Pack has another opportunity to bounce back from loss

jgiglio@newsobserver.comSeptember 6, 2012 

— What goes down, must come up, at least it has for N.C. State’s football team since the start of the 2010 season.

N.C. State’s players talked before this season about getting off the "win-one, lose-one" roller coaster of the past two seasons. After a season-opening loss to Tennessee, the Wolfpack would like stay on the ride, at least until it hits the upswing.

What N.C. State has lacked in consistency the past two seasons, it has made up for with an uncanny ability to respond to a loss, especially the demoralizing variety like the 35-21 decision to the Volunteers. Since the start of the 2010 season, the Pack is 8-1 after a loss.

That’s a trend the players are banking will continue Saturday when the Wolfpack visits Connecticut.

"We’ve been through adversity and we know how to bounce back and we will," junior cornerback David Amerson said.

N.C. State started 2-3 last season and recovered to finish 8-5. The Wolfpack followed two of its most difficult losses, a 34-0 wipeout at Florida State and 14-10 head-scratcher at Boston College, with emotional wins (at home over North Carolina and Clemson, respectively).

During the 2010 season, the Pack lost at East Carolina, then came back with a win over Florida State; lost at Clemson, responded to beat Wake Forest; lost at Maryland, beat West Virginia in a bowl game.

"By human nature after you lose, you put in that extra, extra-effort," senior center Cam Wentz said. "The last two days, we’ve gotten after in practice."

The Pack is sufficiently motivated, senior receiver Tobais Palmer said, to avoid an 0-2 start, which has happened only twice in the past 20 years (2007 and 1996).

"Last year, we got off to a slow start and that’s one thing we’re not trying to get into this year," Palmer said.

Coach Tom O’Brien, who has excelled at getting his team’s attention after a loss, has already warned the players about UConn. The Huskies went 5-7 a year ago but return seven players on defense from their Fiesta Bowl team in 2010.

O’Brien has tremendous respect for second-year coach Paul Pasqualoni, who was at Syracuse when O’Brien was at Boston College.

"They’re a senior team and they’re well-coached," O’Brien said.

The Huskies had a strong defensive effort in their season-opening 37-0 win over Massachusetts. They held UMass to a 59 yards of total offense and didn’t let them past midfield.

Not that Palmer is interested in the particulars of the Huskies.

"I don’t know much about them," Palmer said. "I (couldn’t) care less. I just worry about N.C. State."

After the flat start against Tennessee, there are major concerns for the Wolfpack, namely limiting its turnovers and generating more pressure on the quarterback.

Two of the Wolfpack’s best players, quarterback Mike Glennon and Amerson, struggled in the Tennessee game. Glennon threw four interceptions and had a fumble go for a safety and Amerson was beaten on two long touchdown passes.

O’Brien suggested earlier this week that his stars need to have "amnesia," but the way the Pack has played the past two years, using a loss as fuel, Amerson said there’s a value to remembering the Tennessee loss.

"You have to learn from it and get better," Amerson said.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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