Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct.10, 2016

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 37 of 55

38 OCT. 10, 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED NC STATE PASSING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME PASS DEFENSE Through three games, it appeared as though the offseason hiring of offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz had dramatically improved the Wolfpack pass attack. Behind redshirt sophomore quarter- back Ryan Finley, NC State ranked 29th nationally with 288.3 yards per game through the air. Finley led the nation with a completion rate of 76.2 percent and he ranked 12th nationally with a 176.39 passer efficiency rating. Those numbers explain why NC State was averaging 9.2 yards per pass attempt, the 12th best mark in the country. Finley has spread the ball around well in the early going, with 11 players catching at least two passes and six players hauling in at least five throws. Samuels led the team with 13 receptions (for 135 yards) and three touchdowns, but redshirt sophomore wideout Ste- phen Louis is tops in receiving yards with 226, which was good for an average of 25.1 yards per catch. The Wolfpack offensive line has protected Finley, giving up just four sacks in the first three games. Notre Dame's pass defense was just as bad as its rushing defense through the first four games, ranking 87th nationally after allowing 253.0 yards per game. Its 9.1 yards per attempt average ranked 123rd and its 14.3 yards per completion rate ranked 112th in the land. Opposing quarterbacks have produced a 154.2 passer efficiency rating, which ranked the Irish defense 111th in the country. Notre Dame needs senior cornerback Cole Luke to get out of his early season slump if it is going to get its pass defense on track. Getting more pressure on the quarterback is also a must, with Notre Dame producing just one sack and 11 QB hurries in the first four games. Six of those hurries came against Nevada. Advantage: NC State NOTRE DAME RUNNING GAME VS. NC STATE RUN DEFENSE Statistically, the Wolfpack rush defense has been outstanding in the team's first three games. NC State has held opponents to just 109.0 yards per game and 3.5 yards per carry, which ranked 27th and 45th, respectively, in the country. It remains to be seen if the NC State run defense is that good, or if it has benefitted from three straight opponents who have struggled to run the ball in the early part of the season. William & Mary ranks 63rd in rushing offense at the Football Cham- pionship Subdivision level. Old Dominion ranked 63rd at the Football Bowl Subdivision level, while East Carolina ranked 90th. Junior safety Josh Jones leads the Wolfpack de- fense with 24 tackles, while sophomore end Darian Roseboro (6.5) and junior linebacker Airius Moore (5.5) paced the defense in tackles for loss. Notre Dame's run game has been up and down, ranking 83rd nationally with 163.8 yards per game and 81st with a yards per carry average of 4.3. Its overall numbers are dragged down by the 57-yard performance against Michigan State, a game in which the Irish fell behind 36-7 and had to abandon the run. The Irish offense racked up 206 yards in the season opener against Texas and piled up 239 yards and three scores against Nevada, showing it is capable of having a big game on the ground. Sophomore running back Josh Adams led the Irish offense with 238 yards (5.1 per carry) through four games, but senior running back Tarean Folston (146 yards) and sophomore running back Dexter Williams (83 yards) have also been productive. Junior quarterback DeShone Kizer has been a major threat with his legs this season, ranking second on the team with 186 rushing yards. Kizer led the Irish with