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October 12, 2013

Quick hits from NC State's loss to Syracuse




Quick hits and notes from NC State's 24-10 loss in front of 56,639 disappointed fans at Carter-Finley Stadium on a drizzly Saturday afternoon.

The walking wounded

The biggest story for NC State, aside from the loss, is the list of injured players. By the start of the second half, the Pack was without the following:

Fifth-year senior quarterback Brandon Mitchell
Fifth-year senior receiver/kick returner Rashard Smith
Senior left tackle Rob Crisp
Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Joe Thuney
Fifth-year senior defensive end Darryl Cato-Bishop
Junior defensive tackle T.Y. McGill
Fifth-year senior safety Jarvis Byrd
Freshman cornerback Jack Tocho

Then to add insult to injury, redshirt junior quarterback Pete Thomas hurt his non-throwing shoulder late in the game and did not play the final series of the contest. All of the above mentioned players were starters or started Saturday.

State did return a pair of key freshmen performers in running back Matt Dayes and receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but they had minor roles Saturday. Dayes ran three times for eight yards, and Valdes-Scantling did not catch a pass although he was targeted several times.

Tocho's flashy starting debut

Prior to getting hurt, Tocho was enjoying a great first start for the Wolfpack. He made two interceptions, becoming the first NCSU player to pick off a pair of passes in one game since current Washington Redskins' rookie David Amerson had a pair against Louisville in the 2011 Belk Bowl.

Tocho had nifty returns on both picks, going for 26 and 24 yards on the two. He also had three tackles and a pass breakup before going down. Tocho started in the place of senior Dontae Johnson, who slid over to safety to replace the injured Byrd.

Rush defense missing

Syracuse running backs Jerome Smith and Prince Tyson-Gulley ran wild Saturday. Smith rushed 19 times for 140 yards and a touchdown and Gulley added nine carries for 132 yards and a score. Quarterback Terrell Hunt also carried 11 times for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Together the three led Syracuse to a 362-yard rushing performance, which goes down as the ninth best ever single-game effort by a NCSU opponent in Wolfpack football history. The last time a team had more yards was when ECU had 410 yards in 1996 against a defense that had also given up 374 yards on the ground earlier that season to Purdue.

Some positives

Besides Tocho, redshirt junior receiver Bryan Underwood had six catches for 82 yards, giving him 26 receptions for 336 yards over the past three games.

The other good news is that both Thomas and Tocho appeared to sustain minor injuries and should be back for NCSU's next game after the bye. Barring setback in practice, Mitchell and Smith can probably be expected back by the FSU game as well and perhaps others.

Spotted at the game

Former NCSU tight end John Ritcher was in the press box. He works as a scout for the Arizona Cardinals. Former Syracuse great running back Floyd Little was also in attendance.

Among the recruits, several commits were in attendance. Some that we spotted:

Oakboro (N.C.) West Stanly defensive tackle B.J. Hill
Charlotte Christian wide receiver Bo Hines
Durham (N.C.) Southern wide receiver Maurice Trowell
Wilson (N.C.) Hunt safety Dexter Wright

Some impressive prospects were also at the game:

Greensboro (N.C.) Page four-star defensive end Lorenzo Featherston
Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland County junior quarterback Jaylend Ratliffe
Burlington (N.C.) Cummings high offensive tackle and Virginia commitment Will Richardson
Lincolnton (N.C.) High four-star junior defensive end Darian Roseboro

What the loss means

NC State falls to 3-3 overall but more importantly is 0-3 in the ACC. Syracuse, which won for the first time in seven tries against NC State, is also 3-3 and is 1-1 in the ACC after winning their first ever game in their new league.


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