The N.C. State Wolfpack are 5 and 1 overall, and 2 and 1 in the ACC as the team prepares for a October 16th matchup against a very dangerous East Carolina squad.
The most dangerous player on the field will likely be Wolfpack quarterback Russell Wilson who hasn’t received as much Heisman hype despite being from a power conference and his team being recently ranked.
However, N. C. State is entering a part of the schedule in which the national sports media must recognize the accomplishments of both the team and its quarterback.
The Wolfpack must keep winning to get recognition. East Carolina Pirates, who are more of a metaphorical little brother, but are still capable of tripping up big brother on any given Saturday.
Wilson is second in all of college football in passing yards and completions. For the year, the 5’11 205 pound junior has thrown for 1,802 yards and completed close to 60% of his passes.
N.C. State has avoided the October swoon that hampered their 2009 season in which the Wolfpack lost all their October games. In 2010, one can say –so far, so good.
The Wolfpack had been ranked previously ranked, but a disappointing October 2nd home loss to Virginia Tech knocked them out of the Top 25 for now. Wilson had thrown for over 300 yards, but had three critical interceptions in a 41-30 loss.
East Carolina, from Conference USA, is undefeated in their conference with a 3 and 0 mark– 3 and 2 overall. The two losses were on the road against ACC opponents-Virginia Tech on Sept. 18thand North Carolina on October 2nd.
The Pirates’ quarterback , Dominique Davis has posted some solid numbers and was involved in arguably college football’s most exciting football game. The game was between the Pirates and Tulsa, and Dominique Davis led a furious comeback as East Carolina pulled out the game, 51-49.
For the year, the Pirates’ 6’3 junior quarterback a pass-first, dual threat QB –similar to Russell Wilson– has thrown for 1,439 yards along with completing 63% of his passes.
The Pirates have been road warriors the last few weeks, and were able to finally squeak out a victory against Southern Mississippi in a 44-43 win at Hattiesburg.
For Russell Wilson, he posted fifth 300-yard game of the season. In an October 9th home game against Boston College, he completed 38 of 51 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns in a 44-17 win.
Wilson’s 144 completions thus far is the third-most among Division I quarterbacks.
At some point, Wilson must become part of the Heisman conversation, but he and N.C. State must continue to win games.
The Pirates should not be overlooked, but if N.C. State wins, the biggest game of the year which could catapult the Wolfpack back into the Top 25 along with increased Heisman recognition would be a win over ranked Florida State in a nationally televised ESPN game on Thursday, October 28th.
However, the most important game for N.C. State is East Carolina.
The Pirates’ head coach Ruffin McNeil is very cognizant of Wilson’s ability and knows he will offer a challenge.
“He’s a dual-threat quarterback who reminds you of Tyrod Taylor with his running ability. But, when he throws the football, he has zip, accuracy and field vision to distribute the football to all five receivers. None of the receivers are at the top of the ACC rankings because Wilson distributes the ball.
Even though Wilson is a dual threat quarterback, he is not the type of runner that Michigan’s Denard Wilson or Auburn’s Cam Newton is.
And Coach McNeil recognizes that difference.
“When he scrambles, he’s scrambling to throw the football. They also have designed running plays for him. He is really calm in the offense and has great pocket presence, command and the ability to escape. We’ll have to do a great job with him.”