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Game day blog: N.C. State 19, UM 16 (OT)

Checking in from the OB where today as usual I'll blog live throughout the UM-N.C. State game. I'll share notes, thoughts as the game moves along and then recap later tonight with what I collect from the lockerroom. U do what U always do ... share your thoughts.

** Kirby Freeman got the start for UM. Guess my source knew what he was talking about. But don't be surprised if you see Kyle Wright come in at some point if things get really bad.

** There were a few pregame festivities including a tribute to the 1987 National Championship before the game. I saw Steve Walsh and Michael Irvin among others in attendance. Walsh even played a little catch with freshman quarterback Robert Marve. Too bad there is only about 34,621 people at the OB to soak it in.

** I didn't give a pregame prediction, but I'll do one now after the teams went 3-and-out on their first series. I think the Canes win 20-10.

** I know the game is on ESPNU and many of you don't have it. But for those of you who would like to listen to the game, WQAM (wqam.com) is broadcasting it on about an eight second delay.

NCST DRIVE (1st and 10 at NCST 20)
- After a first down run, N.C. State picks up 55 yards and moves to the UM 13 with :20 left in the quarter when quarterback Daniel Evans finds Darrell Blackman open down the middle of the field. Kenny Phillips eventually pushed him out bounds.
- So we'll go to the fourth quarter like we've done too often this season -- sweating and holding our breath.
- On 3rd down and 11, Evans lofts a pass to Darrell Davis that is well defended by Kenny Phillips. N.C. State then pulls back to within three when kicker Steven Hauschka connects on a 31-yard field goal from the same spot where Daren Daly made it 13-7. Drive: 7 plays, 68 yards, 1:58. UM 13, N.C. State 10.

UM DRIVE (1st and 10 at UM 20)
- Just saw this stat that blew me away. Canes have one completion -- that 84-yarder to Jenkins. Freeman is 1 of 10 with 2 interceptions. Miami eventually punts, Bosher gets off a 54-yarder, and Colin McCarthy comes through with a nice tackle to push Blackman out at the 36.

NCST (1st and 10 at NCST 36, 13:12 left)
- On first down, Euguen picks up 3 yards. Eugene eventually picks up a first down on third and short, moving the ball to the UM 47.
- Not that this is a shock, but the Canes defense is going to have to win this thing.
- After N.C. State moves inside the Canes' 30, Kenny Phillips comes through with a key tackle to stall the drive. Another Hauscka field goal -- this one from 35 yards -- ties the score at 13. UM 13, N.C. STATE 13.

UM (1st and 10 at the UM 20, 10:00)
- Following a five-yard penalty, James picks up 14 yards on a run off tackle on first down. On second down, Chris Rutledge is flagged for a false start. On the next play, Javarris James rumbles for a 10-yard gain up the middle and a first down.
- On first and 10 at the UM 34, James gets cut down for no gain. Looks like the Canes are content to run behind Derrick Morse.
- Well forget that. Kirby Freeman gets intercepted by Jeremy Gray on another horrible pass. Kirby got pressured and looked like he was going to throw it away. Gray standing on the sideline and basically minding his own business. Just caught the ball and stepped out of bounds with 7:36 left. CANES ARE IN TROUBLE...

And I'm going down to the field. Enjoy the rest of the game. Or try to.

Missed the first half of the third quarter because I was doing an important halftime interview. Thankfully, I didn't miss much. The Canes just missed a 41-yard field goal with 4:28 left in the quarter. I'll continue from here...

NCST DRIVE (1st and 10 at the NCST 24, 4:28)
- On first down, Evans throws a pass short to his receiver. On second down, John Dunlap drops an easy completion bringing up 3rd an 10.

