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    Monday, October 13, 2008

    Head To Head Matchup: Running Backs

    At the end of the 2007 season, 6-0/228 pound senior running back Andre Brown ranked 12th in NC State history with 1,772 career yards. In 2007, he missed four complete games after fracturing his foot in the game against Florida State. On the season, he rushed for 447 yards.

    In 2008, Brown has 76 carries for 325 yards and 3 TDs. His longest run has been for 16 yards. Brown does have 177 receiving yards and 1 TD. NC State has only 6 rushing TDs so far this season. Behind Brown is 5-11/210 pound sophomore Curtis Underwood with 32 carries for 116 yards and 1 TD. The one thing that can be said for the running game for NC State is that it cannot get any worse. In the ACC, they rank dead last in rushing offense averaging 80 yards a game rushing.

    Defensive matchup: The NC State running backs will be facing a tough FSU defense that is ranked number one in the ACC in rushing defense allowing opponents only 64 yards a game. The NC State offensive line will have to contend with the likes of FSU linebacker Derek Nicholson and defensive end Everette Brown. Respectively they are ranked number 2 and 3 in the ACC for tackles for a loss.

    For the Noles, there is the new and improved Antone Smith. For the season, Smith leads the Noles in rushing with 394 yards and 9 TDs. He is averaging almost 5 yards a carry. He also has caught 1 TD for the season. In the last two games against Colorado and Miami, Smith has rushed for 246 yards and 7 TDs. In the last game against Miami, he had 4 TDs on the day.

    In addition to Smith is freshman Jermaine Thomas who has rushed for 213 yards and 2 TDs. Running backs coach Dexter Carter has indicated that they need to get Thomas more touches given his ability to run the ball effectively. Against NC State, Thomas should have more than the two touches he had in the Miami game.

    Defensive matchup: The Nole running game will be facing an NC State defense that is ranked last in the ACC allowing 170 rushing yards a game. Linebacker Ray Michel is ranked number 3 in the conference with 28 solo and 20 assisted tackles.

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