ACC’s Best Kept Secret
by Hele Sowell
Takeaways are their specialty but most folks have never heard of this bunch. The defensive backs and linebackers from NC State are purposefully wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks and receivers leading the nation with 22 interceptions all the while escaping the attention of the national media.
Sophomore CB David Amerson has 11 INT’s (#1 in the country) for 140 yards and a TD. He’s now in a tie with UNC’s Dre Bly for the single-season league mark set in 1996. And against UNC he broke the school record for most interceptions in a season, set by Art Rooney in both 1937 and 1938. The Greensboro native also has five passes broken up and 16 passes defended which ranks him #4 in the nation for PD’s. Amerson’s teammate on the other side is Junior Safety Brandon Bishop who has 5 INT’s for 53 yards.
But disrupting the passing game is not the Pack-men’s only forte – forcing fumbles is another arrow in the quiver. Sr. LB Audie Cole and Jr. Safety Earl Wolff have a tenacious knack for dislodging the pigskin. Cole ranks #10 nationally (#1 in the ACC) with four forced bobbles and Wolff complements with three (#2 in the ACC). These ball-hawks love to tackle, as well. Wolff, from Raeford, NC is #7 in the league with 91 tackles and Cole, a Michigan native, is #9 with 89. Add-in Jr. LB Terrell Manning who had a monster game against Clemson on Saturday (3 ½ tackles for loss) and you’ve got a pretty formidable gang.
So look out QB’s, RB’s and WR’s – this defense is young, pumped-up and likes contact. The defense nobody respects (or expects) is ready to put a hurt on somebody!