(BALL STATE RELEASE)
BALL STATE FOOTBALL GAME NOTES VS. NC STATE
Ball State and NC State are meeting Saturday for the first time. This is the third time in the last eight years Ball State has faced an ACC opponent. The Cardinals took on Virginia in 2013 and Clemson in 2012. Ball State QB Drew Plitt is believed to be the first quarterback in program history to reach 1,000 passing yards through the first three games of the season. He ranks fifth nationally in passing yards per game (346.7), fourth in completions per game (28) and 22nd in completion percentage (70.6). Sophomore OLB Jordan Williams had a career game last week against Florida Atlantic. He tallied his first collegiate sack and also returned a first quarter fumble 60 yards for a touchdown. It marked Ball State’s first defensive touchdown in five years. Williams recovered a second fumble later in the first quarter that set up another BSU touchdown. Ball State’s passing average is up nearly 100 yards a game compared to its 2018 average (348.3 to 252.9). The Cardinals lead the MAC and rank 11th nationally in passing yards per game. Ball State head coach Mike Neu spent two years in Raleigh with the now defunct Carolina Cobras of the Arena Football League. Neu was the offensive coordinator in 2001 and head coach in 2002. 8Ball State is 1-7 all-time against current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Cardinals earned their lone win over an ACC team back in 2013 thanks to a 48-27 win at Virginia. See all-time results against ACC opponents on page two. 8Senior ILB Jacob White piled up a personal high 17 tackles last week against Florida Atlantic. It was the fourth time in his career he has posted double-figure tackles. He is Ball State’s active leader in tackles with 179.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1st This is the first time these two teams have met and the first time the Cardinals have played in the state of North Carolina since 1977 (Appalachian State). 7 Seven different players have caught a touchdown pass this year while 12 players have a reception. 35 Ball State is in a stretch of 35 days between home games, joining Kent State, Missouri and Northern Illinois with the longest such streak this year.
PLITT TIES SCHOOL RECORD • Ball State QB Drew Plitt tied Keith Wenning’s school record with six touchdown passes in the Sept. 7 win over Fordham. Plitt threw for 439 yards, just 30 shy of the all-time BSU mark set by Cardinals head coach Mike Neu in the 1993 Homecoming victory over Toledo. He was named the MAC West Offensive Player of the Week. OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION • Ball State’s 57 points in the Sept. 7 win over Fordham were the fourth most in program history and the most since a 60-point outburst in the five-overtime game at Western Michigan in 2005. ‘SAFETY’ DANCE • The Ball State defense recorded its first safety since Oct. 24, 2009 (at Eastern Michigan) in the third quarter of the Sept. 7 win over Fordham. NT Chris Crumb and WLB Jaylin Thomas stopped Fordham’s running back in the end zone on a rush from the 1-yard line just eight seconds into the second half. BIG PLAY THREATS • Ball State already has four touchdown passes greater than 35 yards through three games. Those touchdown passes have gone to four different players. The Cardinals only had two such plays all year in 2018.
NC STATE NOTES
THE SERIES vs. BALL STATE • This will mark the Wolfpack’s first meeting with Ball State, but not head coach Dave Doeren’s. Doeren posted a 2-0 mark against the MAC squad when he was the head coach at Northern Illinois. • As a head coach, Dave Doeren is 18-1 all-time against MAC schools (17-1 at Northern Illinois from 2011- 12 and a 48-14 defeat of Central Michigan in his first season at NC State in 2013). • Co-offensive coordinator George McDonald’s first job was as a graduate assistant at Ball State in 2000. PACK LOOKING TO #SETTHEEXPECTATION In an initiative driven by its student-athletes, NC State Athletics will play host to the ACC’s first #SetTheExpectation football game this week vs. Ball State. Sexual assault survivor Brenda Tracy, founder of the #SetTheExpectation national campaign for activism against interpersonal violence will be on campus for several days to speak to and visit with a variety of groups on campus. Her #SettheExpectation program strives to raise awareness, educate and directly engage with coaches, young men, and boys in high school and collegiate athletic programs. On Thursday afternoon, she will join NC State student-athletes and head football coach Dave Doeren at the Talley Student Union to spread the message about the movement’s mission: combating sexual and physical violence. On Friday, Sept. 20, she will meet with groups from the NC State Women’s Center, the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, and the Counseling Center, along with student leaders. From 2-5 p.m., she will be at the Parents and Families Table in Talley Stafford Commons. On game day, the football team will wear #STE shirts in the Walk of Champions before entering Carter-Finley Stadium, and the team will don helmet stickers highlighting the #SetTheExpectation movement. In the two days following the football game, Tracy will meet with student-athletes and student leaders to tell her story of survival and how she transitioned from victim to survivor to thriver. While topics such as consent, bystander, mental health, sexual assault and suicide will be covered, the audience will leave with specific action items that they can use to help make their campus and community safer. In April, Tracy spoke to the Wolfpack’s male student-athletes about her story of survival after being gang-raped by four college football players. Several of those in attendance were so moved by her experience, particularly James Smith-Williams from football and Vinnie Durand from men’s soccer, that they organized a donation drive at a Wolfpack baseball game in May. Those student-athletes also pushed for NC State to host #SettheExpectation games this fall.
