It's hard not to notice No. 35 flying around on defense for NC State in recent weeks. Redshirt junior linebacker Terrell Manning may well be playing the best football in his Wolfpack career.
It started when he was one of the rare players that performed well at Florida State Oct. 29. Manning had seven tackles, including two for loss and a sack, and picked off a pass. A week later, he made 11 tackles, including a sack, and was named ACC Linebacker of the Week for his performance against UNC.
He had 10 tackles, including two for a loss and a sack, at Boston College, and last Saturday Manning added nine more tackles, including three for losses, a quarterback hurry and a pair of fumble recoveries.
Manning admitted that with a "big-time" assist from a healthy defensive line, he knows that he is playing well.
"It feels pretty good," Manning said. "I feel healthy, and everything is going well. I have a great group of guys that help me out a lot, keep people off me. If I mess up, they make up, so it feels pretty good right now.
"I definitely notice. It's one of those things that you can't sit back and say you haven't been playing good. I have, but at the same time, there's always places I can make improvement. That's what we're looking to do this week against Maryland."
Manning is helping a Wolfpack defense that has played strong the last three games in particular. State held UNC to season-lows in nearly every offensive category, and almost did the same with Clemson. They also shut down Boston College in the second half, giving up negative-two total yards.
"From the beginning I said that we had one of the top defenses in the nation, and personally I'm not backing off that statement," Manning stated. "When everybody is doing what they are supposed to do, we're pretty good. Each individual is pretty good, that's what makes the difference. When you put it together, that's outstanding."
Manning has simple advice to keep the momentum going Saturday against Maryland.
"Don't worry about it," Manning said. "You just go into the game, pin your heads back and go after it. That's the biggest thing. If you think about it too hard, you worry about playing good, that's when things go wrong. When bad things happen, forget it and move on. That's the biggest thing."