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    Thursday Football Notebook
    Tony Creecy
    Tony Creecy

    Glennon Playing with Confidence

    Game 9: NC State Wolfpack (5-3, 2-2) vs. Virginia Cavaliers (2-6, 0-4)
    November 3, 2012 • 12:30 p.m. • ACC Network
    Raleigh, N.C. • Carter-Finley Stadium (57,583)

    Note: The Men’s Basketball exhibition game against Blemont Abbey will be broadcast live in its entirety on the Wolfpack Sports Network following the football broadcast. Tip is scheduled for 30 minutes after the NCSU-UVA football game, admission is free at PNC Arena.

    Saturday’s meeting will mark the 57th meeting between NC State and Virginia in the series that dates back to 1904.  The Wolfpack holds a 34-21-1 advantage in the series and has won four of the last six - including the last three games played in Raleigh.

    State and Virginia played every year from 1960 - 2003, but have met just three times since ACC expansion, with the ‘Hoos winning in Charlottesville in 2006 (14-7), the Pack taking the victory against the No. 18 Cavaliers in Raleigh in 2007 (29-24) and then winning at Charlottesville in 2011, 28-14.  The Pack’s win on the road against UVa last season was its first in Charlottesville since 1994.  Tom O’Brien was the offensive coordinator/quarterback coach for that Cavalier team that finished the season 9-3 and won the Independance Bowl.

    Half of the last 10 games between NC State and Virginia have been decided by a touchdown or less, including two of the last three (7-14 in 2006 and 29-24 in 2007).  State won by two TDs a year ago, 28-14.

    In 2003, NC State won by two touchdowns in Raleigh (51-37), but that game may have actually been the closest in recent history.  In a battle of two quarterbacks who are now NFL starters, Philip Rivers and Matt Schaub, there were four ties and eight lead changes before the Pack went on to win, 51-37.

    Close games between the two teams are nothing new, however.  In 1944, in a game played in Norfolk, the Wolfpack gained a 13-0 victory in a driving rainstorm by recovering two UVa fumbles in the endzone for touchdowns.  State failed to make a first down and had just 10 yards of total offense in that game, an NCAA record for fewest yards gained by a winning team and one of only two games in bowl subdivision history where the winning team failed to make a first down.

    Cavalier head coach Mike London is one of O’Brien’s seven former assistant coaches who have gone on to become head coaches.  London served on the Boston College staff as defensive coordinator from 1997-2000.

    This will mark the eighth time that O’Brien has faced one of his former assistants on the gridiron, and the second of three times this season.  The Wolfpack played former assistant Al Golden’s Miami Hurricanes earlier this season and will face Frank Spaziani’s Boston College squad in the last week of the regular season.

    The Wolfpack coaching staff has some pretty strong ties to the University of Virginia, as well as to the Cavalier coaching staff.

    On the Wolfpack side, head coach Tom O’Brien was on the Cavalier staff for 15 years (1982 - 1996), coaching guards and centers for nine years, then serving as offensive coordinator for six seasons (four with the QBs, two back with the OL) under George Welsh.  He helped lead the Cavaliers to 12 winning seasons, four bowl appearances and an ACC Co-Championship.  

    Three other members of the current Wolfpack staff also coached at UVa during that time frame:  Mike Archer (linebackers, 1991-92), Jim Bridge (GA, 1994-95) and Jerry Petercuskie (defensive tackles, 1995-96).

    Linebackers coach Jon Tenuta lettered at defensive back at Virginia for three seasons, earning the team’s John Acree Memorial Football Trophy and Kevin Bowie Award. He also served as a graduate assistant from 1981-82.

    From the Virginia side, wide receivers coach Shawn Moore was a All-American signal caller for UVa during O’Brien’s time on the staff (O’Brien was coaching the offensive line during Moore’s career).  

    Virginia associate head coach/defensive coordinator Jim Reid was the defensive coordinator at BC in 2004, before O’Brien was head coach, but Wolfpack secondary coach Mike Reed’s senior season.    

    Cavalier running back coach Anthony Poindexter was a safety at Virginia from 1994-98, crossing paths with O’Brien for his first three seasons with the program.

    There is no doubt that the NC State football squad definitely feeds off the energy provided by its home fans.  Since the beginning of the 2010 season, the Wolfpack has posted a 14-2 record at Carter-Finley Stadium, including wins over two top-10 teams.