NOTING THE WOLFPACK • It’s impossible to be more balanced than NC State’s offense. The Wolfpack enters Game 4 with 121 pass attempts and 121 rushing attempts this season. • The Pack’s shutout of Western Carolina in week 2 marked the first for the Wolfpack since 2015 – its third under head coach Dave Doeren. • NC State has not given up a TD at home in three straight games, longest streak since 1990-91. • Wolfpack running back Zonovan “Bam” Knight ranks second in the nation among true freshmen in rushing this season with 233 total yards. • NC State is one of just 12 teams in the Power 5 conferences to have at least nine wins in each of the last two seasons. Clemson is the only other ACC squad on that list. • A total of 14 former Wolfpack players that played for the Wolfpack in 2017 and 2018 are on 2019 NFL rosters this season. • Christopher Dunn boasted the nation’s longest streak of made field goals with 19 before missing a 51-yarder at West Virginia. That was the longest streak in the FBS since 2016 and the second-longest in school history. • Dave Doeren joins Dick Sheridan and Lou Holtz as the only coaches in school history with back-to-back 9-win seasons. • The Pack is one of only nine programs nationally to boast back-to-back first-round draft picks (Bradley Chubb in 2018 and Garrett Bradbury in 2019). • NC State leads the nation with five alums currently playing quarterback in the NFL: Philip Rivers (Chargers), Russell Wilson (Seahawks), Mike Glennon (Raiders), Jacoby Brissett (Colts), Ryan Finley (Bengals). • With just 11 seniors on the 2019 roster, the Wolfpack is one of the youngest teams in the nation. HOME DEFENSE The NC State defense has gone 12 straight quarters – three full games – without giving up a TD at Carter-Finley Stadium. The Wolfpack posted a 58-3 win over East Carolina in last year’s home finale, a 34-6 victory to open the 2019 season and a 41-0 shutout of Western Carolina. When the Wolfpack kicks off at home against Ball State on Saturday, 317 days will have passed since an opponent found the end zone in the Wolves’ Den. That three game TD-shutout at home is the longest for the Wolfpack since 1990-91. The Pack shut out Western Carolina in week 2 – the Pack’s first since 2015.
HOLDING ON NC State and Appalachian State are the only schools that have yet to have a turnover this season. It marks the first time in school history that the Pack has not turned the ball over in its first three games of the season. The Wolfpack enters Game 4 with a turnover margin of +1.3 – the 15th-best mark in the nation. Holding on to the football has been a hallmark of the Wolfpack under Dave Doeren. Five of the top 13 marks in school history for fewest turnovers have been by Doeren’s teams. PICK-LESS With only three games as a starter under his belt, RS-sophomore quarterback Matthew McKay has done many things well. In week 1, he became only the third QB since 1970 to pass for 300+ yards in his first career start for the Wolfpack when he posted 308 yards in the win over East Carolina. McKay has thrown 121 career passes (including 113 in 2019) with zero interceptions. He currently holds the third longest streak in the NCAA with 121 attempts and no INTs. In his starting debut vs. ECU, McKay passed for a touchdown and ran for a pair. Only two other quarterbacks since 1970 have accounted for three TDs in their first career start: McKay, Jacoby Brissett (3 pass) and Philip Rivers (3 pass) (those two are now starters in the NFL). Only one other Pack QB in the past 50 years has rushed for two TDs in his first career start (Charles Davenport in 1988) Dating back to 1970, McKay became only the third QB in school history to throw for over 300 yards in his first career start, joining Philip Rivers (397 yards in 2000) and Harrison Beck (321 yards in 2007). Since 2000, 11 other players have started at least one game at QB for NC State and only Rivers and Jacoby Brissett ever had more TD passes in their debuts.