five rushing touchdowns, which ranks 17th nationally among all players through four weeks. Advantage: Even NOTRE DAME PASSING GAME VS. NC STATE PASS DEFENSE NC State's pass defense impressed during its first three games, ranking 47th nationally by allowing 202.3 yards per game. Its national ranking of 16th by allowing 10.1 yards per attempt is the most im- pressive statistic. NC State limited East Carolina — the nation's eighth-best passing offense — to 297 yards, 71 yards below its season average. The Wolfpack racked up seven sacks in the open- ing three games, but its breakout game was a five-sack performance during the 49-22 victory over Old Dominion. Roseboro was the primary reason for the strong performance against Old Do- minion, notching a career-high three sacks. Junior end Kentavius Street contributed two sacks and a team-leading three QB hurries. Behind Kizer and a talented group of receivers, the Irish offense has racked up 292.0 passing yards per game, which ranked 28th nationally in passing offense. Notre Dame has been a big-play aerial at- tack, ranking ninth in yards per completion (15.0) and 17th in yards per attempt (8.9). Kizer has produced impressive numbers in his second season as a starter. He ranked 10th nation- ally in yards per completion (15.2), 12th in passing touchdowns (11) and 14th in passer efficiency rating (167.6). Despite losing Will Fuller to the NFL, Kizer has found plenty of weapons in the early going. Sopho- more wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown led the Irish with 21 receptions, 359 receiving yards and four GAME PREVIEW: NORTH CAROLINA STATE Offense Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. WR 6 E. St. Brown 6-5 205 So. 81 Miles Boykin 6-3½ 222 So. WR 3 C.J. Sanders 5-8 185 So. 15 Corey Holmes 6-0½ 190 Jr. LT 68 Mike McGlinchey 6-7½ 310 Sr. 70 Hunter Bivin 6-5½ 308 Sr. LG 56 Quenton Nelson 6-5 325 Jr. 57 Trevor Ruhland 6-3¼ 300 So. C 53 Sam Mustipher 6-2½ 310 Jr. 75 Mark Harrell 6-4 306 5th-Sr. RG 62 Colin McGovern 6-4½ 310 Sr. 66 Tristen Hoge 6-4¼ 310 So. RT 71 Alex Bars 6-6 320 Jr. 78 Tommy Kraemer 6-4½ 315 Fr. TE 80 Durham Smythe 6-4½ 245 Sr. 82 Nic Weishar 6-4 240 Jr. WR 16 Torii Hunter Jr. 6-0 195 Sr. 29 Kevin Stepherson 6-0 181 Fr. QB 14 DeShone Kizer 6-4¼ 230 Jr. 9 Malik Zaire 6-0 222 Sr. RB 33 Josh Adams 6-1½ 220 So. or 25 Tarean Folston 5-9½ 214 Sr. Defense Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. DL 98 Andrew Trumbetti 6-3½ 255 Jr. 9 Daelin Hayes 6-3½ 250 Fr. or 93 Jay Hayes 6-3 285 Jr. DL 75 Daniel Cage 6-1 315 Jr. or 94 Jarron Jones 6-5½ 315 5th-Sr. DL 99 Jerry Tillery 6-6½ 310 So. 58 Elijah Taylor 6-3 285 So. DL 90 Isaac Rochell 6-3½ 290 Sr. 55 Jonathan Bonner 6-3 286 Jr. LB 5 Nyles Morgan 6-1 245 Jr. 48 Greer Martini 6-2½ 240 Jr. LB 17 James Onwualu 6-1 232 Sr. 44 Jamir Jones 6-2½ 225 Fr. LB 4 Te'von Coney 6-1 235 So. 22 Asmar Bilal 6-2 230 So. CB 24 Nick Coleman 5-11½ 195 So. 35 Donte Vaughn 6-2 200 Fr. S 23 Drue Tranquill 6-1½ 225 Jr. 8 Avery Sebastian 5-10 200 6th.-Sr. S 14 Devin Studstill 6-0 198 Fr. 21 Jalen Elliott 6-0 195 Fr. CB 36 Cole Luke 5-11 195 Sr. 27 Julian Love 5-10½ 190 Fr. NOTRE DAME DEPTH CHART Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. KO 19 Justin Yoon 5-10 190 So. 85 Tyler Newsome 6-2½ 210 Jr. PK 19 Justin Yoon 5-9½ 190 So. 85 Tyler Newsome 6-2½ 210 Jr. P 85 Tyler Newsome 6-2½ 210 Jr. 42 Jeff Riney 5-10 165 So. H 4 M. VanGorder 6-4½ 230 Jr. 14 DeShone Kizer 6-4¼ 230 Jr. Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. LS 61 Scott Daly 6-1½ 250 5th-Sr. 54 John Shannon 6-2 220 Fr. PR 3 C.J. Sanders 5-8 185 So. 10 Chris Finke 5-9½ 180 So. KR 3 C.J. Sanders 5-8 185 So. or 2 Dexter Williams 6-0 210 So. Special Teams

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