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November 5, 2011

Quick hits from NCSU's win over UNC





Quick hits and notes from NC State's 13-0 win over North Carolina in front of 57,583 very happy Wolfpack fans at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh Saturday afternoon.

Five in a row

Thanks to a defensive effort for the record books, the Pack has now won five straight over its hated rivals from Chapel Hill. State shut out UNC for the first time since 1960 and just the sixth time in 101 matchups.

State's fifth-year seniors end their career never knowing the feeling of a loss to the Tar Heels. Head coach Tom O'Brien improved his record to 5-0 against UNC, and in the process State has matched its longest winning streak in series history. State won five in a row from 1988-92 under coach Dick Sheridan.

Defensive greatness

State recorded its first shut out ever under O'Brien and first since 2004 when the Pack won the Meineke Car Care Bowl 14-0 over South Florida. The last time State pitched a shutout at home was also in 2004 when they beat Richmond 42-0 in the opener. The last ACC shutout: 2001 against Virginia (24-0).

The last time Carolina was shutout was in 2006 when they lost 7-0 to Georgia Tech. The most previous shutout by State over UNC in Raleigh? Try 1921.

The Pack held UNC to just three yards total rushing. UNC's previous low this year had been 102 at Clemson, and State's best defensive effort against the run was 101 yards at Wake Forest. Ironically, State last year held the Heels to negative-seven yards rushing.

Carolina's talented redshirt freshman Giovani Bernard ran 18 times for just 47 yards, but it was enough to get him to 1,012 yards for the year and become the first UNC running back since Jonathan Linton in 1997 to get 1,000 yards in a year. He is the third Carolina freshman to pull off that feat, joining Amos Lawrence and Leon Johnson.

State held UNC to 165 yards of total offense. The Heels had been held under 400 yards just twice this year before Saturday, and their worst effort had been 264 yards versus Louisville. NC State's best defensive effort of the year had been 249 yards at Virginia.

How good was the defense? Senior receiver T.J. Graham, who caught the game's lone touchdown, did not set the ACC record for most kickoff return yards in a career because he had only one chance, the opening kickoff, which he returned 21 yards. Graham needed 76 to set the record heading into the game.

Big moment for Amerson

Sophomore cornerback David Amerson picked off a pass in the end zone for his ninth interception of the year. Amerson broke the school record set by Art Rooney for most interceptions in a season established in 1937 and 1938. He needs two more to tie UNC's Dre Bly for the most picks in a year in ACC history set in 1996. Amerson is tied with Virginia Tech's Jayron Hosley for the second most in the conference record books.

NC State had three interceptions total on the afternoon. Redshirt junior safety Earl Wolff had his first pick of the year, and redshirt sophomore defensive end Darryl Cato-Bishop sealed the win with his fourth quarter pick, the first interception of his career.

State's 19 interceptions for the year is the most since they had that many in 1998.

Offense ... um, good enough

It was not a banner day for the Wolfpack's offense. They had just 290 yards of total offense. Junior running back James Washington had 110 yards rushing on 27 carries, his third 100-plus effort of the year. Jamelle Eugene in 2007 was the last Pack running back to get over 100 three times.

The good news was that State scored first and in the first quarter, a rarity this year. The Pack has scored first just four times, and only twice in FBS games, this season. State has won all four games. This was the first time NCSU struck first in an ACC contest.

The battle of the field position

NC State started 10 of its 13 possessions outside of its own 30-yard line. UNC started inside its own 30 eight times in 13 drives, including five times at the 10 or inside. Freshman punter Wil Baumann deserves some of that credit. He punted seven times for a 37.9-yards per average.

Spotted at the game

A slew of NC State commitments were at the game:

Cornerback Marchez Coates from McDonough High in Pomfret, Md.
Receiver Xavier Griffin from Newark (Del.) High
Defensive tackle K'Hadree Hooker from South Lenoir High in Deep Run, N.C.
Linebacker Majid Salahuddin from Jack Britt High in Fayetteville, N.C.
Safety Josh Sessoms from Southern Nash High in Bailey, N.C.
Defensive end Joe Wright from Rose High in Greenville, N.C.

Seniors of note at the game:

Linebacker Nick Dawson from Berry Academy in Charlotte, N.C. (official visit)
Running back Abner Logan from Dexter School in Brookline, Mass. (official visit)
Defensive end Desmond Owino from Sanderson High in Raleigh (recent offer)

Juniors of note at the game:

Defensive end Naazir Jones from Roanoke Rapids (N.C.) High
Wide receiver Keoen Johnson Brown High in Kannapolis, N.C.
Defensive end Lewis Neal Hunt High in Wilson, N.C.

Also in the press box were pro scouts from the Patriots, Panthers, Texans, Rams, Bears, Jaguars and Raiders.






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