UM DRIVE (1st and 10 at the UM 39, 3:40)
- It looked like another drive that was going to end in nothing. Then, Darnell Jenkins turned on the jets. He picked up 39 yards, running away from 2 guys to get down to the N.C. State 18. Then, when things look bad again -- there's that man -- Darnell Jenkins pulling in what looks like an amazing touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone. Was he in? The replay screen at the Orange Bowl shows... what replay screen?
- After further review... incomplete. Bah humbug. Canes will have to kick another field goal from 33-yards out and this time it goes through with 1:07 left. Daren Daly is now 2 of 3 in the game. Drive: 7 plays, 45 yards, 2:33. UM 13, N.C. STATE 7.

UM 1st Drive (1st and 10 at UM 26)
- Things didn't exactly go right on that first series. After Javarris James lost 12 yards on first down, there was a bad snap and bad pass by Freeman on what looked like a designed screen. Yikes.

NCST 1st Drive (1st and 10 at the NCST 41)
- After the Wolfpack get five yards on the ground on first down, safety Kenny Phillips and linebacker Colin McCarthy do a nice job on pass coverage to force the Wolfpack to punt.

UM 2nd Drive (1st and 10 at the UM 11, 12:02 left)
- On first down, Javarris looks good picking up 11 yards on a toss sweep. This one looked better than the first one. On the next play, though, James drops a screen pass. Eventually Miami is forced to punt when Freeman overthrows Dajleon Farr downfield. He was covered.
- Kyle Wright anyone?

NCST 2nd Drive (1st and 10 at the NCST 48)
- On first down, N.C. State picks up two on the ground with Jamelle Eugene. On next play he picks up five more to bring up a 3rd and 3. On third down, Eugene gets hit in the backfield by Colin McCarthy and Courtney Harris in the backfield for a loss.
- So far, UM's defense has done what it has supposed to do. The question now becomes can Miami's offense do anything with Freeman under center. Two of his first three passes have looked awful. The UM running game is going to have to win this game.

UM 3rd Drive (1st and 10 at the UM 15, 8:46 left)
- Wow, Derron Thomas makes an appearance in the backfield. Heard earlier this week that Graig Cooper had a pinkey injury, but Shannon said it wasn't serious. Wondering if Randy Shannon put him in the game because he's hungry.
- So far he looks like a genious. That was an amazing 54-yard run by Thomas, who zig-zagged his way through the N.C. State defense. UM is on the N.C. State 22.
- Javarris James comes back in and takes a sweep inside to the N.C. State 6 before Derron Thomas comes back in on first and goal.
- On the next play, Thomas picks up 2. After all that -- including a Kirby Freeman bizarre scramble and incompletion on third down, the Canes attempt a 22-yard field goal made by Daren Daly to take a 3-0 lead with 4:56 left. Drive: 9 plays, 80 yards, 3:50. UM 3, N.C. STATE 0.
By the way, Joel Figueroa was in at left guard that entire drive. Figueroa, a sophomore, has been doing really well in practice according to coach Jeff Stoutland.

NCST 3rd Drive (1st and 10 at NCST 31, 4:48)
- Another Wolfpack series begins with short gains on first and second down. On third and 1, N.C. State picks up a first down on a nice pass completion. But it's called back on an ineligible man downfield penalty. After another penalty on third down, N.C. Statequarterback Daniel Evans gets sacked by Colin McCarthy.
- Another nice series for the Canes defense. But N.C. State keeps shooting itself in the foot. Four penalties on third down so far. UM will get nice field position.

UM 4th Drive (1st and 10 at the UM 40)
- Just figured out why Derron Thomas was in the game. Looks like Shawnbrey McNeal didn't dress to play. Not sure why. Eric Moncur is also not dressed and playing in the game. I'll have to find out why afterward.
- UM's drive meanwhile, fizzled and ended with an ugly Kirby Freeman interception. The pass was way overthrown and the N.C. State safety just fielded it like a punt at the N.C. State 20.

2nd QUARTER...
N.C. State 4th Drive (1st and 10 at the NCST 38)
- The Wolfpack pick up a first down on a 5-yard completion to John Dunlap. END OF THE 1st QUARTER
- On the first play of the second quarter Colin McCarthy comes through with another big play when he tackles a N.C. State running back for an 8-yard loss on a swing pass. Nice play.
- On third and 18, Evans is pressured and his pass to Marcus Stone is incomplete.
- It's been an ugly offensive game so far, except for that Derron Thomas run.

