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October 6, 2010The numbers do not lie. NC State had trouble stopping the rushing attack of Virginia Tech. The Hokies rushed 37 times for 317 yards, an impressive average of 8.6 yards per rush. Two different Virginia Tech players - senior quarterback Tyrod Taylor and junior running back Darren Evans - ran for over 100 yards.
The week before, Georgia Tech and it's potent option attack rushed 48 times for 247 yards and 5.1 yards per rush, although those numbers are below the Yellow Jackets' average for the year. Nevertheless, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech's big games on the ground has raised the Wolfpack's rushing defense average to 164 yards allowed per game, eighth in the ACC.
NC State redshirt junior linebacker Audie Cole, who is second on the team with 32 tackles and 7.5 tackles for losses, attributed much of their woes against Virginia Tech to Taylor, who finished that game with 16 carries for 121 yards, including a 71-yard scamper in the second half to set up a touchdown.
"Tyrod Taylor was killing us because we didn't contain him, and he was getting outside of the pocket on us," Cole explained. "He was a tough guy. It was tough to contain him, and we didn't do that. We ended up losing it for ourselves doing that."
Cole admits the 41-30 loss to the Hokies stung NC State a bit. The Pack entered the contest at 4-0 and 1-0 in the ACC and ranked No. 23 in the Associated Press. NC State was up 17-0 in the first half on Virginia Tech and led 30-28 with less than five minutes remaining before giving up two late touchdowns.
"It's all behind us now," Cole said. "First day was kind of touch. We knew we were in that game. It was ours for the taking and we gave it up. The first couple of days were tough, but it's all behind us now. We've got Boston College now."
The Eagles are a formidable challenge for State. Boston College has won three straight against the Pack, including a 52-20 loss last season during which Boston College star running back Montel Harris, now a junior, set new school records by rushing for 264 yards and five touchdowns.
"He's a good running back, fast guy," Cole said. "I remember the game. They ran a lot of wildcat on us, did a lot of other things. He had a great game against us. We're trying to not let that happen again."
Boston College though has struggled offensively this season, especially at the quarterback position. The Eagles are last in the ACC in total offense with 309 yards per game and scoring offense with 19.2 points per contest. The lack of the consistent passing attack has hurt Harris and the ground game. Boston College is last in the ACC with 87.5 yards rushing per game. Harris though has remained steady, rushing for 334 yards in four contests, and average of 83.5 yards per game, good for fourth best in the ACC in both categories.
Despite their struggles running, Boston College is likely to come out and try to establish its ground attack on NC State.
"I'm confident we are going to be alright," Cole said. "Sometimes that happens, but I am confident we are going to be okay. I'm confident. Our defense, we're playing a lot better now even though we gave up a lot of yards last week. I think we are going to be fine this week. I feel good about it."