, Ryan Hamby and others as well. This is probably the key match-up in this game. If Ohio State can succeed in scoring three or four touchdowns, the Buckeyes will have a chance.

* When N.C. State Has The Ball: Will the real Ohio State defense step up. The vaunted run defense doubled its yards allowed from the Cincinnati game (76) to Marshall (150). If T.A. McLendon is healthy, I have to believe NCSU will lean on him to try and take pressure off young starting quarterback Jay Davis.

Davis also has several veteran play makers to throw to in Brian Clark, Tramain Hall and Richard Washington. We know, from experience, that NCSU will utilize trick plays and unorthodox alignments. The defense must be prepared and play assignment sound football. OSU will also try and get after Davis to force him into key mistakes.

We also can not underscore enough the loss of veteran cornerback Dustin Fox. N.C. State will throw the ball 35 times (at least). They're going to go after Fox's replacement, Ashton Youboty. And that absence will force Tyler Everett and/or Donte Whitner into full-time roles at nickel and safety as well. The only player in the secondary with more than just a handful of starts is Nate Salley. We'll see how good these guys are at this stage in their careers this weekend.

* How It Will Go: The moment of truth has arrived downtown at the stadium. They either are or they aren't, in effect. I know that's overly simplified because Ohio State, regardless of this result, can still go on and win the Big Ten. And, as you'll see below, that's a good thing.

At any rate, I can't see Ohio State, averaging 3-1/2 turnovers lost per game so far this year, going into a hostile environment and playing error free football – particularly against a veteran team. I like the match-up of the OSU defense against the NCSU offense. But I just see the youth of OSU's offense serving as the Buckeyes' undoing. Maybe the Buckeyes will have a real shot at the win with a great special teams showing. But something tells me this one goes to the home team: N.C. State 27-23

-- Steve Helwagen


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