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    QB Brandon Mitchell
    QB Brandon Mitchell
     

    Oct. 31, 2013

    Game 8: NC State Wolfpack vs. North Carolina Tar Heels
    November 2, 2013 • 12:30 p.m. • ACC Network/ESPN3
    Raleigh, N.C. • Carter-Finley Stadium (57,583)

    NC STATE VS. UNC
    Saturday’s game will mark the 103rd meeting in the series between the Wolfpack and the Tar Heels.  The rivalry, which began in 1894, is the Wolfpack’s oldest among ACC teams and the fourth-most played series in the ACC.

    When the series began, the two teams actually played twice a year for several years (1894, 1899 and 1901).  The series moved to an annual basis for 1919 through 1943 and then after a three-year hiatus, the Wolfpack and the Tar Heels have played every year since 1947 with one exception.  In 1952, the game between the two teams was cancelled because of a polio outbreak on UNC’s campus.

    The Tar Heels hold a 64-32-6 overall mark over the Wolfpack, including a 27-14-4 advantage in Raleigh.  However, NC State has won five of the last six meetings between the two teams and four of the last five at Carter-Finley Stadium.

    MODERN TIMES
    The 19th century was all UNC.  The 20th century was more even.  But in the 21st century, the Pack has definitely ruled.

    The Tar Heels posted a 6-0-1 mark against the Wolfpack in the 1800s, then posted a 53-24-5 mark in the 1900s.  But since the year 2000, NC State has won eight of 13 games against UNC - four at home and four on the road.
        
    PACK, HEELS PLAY CLOSE
    In the past decade, when NC State and UNC have met on the football field the final scores have been fairly close.  In fact, the average scoring difference over that time frame is just 10 points, while five were decided by seven points or less.

    Here’s a look at the final scores each of the past 10 years:

    Year Site Result Score Margin
    2003 H W 47-34 +13
    2004 A L 24-30 -6
    2005 H L 24-31 -7
    2006 A L 9-23 -14
    2007 H W 31-27 +4
    2008 A W 41-10 +31
    2009 H W 28-27 +1
    2010 A W 29-25 +4
    2011 H W 13-0 +13
    2012 A L 35-43 -8

     

     

    HOMETOWN HEROES
    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 - Has started weakside linebacker
    Niklas Sade - Starting placekicker
    Josh Stanley - Backup safety

    FAMILY AFFAIR
    In the Davis household in Raleigh, some colors that usually don’t seem to go well together are blending just fine.  Pete and Debbie Davis certainly have a lot of red in their wardrobes, as their youngest son, Drew, is a redshirt freshman defensive end at NC State and they are always in the stands to cheer him on.

    Their middle child is a basketball player, and when they go to his games, they have to wear that shade of blue that’s not too popular among State fans. Luke Davis is a junior point guard for the UNC Tar Heels who played in 20 games last season.  

    Davis’ oldest brother also attends UNC, as did his grandfather.  Drew grew up pulling for the Tar Heels.  Although his allegiance has obviously been reversed, he attends his brother’s games at the Dean Smith Center frequently, which he says is “pretty awkward.”

    SADE SEES IMPROVEMENT
    Just past the midpoint of the 2013 season, one player who could make a legitimate argument for team MVP would be junior placekicker Niklas Sade.  Sade, who is the most experienced player on the team in terms of games started with 33, ranks fourth in the ACC in scoring for the season with 8.1 points per game.

    His 13 field goals made in 2013 ranks second among league players while his .867 percentage on those kicks ranks fourth.  He has already connected on as many field goals as he made in all of last season.  In fact through seven games a year ago, he had only kicked seven FGs and posted a .700 mark.  For the season last year, his mark stood at .565.

    Sade ranks second in school history with 108 career PATs and needs just 11 for the school record.  His 37 career field goals is the sixth best mark in the NC State record books.

    Sade has been named a Lou Groza “Star of the Week” twice, is a two-time winner of the College Football Performance Awards “Placekicker of the Week” and was the ACC Specialist of the Week for the week of Sept. 7.

    The third-best kicker in the country coming out of high school, he hit four field goals in the opener whch tied as the second-highest tally in school history and he personally outscored the entire Louisiana Tech squad, 16-14.  Against Richmond, he connected on 46 and 19 yarders before nailing the game-winner from 48 yards with 33 seconds on the clock.

    Category 2012 2013 (7 games)
    FG Made 13 13
    FG Att. 23 15
    Pct. .565 .867

    MITCHELL RETURNS
    Graduate quarterback Brandon Mitchell’s return to the field might not have come at the most auspicious time, as the Wolfpack was playing the No. 3 team in the nation on its home field, but following surgery for a broken foot, he was able to compete in 76 snaps and get his timing and rhythm back.

    Mitchell completed 17 of 33 attempts for 128 yards to nine different receivers and was sacked three times in the contest. He ran 11 times as well.

    Mitchell, a graduate student who transferred from Arkansas in July, appeared in 21 games for the Razorbacks, but had played wide receiver in 2012.  He was named the starter before the season opener with Louisiana Tech and led the Pack on three promising offensive series - two of which were 65 and 75 yard touchdown drives.  He completed all three of this throws for a quick gain of 93 yards before a broken foot sent him to the sideline where he has remained for the next five games.

    THORNTON BREAKS LOOSE
    One of the bright spots in the Pack’s loss at Florida State was the play of sophomore tailback Shadrach Thornton.  Thornton, who missed the first game of the season due to a suspension and did not break into the starting lineup until the fourth game of 2013, rushed for a career-high 173 yards in the contest, including a career-long 72-yard touchdown scamper.  He was also the Pack’s leading receiver in the game with five catches.

    That was the most rushing yards for a Pack player since 2006 and the 18th-best mark all-time.

    Thornton’s performance pushed him over the 1,000-yard mark for this career, as he now boasts 1,051 career rushing yards after only 16 games.

    PLAYMAKERS RETURN TO LINEUP
    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 was magnified after the Pack suffered injuries at key positions earlier this season, but most of those players returned last week against Florida State.

    At one point in the second half of the Syracuse game, seven of the Pack’s starters for the season opener were out with injuries:  Quarterback Brandon Mitchell, top two offensive linemen Rob Crisp and Joe Thuney, leading receiver Rashard Smith, defensive tackle T.Y. McGill, defensive end Darryl Cato-Bishop and safety Jarvis Byrd.  Add to that fullback Logan Winkles, the returning starter who was injured in preseason drills and several others who were hurt in the course of the game (QB Pete Thomas and CB Jack Tocho) and you have a pretty depleted Pack.

    Against Wake Forest, the Wolfpack was without the services of its leading rusher and top two receivers.  Freshman running back Matt Dayes, 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, Smith, who had taken Valdes-Scantling’s place as the team’s leading receiver, went down with an injury and did not return.  

    Each of those players, with the exception of Byrd, Crisp and Winkles, was available for the Florida State contest.

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