    In that same time frame, the Pack has posted a 6-9 mark in away games and a 2-1 mark at neutral sites.

    On Saturday, the 1967 Wolfpack football team will hold its 45th anniversary reunion.  So far, 31 members of that squad, which posted a 9-2 overall mark, are scheduled to attend the game.

    Earle Edwards’ squad won the first eight games of the season in 1967, moving up to as high as No. 3 in the national polls.  The team, which also posted a 5-1 mark in ACC place, finished second in the league and defeated Georgia in the Liberty Bowl.  That was State’s first bowl victory.

    The list of returnees will be highlighted by All-Americans Freddie Combs (DB), Carey Metts (C) and Ron Carpenter (DT), plus Academic All-American Steve Warren (OT).

    Quarterback Mike Glennon has been on a tear since ACC play has started. The Pack’s quarterback has completed 106-of-196 passes for 1,473 yards (a 368.3 yard avg.) and 13 touchdowns over the last four games, all in ACC play.
    Glennon has twice set a career high in passing yardage since league play opened:  first with 440 yards at Miami, and again with 467 yards at North Carolina.
    Glennon’s average in ACC games (and overall) leads the ACC by 50 yards, as Miami’s Stephen Morris is second at 318.4 yards a game.
    In the first four games of the season, all non-conference, Glennon averaged 245.5 yards with a high of 288 in the season opener against Tennessee.
    Glennon had three games over 300 yards last season, and with his three this year so far, he ranks third all-time in the State record books for career games over that mark (Philip Rivers 19, Russell Wilson 12).
    Glennon is also moving up the ranks in career 400 yard passing games, which he had not accomplished until this season. He is the first to throw for over 400 in a game since Philip Rivers did so five times in 2003, and is only one of four players ever to have thrown for over 400 (Rivers, Shane Montgomery, and Jamie Barnette).

    Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Bryan Underwood is the ONLY wide receiver in the NCAA that has a TD reception in every game this season. Underwood has set a new school record with a TD catch in eight consecutive games, one behind the ACC record (Herman Moore, UVA 1990).
    The most diminutive member of the NC State wide receiver corps at 5’11, 174, Underwood ranks second on the team with 28 catches this season, but he leads the team and is tied for third in the ACC in touchdown scoring.  

    Seven of his 12 scoring grabs have been for 33 or more yards.  His most memorable, however, is the two-yard reception with 16 seconds left to play to give the Pack a victory over No. 3 Florida State.

    Last season he scored on a 33- and a 79-yarder at Virginia and this season has caught TDs for 44, 46 and 55 yards.

    NC State’s rushing attack has been a bit up-and-down this season.  The reason behind the ‘down’ could be that the Wolfpack has faced four teams that ranked in the top 25 nationally in rushing defense at the time the games were played - Florida State, Maryland and Connecticut ranked in the top 10 and UNC ranked in the top 25.  In those four games combined, the Pack rushed for a total of 227 yards - an average of 56.8 yards per game.

    Rushing for less than 100 yards in a game hasn’t had too negative of an impact, however, as State has won three of those four contests.

    In the four games that the opponent was not ranked in the top-10 nationally, the Pack has rushed for an average of 188.0 yards an outing. (Tenn – 119, South Ala. – 127, The Citadel – 282, Miami – 224).

    If the first eight games of the season are good indicators, when the opposition gets to third down, their punter better be warming up.  NC State ranks second in the ACC and seventh nationally in third down conversion defense.  The Wolfpack is allowing its opponents to convert at just a 27.59 clip this season.

    And fourth down?  Forget about it!  The Pack leads the ACC and is tied for second nationally, allowing just one success in eight opponent fourth-down attempts in 2012.

    In the last seven games, the Wolfpack defense has held the opponents to a .264 (23-87) percentage on third down conversions.  From late in the UConn game, until the 3rd quarter against The Citadel, opponents went 16 consecutive third downs without a conversion.  Florida State was converting exactly half of the time on third down coming into the game against a fired-up Pack defense that allowed them to convert just three of 15 third down attempts.

    On Sept. 15, Mike Archer’s defensive unit held South Alabama without a third or fourth down conversion on the game as the Jaguars finished 0-for-11 on third down and 0-for-1 on fourth. The last time NC State  had held a team without a third down conversion came in 1992, when the Pack forced Virginia Tech to an 0-for-12 mark, a span of 228 games.

    In 117 drives this season, the Wolfpack has forced 37 three-and-outs.



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