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October 30, 2013

Brandon Mitchell looking to rebound

Fifth-year senior quarterback Brandon Mitchell broke down his performance last Saturday at No. 3 Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla., in the simplest terms possible.

"I played terrible, just being blatantly honest," Mitchell said. "I played terrible. I've got to do a lot better than that. I had opportunities to make plays but didn't make them."

Mitchell completed just 17 of 33 passes for 128 yards and tossed two interceptions. He ran for negative-one yard on 11 carries as well. The performance though may have been partly understandable.

Mitchell broke a bone in his foot in the season-opening drive against Louisiana Tech. Two drives later, he removed himself from the game, and the following day he had surgery that would sideline him for the next five contests.

FSU, a team that Mitchell noted was "going to go off now and try to win a national championship," was Mitchell's first game back.

"I think the first four drives I was really, really rusty, throwing off my back foot, things like that," Mitchell recalled. "As the game went on, I settled down, starting moving the ball. Just have to take the positive from the film and then try to execute this week."

This week is better known as rivalry week. UNC comes to town Saturday. Mitchell, a transfer from Arkansas and native of Amite, La., is not terribly familiar with the rivalry. He has not even seen video of former UNC running back Gio Bernard's game-winning punt return for a score last season, ending the Pack's five-game winning streak against the Heels.

NCSU head coach Dave Doeren did a good job letting Mitchell and the rest of the Wolfpack understand the importance of the week during a team meeting before Tuesday's practice.

"[Doeren] got everybody fired up," Mitchell said. "We won't have any letdowns or anything like that."

Mitchell also said that thinks that he, nor the team, will suffer from negative hangovers after the subpar performance against FSU.

"That's what is really good and unique about this team," Mitchell said. "We are more mature now. We don't really dwell on the loss or the win, we just move on to the next week."

Thus Mitchell has been focused on UNC's defense, a unit that Mitchell noted does not try to disguise what they do as much as Florida State did.

"They are going to play their cover two, and they are going to blitz," Mitchell said. "I feel a lot of confidence having that one game under my belt now and finishing up the game plan pretty well and decent in the second half. We have a lot of confidence going forward now."

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