Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 30, 2017

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

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Page 34 of 55 OCT. 30, 2017 35 BY BRYAN DRISKELL NC STATE RUNNING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME RUN DEFENSE North Carolina State ranked 57th in the nation in rushing offense through seven weeks, averaging 177.4 yards per game and 4.6 yards per attempt. The Wolfpack compiled a season-high 256 yards in a 33-25 win over Syracuse Sept. 30, rushed for 248 yards in a 35-17 road win over Pittsburgh Oct. 14 and tallied 242 yards on the ground in a 49-16 win over Furman Sept. 16. Dynamic junior speedster Nyheim Hines and do- it-all senior Jaylen Samuels have led the way for the ground game. Hines averaged 114.0 yards in the three games mentioned above, and added 102 yards in a 39-25 win over Louisville Oct. 5. He was third in the 100 meters with a time of 10.34 at the 2017 ACC Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Samuels leads the team in receptions (54), but he also contributed 136 rushing yards in the wins over Syracuse and Pittsburgh. NC State rushed for just 89 yards on 35 carries (2.5 yards per attempt) in a 35-28 loss to South Carolina to start the season Sept. 2 and averaged just 4.4 yards per carry against Marshall Sept. 9. The Seminoles limited NC State to merely 110 rushing yards and 2.97 yards per carry. Notre Dame's run defense has been similarly up and down, although more the latter. It ranked 42nd nationally in yards allowed per game (134.5) through the first six contests, while the 3.7 yards allowed per carry ranked 44th. Notre Dame led the nation in fewest rushing touchdowns allowed, giving up just one through six games. The Irish did allow 185 yards in back-to-back games against Georgia and Boston College, but limited their four other opponents to an average of 109.3 yards per game and only 3.4 yards per attempt. Notre Dame senior linebacker Nyles Morgan continued to pace the defense in tackles through six games with a team-leading 44 stops. Morgan also tied for the team lead with 4.5 tackles for loss, along with senior rover Drue Tranquill and junior defensive lineman Jerry Tillery. Advantage: Even NC STATE PASSING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME PASS DEFENSE The Wolfpack will bring one of the nation's most efficient passing attacks into South Bend. Redshirt junior quarterback Ryan Finley ranked seventh in the land in completion percentage (69.4) and 24th in pass efficiency (150.65 rating). Finley, who transferred to NCSU from Boise State, began the season with a 415-yard effort against South Carolina and a 341-yard performance versus Marshall. He completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 230 yards in the crucial road win over Florida State. He outdueled 2016 Heisman Trophy win- ner Lamar Jackson on national television against Louisville, completing 64.6 percent of his throws for 367 yards. The emergence of sophomore wideout Kelvin Harmon has been one of the keys to NC State's success. Harmon led the Wolfpack with 547 re- ceiving yards through seven tilts. The 6-3 native of Palmyra, N.J., had at least 113 yards in four of those contests. Notre Dame ranked 78th in passing yards al- lowed per game (231.2), but that was due largely to the team having big leads in its five wins, which GAME PREVIEW: NORTH CAROLINA STATE On PaPer Junior running back Nyheim Hines led the Wolfpack with 648 rushing yards after seven games, and rushed for six touchdowns while also returning a punt for a score. Hines is a blazer who finished third in the 100 meters with a time of 10.34 at the 2017 ACC Outdoor Track & Field Championships. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN

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