Oct. 10, 2013
Game 6: NC State Wolfpack vs. Syracuse Orange
October 12, 2013 • 3:30 p.m. • RSN/ESPN3
Raleigh, N.C. • Carter-Finley Stadium (57,583)
NC STATE VS. SYRACUSE
Although Saturday’s meeting will mark the first time the Pack and the Orange have met as Atlantic Coast Conference foes, it will mark the seventh time that NC State and Syracuse have played. In all six previous matchups, the Wolfpack has come out on top - winning three games played in Carter-Finley Stadium and three played in Syracuse.
The last two times the two teams met, Syracuse was ranked in the top-20. In 1998, the Orange came to Carter-Finley ranked 11th in the national polls and left with a 38-17 loss. In 1997, the Pack faced the No. 13 Orange in the Carrier Dome and eked out a 32-31 victory in overtime.
In the 1998 Wolfpack win, junior quarterback Jamie Barnette completed 15 of 28 passes for 291 yards and a TD, while also running for two scores on a 15-67 rushing performance. In 1997, Barnette threw for three scores, including two to All-American wideout Torry Holt.
Here’s a look at the series history:
REAL MEN WEAR PINK
The Wolfpack will wear red and white and in between on Saturday when Syracuse comes to town. In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness month, the NC State squad will be wearing pink socks and wristbands and there may be other touches of pink on the sidelines.
Since the 2011 season, the NFL has supported Breast Cancer Awareness month by allowing players to wear pink cleats, gloves, and chin straps throughout the month of October and many college teams have followed suit.
Wolfpack football supports the fight throughout the year, as all proceeds from State’s annual spring game, the Kay Yow Spring Football Game, go to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and the Kay Yow Scholarship Endowment.
HONORING THE PAST
The 1973 NC State football team will reunite and be honored during Saturday’s game versus Syracuse. Many of the names that populate the Wolfpack record books were on the ‘73 roster, including 2013 ACC Legends Dave and Don Buckey who led the squad in passing and receiving respectively.
But head coach Lou Holtz’s main weapon on that ACC Championship squad was the quadruple threat of running backs Willie Burden, Stan Fritts, Roland Hooks and Charley Young - otherwise known as “The Stallions.” That foursome combined for 2,594 yards and 29 rushing touchdowns, with Burden leading the way with 1,014 yards - a mark which set the State single-season record. He was named the ACC Player of the Year for his efforts.
The squad finished with a 6-0 mark in ACC play en route to the league title and went 9-3 overall, including a 31-18 victory over No. 19 Kansas in the Liberty Bowl. NC State ranked 10th nationally in scoring offense, averaging 33.2 points per game and set offensive marks that still rank among the best in school history.
Paving the way for those backs were All-ACC offensive linemen Bill Yoest and Rich Druschel, who were both drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1974 NFL Draft. On defense, Mike Devine pulled in seven interceptions, a mark that ranked second in school history until 2011. Ralph Stringer averaged 25.5 yards on kickoff return duty as a freshman in ’73, and went on to hold the school record for return yardage for almost 30 years.
PLAYMAKERS DON’T PLAY
One of the biggest obstacles that Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren knew his team would face in 2013 was a lack of depth. That lack is magnified after the Pack has suffered injuries at key positions.
Against Wake Forest, the Wolfpack was without the services of its leading rusher and top two receivers. Freshman running back Matt Dayes, who is the team’s leading rusher and touchdown scorer, dressed but was unable to go due to an injury. Freshman wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who was the leading receiver through the first three games did not play for the second straight game. Six plays into the game, Rashard Smith, who had taken Vades-Scantling’s place as the team’s leading rusher, went down with an injury and did not return.
Starting left tackle Rob Crisp, the team’s top returning player on a very thin offensive line, has missed the last three games and Brandon Mitchell, who won the starting job at quarterback in the preseason, has missed the last four games.
Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren has talked about building a wall around the state of North Carolina and keeping the in-state players at home. He’s taken that a step further by fielding a team that boasts many local players seeing action.
On the current roster, 21 players are from Raleigh or Wake County. Of those 21 players, eight are listed on the two-deep and five have started games this season.
Here’s a list of local players who are seeing significant action for the Pack in 2013:
Tim Buckley - Backup safety
Juston Burris - Starting cornerback
Rob Crisp - Starting left tackle (out due to injury)
Drew Davis - Backup defensive end
Zach Gentry - Has started at middle linebacker
Brandon Pittman - Starting weakside linebacker
Niklas Sade - Starting placekicker
Josh Stanley - Backup safety
STOPPING THE RUSH
One area where the Wolfpack has shown vast improvement from a year ago has been in the team’s ability to stop the rush. Through the first five games of 2013, NC State ranks second in the ACC and 17th nationally in rush defense, giving up just 107.6 yards on the ground per game.
Three of the State’s first five opponents have been held under 115 rushing yards, with two teams finishing with less than 100 (Richmond with 16, Central Michigan with 94).
Last season, the Pack finished 53rd nationally, giving up 154.77 yards on the ground per game.
PUSH ‘EM BACK
The Wolfpack ranks second in the ACC and fifth nationally in tackles for loss, with 44 stops behind the line (8.8/game) - including a season-high 12 vs. Clemson.
NO SUB FOR YOU
The Wolfpack’s starters on the offensive line have not gotten a breather so far in 2013. Two starters - Quinton Schooley and Joe Thuney - have played every offensive snap of the season. In fact, in two games this season (Clemson and Wake Forest) all five starting linemen have played the entire game.
Four players went the distance in the season opener and against Richmond while three played the entire game against Central Michigan.
Five games into the 2013 campaign, the Wolfpack has had five different players lead the team in rushing. Three running backs, a quarterback and a wide receiver have all earned top rusher billing this season. Heading into the Syracuse game, NC State has seven players over 100 yards rushing on the season, but none with over 200.
Here’s a look at the Pack’s leading rushers in 2013:
UNDERWOOD GETS INVOLVED
It might have taken speedy junior wideout Bryan Underwood a while to find his role in the Pack’s new offense, but based on his yardage in the last three games, he seems to have figured it out.
In the Pack’s first two games of 2013, Underwood caught four passes for a total of 21 yards and did not have any rushing attempts. But over the last three games, Underwood’s role in the offense has grown dramatically.
Underwood has been the Pack’s leading receiver over the last three games, pulling in 20 catches for 247 yards. He has also seen an increased role in the ground game, as his seven carries for 101 yards over the last three games ranks third behind RB Shadrach Thornton (124) and QB Pete Thomas (108).