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October 23, 2013
NCSU redshirt junior receiver Bryan Underwood is not buying the notion that the Wolfpack could be a trap game for Florida State.
"I expect them to come out flying, coming out full force because of last year," Underwood said. "I expect nothing but great effort from them and playing fast and using their home field advantage against us, coming out ready to go."
What Underwood was referencing to when he mentioned last year was the Pack's 17-16 home win over FSU, who like now was ranked No. 3 when they arrived in Raleigh and harboring national title hopes. Underwood caught the winning three-yard touchdown with 16 seconds left in the game.
After not catching a pass in the opener against Louisiana Tech, Underwood is finding his comfort zone in the new offense. In the last five contests he has 30 receptions for 357 yards and a touchdown and rushed nine times for 112 yards.
He should get some help this week on offense with the return of starting quarterback, fifth-year senior Brandon Mitchell, and fifth-year senior receiver/kick returner Rashard Smith, who was the Pack's leading receiver with 21 receptions for 242 yards before getting hurt early in the loss at Wake Forest.
"We got players back," Underwood admitted. "It's big. We got to use everybody we have. We got to use them all. They're all useful. What we do have we have to work with, but now we got a group back, and we're glad to have them back."
Getting players healthy was part of the bye week for NC State. Underwood also said that they took time to take a step back after disappointing losses at Wake Forest and at home to Syracuse.
"We've been through a lot coming off a couple of losses," Underwood admitted. "We were able to rest up, recover, take some days for ourselves, gather ourselves for the week preparation we have and also to get ourselves mentally ready.
"This week off was a lot of calming down, see where we're at, see what we did wrong, refocus on a lot of things."
Underwood is hoping that a sharper Wolfpack can avoid beating themselves against an explosive FSU squad, especially after watching the 'Noles dismantle Clemson on the road last Saturday.
"I was impressed," Underwood acknowledged. "They came out firing, from the get-go. They took the crowd right out as a factor. They came out flying. Defense was flying to the ball, the offense took the turnover and scored. They executed.
"We actually watched a bunch of film on it to see what Clemson did and didn't do. Basically what Clemson did was hurt themselves from the get-go. They started off on the wrong side of the ball."
Underwood said that since FSU is likely to come out firing once again, NCSU needs to be ready.
"We can't beat ourselves," he said. "We have to come out equal to their speed and come out with the same tempo, and just establish it from the get-go."
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