Gary's Game Notes, Part I
Oct. 2, 2001
NC State (2-1, 0-1) at Wake Forest (2-2, 0-2)
DATE: Saturday, October 6, 2001
TIME: Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. (EDT) at Groves Stadium (31,500)
RADIO: Wolfpack Capitol Sports Network. AIRTIME: 5:45 p.m. (EST)
A WIN -- Would give NC State its third victory overall, first in the ACC this season, second straight over Wake Forest in the series and first at Groves Stadium since a 52-23 triumph over the Deacons in 1995. The Pack's road record under Chuck Amato would improve to 4-3 overall and 2-3 in ACC play. It would mark the first ACC road victory for NC State since beating UNC on October 14, 2000, and improve the Pack's all-time record vs. Wake Forest to 58-31-6.
A LOSS --Would be the second straight overall, second in-a-row in the ACC this season, and first to Wake Forest during the Chuck Amato era. The Deacons would extend their winning streak over the Wolfpack at Groves Stadium to three straight games and move to 32-57-6 all-time against NC State. The Pack's road record under Amato would drop to 3-4 overall and 1-4 in ACC games.
OFFENSIVE DIP -- NC State's offense has not been as prolific as it was a year ago, but is still putting up solid numbers. This week among 115 Division 1-A teams, the Pack is No. 78 nationally in total offense (336.7 ypg.), No. 30 in passing offense (255.7 ypg.), and 63rd in scoring offense (23.3 ppg.). Wake Forest is No. 31 in total offense (412.3 ypg.), No. 81 in pass offense (180.5 ypg.), and 72nd in scoring offense (21.3 ppg.).
RIVERS AMONG NATION'S LEADERS -- Quarterback, Philip Rivers, the 2000 ACC Rookie of the Year, is having a solid sophomore campaign. Against, North Carolina last week, Rivers was 24 of 43 passing for 306 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. It marked his fifth career 300-yard passing game. His performance against UNC moved him into 7th place in NC State career passing yardage. In this week's NCAA stats, Rivers is 37th in passing efficiency, 27th in total offense (248.7 ypg.) and 10th in completions per game (22.3).Last season, he became only the second NC State quarterback to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a season. With 30 yards passing vs. WFU, Rivers would move to 6th in NC State career passing yardage, passing Tim Esposito. Thirty (30) more completions would move Rivers to 5th (334) passing Esposito. Three more TD passes would put Rivers into 3rd place, passing Shane Montgomery for NC State career passing touchdowns (31).
SECOND HALF RALLIES --The Pack had a chance to send last week's game against UNC into overtime, but came up a yard short at the Tar Heels 26 yard line on a fourth down attempt with :28 to play. The week before, the Pack used a fourth quarter comeback to beat SMU. NC State has come from behind to win in seven of its 10 victories under Chuck Amato and has either trailed or was tied in the fourth quarter in six of those wins. Last season, six of the Pack's eight wins were of the come-from-behind variety.
THE MAGIC NUMBER IS ...20 -- For the first time since a 24-17 loss at Virginia last season, NC State was held to less than 20 points by an opponent when UNC beat the Pack 17-9 last week. Since 1997, the Wolfpack is 28-9 (including bowl games) when scoring more than 20 points in a game.
LET'S NOT RUSH INTO THINGS-- The Wolfpack has managed only 153 yards rushing in its last two games and this week is No. 105 nationally in rushing offense (81.0 ypg.). NC State is No. 99 nationally in rushing offense (95.5 ypg.). Wake Forest leads the ACC and is 11th in the nation in rushing (231.7 ypg., 4.1 ypc.).
RUSH FOR 200 AND WIN --NC State is 45-3-1 since 1988 when rushing for 200 yards or more in a game. The defeats were: at UVA (211 yds. on 10/24/98) vs. Miami (297 yds. on 12/29/98) and at Maryland (218 yds. on 11/4/00).
FISHER IS CATCHING BALL CARRIERS --Linebacker Levar Fisher, a preseason candidate for the Butkus and Nagurski Awards, leads the ACC in tackles (16.3 per game) and has a team high 49 stops. That should not surprise anyone since Fisher led the nation in tackles last season (166). The aggressive senior won ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2000, marking the first time in history that an NC State player earned the award. He totaled 12 of more tackles in 10 of NC State's 11 regular season games and averaged 15.1 tackles a game. Named a first team All-America by Football News and the Football Writers Association of America, Fisher recorded 21 tackles vs. Maryland, the third highest total in school history.
