Saturday, September 11, 2010

N.C. State takes 21-7 halftime lead over UCF

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Fans who thought N.C. State didn't pressure the quarterback enough last season can rest easy.

The Wolfpack unveiled a new, high-pressure scheme and rolled to a 21-7 lead at halftime tonight at Central Florida.

Coach Tom O’Brien entered the season saying new linebackers coach Jon Tenuta’s ability to devise ways to pressure the quarterback could pay dividends for the Wolfpack.

After using largely vanilla schemes last season, N.C. State attacked Central Florida with a devastating array of blitzes and new looks. The Wolfpack blitzed on all four plays of Central Florida’s second possession, including one snap from a three-man front.

Linebacker Audie Cole sacked Rob Calabrese and teamed with Natanu Mageo for another tackle for loss as UCF couldn't handle N.C. State's pressure.

Dean Haynes's 4-yard run, Russell Wilson's 26-yard pass to Darrell Davis, and Mustafa Greene's 21-yard run lifted N.C. State to a 21-0 lead. Wilson struggled at times, completing 7 of 16 passes for 67 yards. But Greene rushed for 47 yards, Haynes added 47 and Wilson contributed 20 as the running game carried N.C. State.

Central Florida struck back with a 93-yard kickoff return by Quincy McDuffie, but missed on a chance to cut into the score some more when Nick Cottoi was wide right on a 46-yard field goal attempt.