November 8, 2007

Evans helps fuel offensive turnaround

First-year North Carolina State coach Tom O'Brien has often said it is hard to be a good team if you don't get good quarterback play.

The combination of injuries, the defense struggling against the run and the unevenness at quarterback with Daniel Evans and Harrison Beck, helped the Wolfpack get off to a 1-5 start.

Evans and Beck combined to throw for 14 interceptions through the first six games, but only two during the three-game winning streak with Evans under center.

NC State will go only as far as its quarterback play takes it, and Evans has delivered of late to salvage his career and the team's chances to have a winning season. The redshirt junior from Raleigh said it is hard to pinpoint one moment for the turnaround, but the off week gave the offense a chance to work together and form a little bit of an identity.

"I don't know if it was anything like a shining moment or a Eureka moment," Evans said. "We really didn't have a good rhythm. We didn't really have a good flow in any of the games that we played in the first six games.

"I think we are just converting on third downs, not turning the ball over and staying on the field."

Evans has thrown for 889 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions over the last three games. To reach that point wasn't easy for Evans, who has guided the Wolfpack to a 4-5 overall record going into Saturday's home game against arch-rival North Carolina.

Evans came out of the spring and the fall camp as the starting quarterback. However, after a quarter and a half against Central Florida in the season opener, he was benched in favor of Beck. Evans was relegated to mop-up duty or forced into duty if Beck got hurt.

Evans' faith in God helped him stay emotionally strong during the benching, as well as turning to his father for advice - former NC State quarterback Johnny Evans, who is now a color analyst on the Wolfpack Radio Network.

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