RUNNING 'EM DOWN--After three games, NC State is No. 55 nationally in rushing defense, allowing 144 yards per game. That's an improvement from last season when the Pack finished 98th nationally against the run (191.0 ypg.). Wake Forest has had trouble vs. the run. The Deacons are No. 73 in the NCAA stats this week allowing an average of 168 yards rushing and they've surrendered 10 rushing touchdowns.
DRIVE TO STAY ALIVE-- The Pack came into the UNC game converting on 43 percent of its third down opportunities, but was only 3 of 15 against the Tar Heels. That dropped the Pack to 35 percent for the season (15 of 43). Last season, the Pack was 36 percent successful on third down. WFU has converted 38 percent of its third down plays this season (26 of 68). On fourth down, NC State is 1-4. Wake Forest is 7-11.
PACK SECONDARY IS NO FLY ZONE --NC State is allowing an average of 169 yards a game through the air this season (23rd NCAA) and has surrendered 5 passing TDs. That is a carry-over from last season when the Pack was 18th nationally in passing defense and led the ACC (184 ypg.). Over the last 50 regular season quarters, the Pack's defense has yielded 16 touchdown passes.
NEAR TOP IN TURNOVER MARGIN -- The Wolfpack is 10th nationally in turnover margin this week. In three games, NC State has forced opponents into eight turnovers while turning the ball over itself three times (+1.67). Wake Forest is even in turnovers, gaining and losing nine. Last year, the Pack's 20 turnovers marked a school record for fewest in one season.
HARD TO SACK 'EM-- NC State leads the ACC in fewest sacks allowed (4) while WFU is second (5). NC State has sacked opposing quarterbacks 8 times in 2001. Wake Forest has 9 QB sacks.
BLOCKED! --Terrance Holt's block of an SMU field goal gave NC State its third blocked kick of the season and 23rd since 1998. Brian Jamison and Brian Williams blocked punts vs. Indiana on Sept. 6th. Last season, the Pack blocked a school-record four field goals and three punts. Holt has blocked four field goals and two punts in his career. Williams has four career punt blocks.
A LEG UP ON THE COMPETITION-- The leg of sophomore kicker, Austin Herbert, has been busy this season. Except for the UNC game (ankle injury), he's handled all the kicking chores for NC State. Herbert is 5th in the ACC in punting (37.7 ypp.). So far, his best performance of the season was at SMU with 5 punts for a 44 yard average. In the field goal department, Herbert is 3-3 with a long of 28 yards. A 37-yard attempt against Indiana was blocked. As a true freshman last season, Austin Herbert, punted 59 times for a 37.7 yard average and handled kickoff duties.
THE COMEBACK PACK -- Since 1993, NC State has rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to win 6 times. During the 2000 regular season, the Pack came from behind to gain victory in six of its eight wins, including three of its first four. This season vs. SMU, the Pack trailed in the fourth quarter before rallying to victory.
RED HOT IN RED ZONE --The Pack is a perfect 9 for 9 inside the opponents 20-yard line this season (5 touchdowns, 4 field goals. WFU is 10-17 in red zone opportunities (5 TD, 5 FG).
WOLFCUBS -- There are 104 players on the Wolfpack roster, but 36 are newcomers. That means 35 percent of the squad is made up of new players.
INJURIES--NC State: RB Carlos Doggett (broken foot) -out, WR Andy Bertrand (shoulder) -out for season, DB Rod Johnson (broken arm)-out, P Austin Herbert (ankle)-probable. WFU: WR Ira Williams (shoulder)-questionable, QB James MacPherson (ankle)-day-to-day, NT Goryal Scales (knee) -doubtful.
NEXT GAME -- The Wolfpack will host Clemson University on Saturday, October 13th. Airtime will be 11:15 a.m.. on the Wolfpack Capitol Sports Network with kickoff at 12-noon. The game will be televised regionally by the Jefferson-pilot ACC Network.