Special teams cost NC State early

jgiglio@newsobserver.comNovember 30, 2013 

— Just in case Maryland needed any extra help, N.C. State’s special teams struggled badly in the first quarter.

The Terrapins started three of their first five drives in Saturday’s 41-21 win at N.C. State inside Wolfpack territory.

Maryland started at N.C. State’s 30, 14 and 35, which led to 13 points. The first drive was courtesy of a 37-yard kickoff return by Albert Reid, with a 15-yard penalty tacked on for a face mask.

The Terps started at N.C. State’s 14-yard line after punter Wil Baumann botched a snap and lost 27 yards on the play. State’s defense held Maryland to a field goal on both drives, but it wasn’t the break Dave Doeren wanted to see his team provide for the opposition.

“It really put our defense in some bad positions from a field position standpoint early in the game,” Doeren said.

N.C. State’s defense couldn’t stop Maryland in the first half. The Terps scored on six of their first seven possessions and then on their first possession of the second half.

Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown ran for 113 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.

NO REGRETS FOR MITCHELL: A 3-9 season was not in Brandon Mitchell’s plans when he transferred from Arkansas to N.C. State. Mitchell also missed six games with two different foot injuries. Still, Mitchell is fine with his decision.

“I just wanted the opportunity to play with a bunch of guys that love the game and had a chance to win,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell was productive in Saturday’s loss with 72 rushing yards and 200 passing. He threw for two touchdowns and ran for another. It was also the second straight game he didn’t throw an interception.

Mitchell remained positive all the way until the end of Saturday’s loss. He said he left Arkansas, which changed coaches and wanted to go with youth, and didn’t look back.

“They wanted to rebuild a program and play a lot of younger guys,” Mitchell said. “I just didn’t want to be a part of the whole rebuilding process.

“I wanted to go somewhere where the coaches wanted to win right now.”

Mitchell said he wished his one season at N.C. State could have gone better but the Wolfpack couldn’t ever get into any consistent rhythm on offense. Not after he missed five games with a broken left foot or the Boston College game with a sprained right ankle.

Mitchell said the Wolfpack left too many plays on the field, especially in the fourth quarter.

“That’s just the way football goes,” Mitchell said. “Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good.”

WRONG END OF HISTORY: N.C. State went 54 years without a winless record in the ACC. The Wolfpack went 0-6 in 1959, which was actually its fourth winless season in the first seven years of the conference’s existence.

It had never lost seven conference games in a season before this year and had never lost eight straight games in a season since ’59.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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