Pack's Cole set for Terps match

Game will be senior's 50th

ctudor@newsobserver.comNovember 23, 2011 

— When N.C. State's seniors take their final bows Saturday in Carter-Finley Stadium, linebacker Audie Cole will hear some of the loudest cheers.

A 239-pounder from Monroe, Mich., Cole has been a fan favorite and one of the most durable players in Wolfpack history.

The 12:30 p.m. game against Maryland will be the 50th for Cole. The start will be his 37th straight.

In a program that's been hounded by injuries during the past several seasons, Cole rarely misses a snap and has never missed a game.

But unless State (6-5, 3-4 ACC) can get past the Terps (2-9, 1-6), the game will be Cole's last at the college level.

Cole's plan is to put emotions aside and keep his emphasis on continuing the defensive unit's late-season routine.

"We need to go in there and play like we did the past few games," Cole said after Tuesday's practice session. "We need to keep the high energy - high energy by the crowd and high energy by the players."

A year ago, the team's 38-31 loss to the Terps kept the Pack out of the ACC championship game and a possible appearance in the Orange Bowl.

Cole said he doesn't plan to give a big pep talk to his teammates about dodging a repeat.

"You can talk all you want," he said. "I can tell everybody whatever they want to hear, but it doesn't matter. You've got to show up and play. Talking's not going to get it done."

The switch from Danny O'Brien to C.J. Brown at quarterback has changed the Maryland offense significantly.

"It's made their run game stronger and more difficult to contain," said Pack defensive coordinator Mike Archer. "Brown's a big, strong kid who can make the passes, but he's really a tough runner."

Brown is averaging almost eight yards per carry on 64 rushes.

Combined with tailback Davin Meggett (805 yards, 5.2 average), the Terps are more likely to test the Pack's rushing defense than would have been the case with O'Brien.

"We've got to keep Meggett and Brown contained," Archer said. "We definitely don't want them to get out on the edges. Particularly with Meggett on screens.

"He's 5-8, hard to see sometimes. But he's 210 pounds so when he gets open space, he's hard to bring down."

State quarterback Mike Glennon, defensive back Brandan Bishop and rookie defensive lineman Art Norman were cited as ACC players of the week.

Also on the weekly list: Ryan Quigley, Boston College (specialist), Steve Greer, Virginia (linebacker), Brandon Jenkins, Florida State (defensive line), Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech (offensive line), Chris Givens, Wake Forest (receiver).

State junior linebacker Terrell Manning said Tuesday that he plans to return for his senior season.

At 6-3, 233 and plenty quick, Manning's name has started popping up in some of the expanded NFL mock drafts after he returned quickly from mid-season knee surgery.

"I'm definitely looking forward to coming back next year," Manning said.

The team will celebrate its Thanksgiving meal at the Angus Barn on Thursday.

"It's a feast," Manning said. "I try to watch my calories, but it's going to be hard to do with all that good food."

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