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April 18, 2009Mike Glennon's play in the Red-White Spring Game matched the hype that has circled around him since committing to NC State.
Glennon has made headlines ever since he committed to NC State on June 28, 2007, but Saturday was the first time Wolfpack fans could see why there has been so much hype circling around the 6-foot-6, 211-pound drop-back passer.
Glennon played for both the White team, which was made up reserves, and then joined the Red team in the second half when starting quarterback Russell Wilson departed the game because he can't play for more than four hours in a single day under NCAA rules. Wilson and the Pack played Florida State in baseball Saturday night.
Glennon led both teams throughout much of the second half, and finished a combined 25 of 38 for 272 yards and one touchdown, and zero interceptions. He also took six sacks, but all were of the touch variety, so he played under a different kind of pass rush.
Glennon led two scoring drives, which was enough to lead the White team to a 10-7 victory in front of 21,075 fans at Carter-Finley Stadium. His lone touchdown pass was a five your flair to wide receiver Steven Howard with 3:20 left in the first quarter. He also guided the team to a 21-yard field from kicker Josh Czajkowski at the 11:40 mark of the second half.
"It went really well and I got a lot of reps out there, which was good for me," Glennon said. "I wish I had thrown the ball a little better because I missed too many throws. I guess I was a winner either way."
Glennon came out of Westfield High in Chantilly, Va., ranked No. 59 overall, No. 3 among pro-style quarterbacks, No. 5 for most accurate and No. 2 for strongest arm by Rivals.com.
Glennon lived up the billing in relative anonymity his freshman season after making a run at the starting quarterback job, only to finish second behind Wilson. Glennon was named the offensive scout team MVP during his redshirt season, and has gotten a second chance at unseating Wilson, who was named first-team All-ACC last year.
"I don't think much has changed and I'm sure coach will let it go until we play South Carolina [Sept. 3, 2009]," Glennon said. "I just have to keep working hard in the offseason to get better. I'm sure Russell will do the same when he's done with baseball. To make it a good competition, I have a lot of work to do."
Glennon remembers coming to the spring game last year as a fan, so he understands how far he has come in a short period of time
"Just my knowledge of the college football game has grown dramatically," Glennon said. "I just have to keep on building on this and build up good competition for the fall.
"Playing in an atmosphere like this is more realistic than the scrimmages and practices. These are where the games are played, and it's not on the practice field."
NC State coach Tom O'Brien raised eyebrows across the country by opening the job up, putting Glennon in the news again. However, O'Brien believes competition at every single position is the only way the team can break a three-year streak of finishing below .500.
O'Brien liked what he saw of his young quarterback's performance while playing on the big stage for the first time.
"He got into a lot of situations that you try and simulate in practice but you can't [always] do," O'Brien said. "He certainly has a good arm. He has a great demeanor on the sideline, which I really like. He didn't get flustered and he was out there competing."
Wilson was injured on three different occasions last year, missing half of eventual losses to South Carolina and Rutgers in the bowl game, plus a loss against South Florida and a win over William & Mary. The Wolfpack didn't have a trusted backup quarterback, but Glennon ensures that O'Brien has a good option if Wilson gets injured again.
"His play speaks to what he is going to bring to the plate, and certainly with he and Russell, it gives us a nice 1-2 punch if we need it," O'Brien said.
Glennon doesn't know when his next chance will come but he's confident he'll take advantage of it.
"I've worked with the ones [first string players] all spring and I'm going against one of the best defenses in the ACC," Glennon said. "Going against them every day for scout team and then this spring, I think I'm ready if coach decides I should play."
Wilson will be tough to unseat and picked up where he left off last year, going 10 of 14 for 195 yards and a touchdown.
Wilson electrified the crowd with a laser beam 65-yard touchdown pass to Owen Spencer to cut the lead to 10-7 with 7:04 left in the second quarter. That was the end of the scoring with NC State's defensive line dominating the rebuilt Wolfpack offensive line units for both teams.
The White team rushed for 13 yards on 30 carries and was sacked five times. The Red team was even worse, tallying minus-30 yards on 18 carries, and seven sacks.
Glennon, Wilson and third-stringer Daniel Imhoff were ruled down whenever a defensive player touched them to protect their safety.
Backup tight end Mario Carter, a redshirt freshman coming back from a serious knee injury, led the White team with six catches for 68 yards.
Redshirt junior wide receiver Jarvis Williams picked up where he left off from last season with five receptions for 93 yards.
NC State White statistics
James Washington, 9-26
Curtis Underwood 9-14
Jay Smith 1-(-1)
Daniel Imhoff 1-(-4)
Mike Glennon 10-(-22)
Glennon, 15 of 24 for 170 yards and a touchdown, plus sacked four times
Imhoff, 2 of 4 for 18 yards, sacked once
Totals: 17 of 28 for 188 yards, one touchdown
Mario Carter 6-68
Steven Howard 4-64 and a touchdown
Marty Stoner 2-24
Jay Smith 2-13
Harrison Ritcher 1-7
Jeff Ruiz, 8 punts for a 41.2 average
Defense (top five tacklers):
Robert Bell 6
Nate Irving 5
Ray Michel 4
Dominique Ellis 3
Nathan Mageo 3
Audie Cole 3
Sacks: Willie Young 2, Shea McKeen 2, Bell 1, Irving 1, Josh Milinichik
NC State Red statistics
Toney Baker 7-10
Brandon Barnes 4-4
Russell Wilson 5-(-37)
Wilson 10 of 14 for 195 yards and a touchdown, plus sacked five times
Glennon 8 of 14 for 102 yards, sacked twice
Team, 0 for 1
Totals: 18 of 29 for 297 yards and a touchdown
Jarvis Williams 5-93
George Bryan 4-42
Owen Spencer 3-96 and a touchdown
Taylor Gentry 2-12
Evan Dooley 1-33
Carl Ojala, 8 punts for 28.6 average
Defense (top five tacklers):
Clem Johnson 7
Audi Augustin 7
Sterling Lucas 5
Dwayne Maddox 5
Garry Grant 5
Sacks: Augustin 2, J.R. Sweezy 2, Maddox 1.