Nov. 14, 2013
Game 10: NC State Wolfpack at Boston College Eagles
November 16, 2013 • 12:30 p.m. • RSN
Chestnut Hill, Mass. • Alumni Stadium (44,500)
NC STATE VS. BOSTON COLLEGE
NC State and Boston College first met in 1936, but have only played 10 times in the series.
The Wolfpack has fared well against the Eagles in Raleigh, winning three of the four meetings and each of the last two. However, State posts a 1-5 mark in Chestnut Hill, with the only win coming in that initial 1936 meeting.
Boston College posts a 5-3 mark against the Pack since the Eagles joined the ACC.
PACK DEFENDERS HEAD HOME
Two key players on the Wolfpack defense will be headed home from this weekend's game at Boston College: defensive end Darryl Cato-Bishop and linebacker Rodman Noel. Both are from the Boston area, with Cato-Bishop hailing from Roxbury and Noel calling Everett his home.
Noel's older brother, Jim, was a defensive back at Boston College from 2009-12 and served as one of the team captains last season. His younger brother, Nerlens, played basketball at Kentucky and was a first-round NBA draft pick in June. Noel, who was named after NBA star Dennis Rodman, played for Everett High School before attending Milford Academy in Connecticut.
Cato-Bishop also has a Kentucky connection, as his father, Darryl Bishop, was the first African-American to earn a basketball scholarship to play at UK. Cato-Bishop was a star on the hardwood as well as the gridiron during his prep career at Lawrence Academy in Groton, Mass.
Although the Wolfpack plays in a league that spans a distance of 1,500 miles up the eastern seaboard, NC State will board a plane to play a football game this week for only the second time in 2013.
Dave Doeren's team did not leave the state of North Carolina until 56 days into the 2013 football season, when it traveled to Florida State to take on the No. 2 Seminoles on Oct. 26.
NC State has played six games in Carter-Finley Stadium and its only other road games besides the trip to FSU were quick bus rides to Wake Forest and Duke.
INJURIES POUND PACK
The Wolfpack entered the season with just 11 returning starters - one of the lowest totals in the nation. Since then, State has been bitten hard by the injury bug, with a whopping total of 32 games already missed by players who were listed as starters coming into the season.
Of those games missed, 27 have come on the offensive side of the ball. In addition, another eight games have been missed by key skill players on offense. The quarterback and wide receiver positions have been hit especially hard, as QBs have missed six total games and wide receivers have missed nine. Starting wideout Bryan Underwood and freshman receiver Johnathan Alston are both out for the remainder of the season.
PACK IS CLOSE, LATE
One of the most frustrating, yet promising facts about the Wolfpack's ACC losses is that with the exception of one game (vs. No. 2 Florida State), the score was close heading into the fourth quarter.
In the losses to Clemson, Wake, Syracuse, UNC and Duke, the average difference in the score after the third quarter is just six points. In only one game (vs. No. 3 Clemson) did the Pack trail by more than a touchdown and that was only by 13 points.
Against Syracuse, State tied the score in the fourth quarter and against Duke, the Pack actually went ahead.
SADE IS GROZA SEMIFINALIST
Junior placekicker Niklas Sade has been named one of 20 semifinalists for the 2013 Lou Groza Award. Sade leads the nation this week in field goals per game and ranks second in the ACC in overall scoring with 8.7 points per game.
The most experienced player on the team in terms of games started with 33, Sade has connected on 19 kicks in 2013 - tied as the second-best single-season mark in school history. With one more field goal made, he will tie Josh Czajkowski and Marc Primanti, the 1996 Groza Award recipient.
He has improved his percentage from .565 a year ago to .860 in 2013. He ranks second in school history with 111 career PATs (just eight off the school record) and his 43 career field goals is the fourth-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 which 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. Against UNC, he again connected on four field goals.
THORNTON BREAKS LOOSE
One of the bright spots for the offense in recent games has been 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 at Florida State, 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.
With 90 yards against UNC and another 103 at Duke, Thornton now averages 79.8 rushing yards per game against ACC opponents this season, the fourth-best mark in the league.
He now boasts 1,244 career rushing yards after only 18 games.
Over the last two season, senior wide receiver Rashard Smith has proven to be a dangerous threat on punt returns and is putting up some of the best numbers in school history in that category.
Smith has three punt returns for long touchdowns in his career, two 73-yarders (against The Citadel in 2012 and at Duke last Saturday) and a 67-yarder earlier this season against Central Michigan. Those 73-yarders tie as the eighth-longest punt returns in school history.
This season, Smith leads the ACC with 17.3 yards per punt return, a mark that ranks seventh in the NCAA. He is also only one of seven players nationally that has returned two punts for a touchdown this season.
For his career, Smith has compiled 564 punt return yards, a figure that is tied for sixth in the NC State record books.
As a team this season, the Pack leads the ACC in punt return average (15.3), a mark that ranks 10th nationally.
The wide receiver position is one of the youngest on the team in 2013, particularly following the injury to junior Bryan Underwood. Three different true freshmen have started games at wideout this season: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Bra'Lon Cherry and Jumichael Ramos. Another rookie WR, Johnathan Alston, played in seven games before suffering a season-ending injury at Florida State.