UM 5th Drive (1st and 10 at the UM 14)
- Wow. I was half-way kidding when I talked about using the direct snap. But apparently Freeman isn't doing the job. Darnell Jenkins took the first two direct snaps and has lost 12 yards. On third down, sanity returns. Graig Cooper picks up 14 yards. But UM is forced to punt. Cooper by the way, passed Frank Gore for third on the all-time list for true freshman on that carry, his first of the game.

N.C. State 5th Drive (1st and 10 at the N.C. State 38, 12:09 left)
- Before the Wolfpack get started. Sebastian gets the crowd hyped with his rendition of the Soulja Boy dance in front of the west end zone.
- On first down, Glenn Sharpe has an interception go through his hands. All I got to say is Canes fans ought to thank their lucky stars N.C. State is horrible.
- On third and 16, Evans picks up the first down with his legs to keep the Wolfpack drive alive. Safety Kenny Phillips nearly got there in time to stop him though.
- After another NC. State third down completion, the Wolfpack kill themselves with another penalty -- this one holding.
- On 2nd and 15, Kenny Phillips misses a tackle in the middle of the field and tight end Marcus Stone picks up 26 yards down to the UM 19.
- Meanwhile on the sideline, Kirby Freeman and Kyle Wright are playing catch. Not sure if that's a sign Wright might be warming up to get into the game.
- After N.C. State moved to within the UM 12, a third down pass is incomplete, bringing on a field goal attempt that is missed wide left by Steven Hauschka. UM catches a break and still leads 3-0.

UM's 6th Drive (1st and 10 at the UM 20, 6:37)
- On first down, Cooper runs up the middle for a 6-yard gain. After another big loss on second down, Kirby Freeman finds a wide open -- and I mide wide open -- Darnell Jenkins downfield for an 84-yard touchdown pass. That's another big play for Darnell, who caught the ball at about the 40 and beat the N.C. State safety to the end zone. Drive: 3 plays, 80 yards, 1:22. UM 10, N.C. STATE 0.
UM has outscored its opponents at the OB 81-0 in the first half. And that touchdown came at a good time. The defense looks like its starting to get tired.

N.C. State 6th Drive (1st and 10 at the N.C. State 34)
- On first down, N.C. State loses two yards on a run. How did N.C. State beat Virginia again?
- On second down, Darrell Blackman gets open, beating Colin McCarthy on what looked like that same little play FSU used with Preston Parker to move the ball on the Canes. He picked up 14 yards and a first down
- On the next play, Eugene spins past UM's defense for a gain of 21. They're down to the UM 32.
- On first down, Eugene catches a short pass out of the backfield -- once again in the middle of the field -- and picks up 6 yards. The Wolfpack keep exposing the middle of the field. The Canes will have to make an adjustment.
- On third and 3, Hollywood Chaminade's John Dunlap picks up another first down with a catch over the middle.
- On second down, Owen Spencer catches another ball over the middle and sneaks past the UM defense into the end zone with 2:21 left. The play is being reviewed. And its overturned. Now N.C State has a first and goal at the 1-foot line.
- Daniel Evans ends up scoring on the next play anyway on a sneak with 2:04 left. Drive: 9 plays, 66 yards, 3:11. UM 10, N.C. STATE 7.

UM 7th Drive (1st and 10 at the UM 20, 2:04)
- On first and 10, Derron Thomas gets stuffed at the line for no gain. On the next play, Thomas gets stuffed at the line again. UM fans are booing the play calling.
- On third down, Freeman lofts a jump ball downfield to Leggett that falls incomplete. But Leggett is whistled for offensive pass interference. Miami is forced to punt. Matt Bosher then gets off a 56-yard punt. N.C. State is probably going to take a knee with :10 left.