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October 1, 2011Quick hits and notes from NC State's 45-35 loss to No. 21 Georgia Tech in front of 55,811 fans at Carter-Finley Stadium on a breezy and cool Saturday afternoon in Raleigh.
Injuries and more injuries
NC State already knew that they were going to be without 11 players Saturday afternoon. Three more went down before the game was over. Freshman punter Wil Baumann suffered a groin strain in pregame warm-ups. He did not punt Saturday, but he did hold for freshman placekicker Niklas Sade.
In Baumann's absence, senior walk-on J. Ellis Flint had three boots for an average of 35.3 yards.
During the game, senior fullback Taylor Gentry, hurt his ankle and did not return after halftime. Junior walk-on fullback Tyler Purvis took his place and thrived late in the contest when the game was already decided, catching four passes for 33 yards and a pair of scores. They were Purvis, who entered the game with one career catch, first touchdown receptions. He also had the honor of catching redshirt freshman Tyler Brosius' first career scoring toss.
Before leaving the game, Gentry had played offense, defense and special teams. He caught a four-yard pass and assisted on a tackle. He became the third player this year to play both ways for NC State, joining redshirt sophomore corner/receiver Rashard Smith and junior lineman Jacob Kahut.
Redshirting sophomore defensive end Darryl Cato-Bishop, who moved to defensive tackle because of injuries in the middle, left the contest in the third quarter with a hand injury.
The good news is that fifth-year senior J.R. Sweezy did return from a preseason foot fracture. He had two tackles, including a sack, and a quarterback hurry while lining up as a second string defensive end rather than his normal defensive tackle spot.
Big game for Washington
Junior running back James Washington carried 20 times for 131 yards and a touchdown, a 46-yard scamper in the third quarter to cut Tech's lead to 21-14 with 13:22 to go in the period. He also led State in receiving with five catches for 35 yards.
The game was a career-high for Washington in rushing and the most for a Wolfpack back this fall. Fifth-year senior Curtis Underwood, Jr., who missed the Tech contest with an ankle injury, had 114 yards against Liberty for the previous season-best. Washington's total was also the most in one game for a State runner since Jamelle Eugene torched UNC for 149 yards in 2007.
Overall NC State ran for 195 yards after rushing for negative-26 against Cincinnati. State also only gave up two sacks.
NC State wins time of possession
The best defense for NC State was the offense keeping Georgia Tech's triple option attack on the sideline. The Pack had a 32:09 to 27:51 time of possession advantage. Part of that was thanks to a 19-play, 81-yard drive in the second quarter that took 9:45 off the clock. That was the longest drive since a 19-play, 94-yard drive orchestrated by Philip Rivers on Nov. 14, 2000 against Maryland.
Unfortunately, NC State did not get a touchdown, or any points for that matter, on the drive after State was stopped on fourth and goal from the nine.
Georgia Tech continues hot start
The Yellow Jackets are 5-0 for the first time since 1990, when they won a share of the national title, and for the third time since 1966. This was the first time under Paul Johnson the Jackets have won their first two conference games.
Georgia Tech now leads the series with NC State 18-10 and is 8-6 in games played in Raleigh. The Jackets avenged last year's loss at home to the Pack. Earlier this year they defeated Kansas, who also knocked off the Jackets during their disappointing 2010 season.
Spotted at the game
There were several commitments seen before the game:
Offensive lineman Eddie Gordon from Boiling Springs (S.C.) High
Defensive tackle K'Hadree Hooker from South Lenoir High in Deep Run, N.C.
Linebacker Majid Salahuddin from Jack Britt High in Fayetteville, N.C.
Safety Josh Sessoms from Southern Nash High in Bailey, N.C.
Quarterback James Summers from Page High in Greensboro, N.C.
Also at the game were official visitors:
Offensive lineman Bryce Kennedy from Pinecrest High in Southern Pines, N.C.
Offensive lineman Adam Pankey from Hamilton (Ohio) High
Running back Shadrach Thornton from Liberty County High in Hinesville, Ga., was also scheduled to visit. The Wolfpacker believes it spotted Thornton before the game but could not confirm it was him.
Top junior defensive end Lewis Neal from Hunt High in Wilson, N.C., and class of 2013 running back Khris Francis from Hillside High in Durham, N.C., were also at the game.
Bowl reps from the Champs Sports Bowl were in the press box.