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October 10, 2013

Quintin Payton looking to build on breakout performance

Fifth-year senior wide out Quintin Payton totaled just six catches for 61 yards in the first four games of the season. He still served an important team leader and made contributions that don't show up on the final statistics sheet, like blocking on the perimeter, but receivers coach Frisman Jackson predicted Payton would break out soon in an interview with The Wolfpacker last week after practice.

Jackson's intuition proved to be correct, as Payton tied a career-high with six catches, which went for 98 yards and a touchdown, last weekend against Wake Forest.

"I was just able to make plays when coach called my number to make them," he explained. "I felt like I had to step up, being a senior receiver with [classmate] Rashard [Smith] down. We usually split things half-and-half, but with him going down, I felt like I needed to pick up the slack."

Smith is questionable for this weekend's game after he logged just six snaps before being hurt against Wake, but Payton is still confident in his position group. The team is expected to get true freshman Marquez Valdes-Scantling back after he missed the last two games with injury, sophomore Travares Copeland has played in each of the last two contests after battling an early-season injury and redshirt junior Bryan Underwood has emerged in the last three tilts.

In addition to Valdes-Scantling, rookies Jumichael Ramos, Bra'Lon Cherry and Jonathan Alston have provided depth to a position where there wasn't much heading into the season.

"We saw it this summer," Payton explained. "They came in ready to work and ready to play. It hasn't been a surprise to us, but they have stepped up for us.

"They did a real good job of eliminating the depth problem that we had. We have guys that fill different roles - we have guys that run the jet sweep, we get other guys in space so they can make moves and make plays. People are able to just play their roles."

State might need all of the depth they have on Saturday, when they'll square off with a Syracuse defense that Payton labeled as physical. The 6-foot-4, 212-pounder actually looks forward to the physical games, which take advantage of his mindset and abilities.

"Coach [Frisman] Jackson told us coming in that if we wanted to get on the field, we better block," Payton remembered. "He said, 'you can't catch the ball if you're not blocking,' so I felt like I should take both jobs serious. I feel like every aspect of the game helps somebody else. If I can help the running backs get two or three extra yards by blocking on the edge, then I'm willing to do it.

"I'm looking forward to playing a physical defense. I like to be physical on the edge and I'm just ready for them to bring it. I like playing a physical defense, they take chances and leave holes. Hopefully, it will be exciting to watch."

N.C. State NEWS


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