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December 27, 2011Quick hits and notes from NC State's 31-24 win over Louisville in the 2011 Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte in front of 58,427 mostly Wolfpack fans.
Big night for Glennon
Redshirt junior quarterback Mike Glennon was named the game's MVP after completing 21 of 33 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Glennon finished the season with 31 touchdown passes, tying him for the second most in school history for a one-year campaign with Russell Wilson's mark in 2009. Pro Bowler Philip Rivers holds the school record with 34 in 2003.
Glennon also finished the season with 3,054 passing yards, tied for the fifth best mark in school history with Rivers' 2000 mark. His three touchdown passes in the Belk Bowl trails only Rivers' five against Kansas in the 2003 Tangerine Bowl for the most in bowl history.
Why do teams throw to Amerson?
Sophomore corner David Amerson picked off a pair of passes in the Belk Bowl, returning one 65 yards for a touchdown. To be fair to Louisville, his second pick was on a Hail Mary at the end of the game. Nevertheless, Amerson finished with 13 interceptions on the year, a new ACC record, breaking the previous mark of 11 that he had been tied with former UNC corner Dre Bly. Bly did it in 1996.
Amerson was one interception away from tying Washington's Al Worley for the most picks in a single season set in 1968 among FBS schools.
Seniors go out on a high note
Senior receiver T.J. Graham went through a torrid three-game stretch from weeks two through four but had not been as prolific since then. He had three straight 100-yard receiving games and four scores but then failed to have more than 56 yards in a game in the final eight contests and only caught one touchdown.
He rebounded strong in the Belk Bowl however, catching seven passes for 116 yards and two scores, including a highlight-worthy 68-yard catch-and-run effort. The yardage total was more than Graham's last four games combined (110).
Fifth-year senior George Bryan had three catches for 29 yards, giving him 126 career receptions, tied for the seventh-most in school history with Owen Spencer.
Fifth-year senior linebacker Audie Cole had 9.5 tackles, including two sacks and four total tackles for loss.
Injuries pile up
Junior center Camden Wentz suffered an ankle injury in the first half and was replaced by the combination of fifth-year senior Wayne Crawford and redshirt freshman Cameron Fordham the rest of the game. Wentz had led State in snaps played entering the Belk Bowl with 856.
Freshman punter Wil Baumann sustained a strained knee according to head coach Tom O'Brien after being roughed on a punt rush. Baumann's punt went 42 yards, but he was lost for the game. Senior walk-on J. Ellis Flint took his place and punted once for 26 yards.
Although no injury was announced, redshirt freshman running back Tony Creecy was noticeably absent from the field after the first quarter. He ran four times for 16 yards, and he was replaced in the rotation by fifth-year senior Curtis Underwood, Jr.. Underwood ran six times for 19 yards.
What the win means
NC State finishes the season at 8-5 overall. O'Brien improves his personal record in bowl games to 8-2, and his teams are 9-2 in postseason play (the 2006 BC squad won the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte after O'Brien accepted the NC State job).
The Pack is 14-11-1 all-time in bowl games and 2-0 in Charlotte. They defeated South Florida 14-0 in what was called the Meineke Car Care Bowl in 2005. State has won five of its last six bowl games.
Louisville falls to 7-6 this season and 7-8-1 all-time in bowl games. The Cardinals still hold the all-time edge over State 3-1. Louisville went 0-2 this season against ACC teams, also losing at UNC, while the Pack went 1-1 against Big East teams, losing at Louisville's fellow co-Big East Champion Cincinnati.
The Cards are 1-2 against ACC teams in bowl games.
Spotted at the game
Several former NC State players were in attendance to show their support. Mario Williams and Renaldo Moses were in the press box at halftime, and DeMario Pressley, a defensive tackle on the Carolina Panthers' practice squad, was on the sideline during the game.