Cincinnati Vs. North Carolina State: Wolfpack Negate The Bearcats 30-19

North Carolina State dominated Cincinnati 30-19 in a performance that should leave Wolfpack fans optimistic and Bearcats fans wondering how a team forgot to play football in the span of a single year.

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Wilson Throws For 333 Yards And Three TDs As North Carolina St. Defeats Cincy To Improve to 3-0

Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Russell Wilson finished with 333 yards and three touchdowns on 26-of-40 efficiency, leading North Carolina State to a thorough 30-19 victory over Cincinnati in a non-conference game more lopsided than the final score indicated.

Wilson spread the ball around to 11 different receivers, with Jarvis Williams logging a team-high 111 yards on four catches for the Wolfpack (3-0), who off to their best start since 2002 when they began the year 9-0.

Zach Collaros completed 19-of-31 passes for 310 yards and three scores for the Bearcats (1-2), whose only win thus far came against FCS member Indiana State. D.J. Woods caught two TDs from Collaros and ended with 146 yards on six grabs.

Wilson completed all six of his pass attempts on the second drive of the game, including a 16-yard TD toss to Jay Smith for a 7-0 lead 5 1/2 minutes in.

On NC State's next touch, Mustafa Greene ran around the right end for a 31- yard scamper to paydirt.

Cincinnati finally got some momentum late in the second stanza, when Collaros hit Woods over the middle and the receiver galloped 68 yards for a touchdown with 3:12 left in the half.

The Wolfpack answered immediately though, using seven plays to travel 72 yards in just over two minutes. Underwood capped the drive with a catch in the right flat and went 12 yards over the goal line for a 20-7 halftime lead after the failed extra point attempt.

The only score of the third quarter came on Josh Czajkowski's 19-yard field goal, and a blocked punt set up Taylor Gentry's eight-yard TD reception to all but seal it, 30-7, with 7:27 remaining.

Woods' 20-yard score a minute later, and Marcus Barnett's 13-yard haul in the end zone in the final minute saved some face for Cincy, which failed to convert on two-point conversions on both scores.

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North Carolina State Vs. Cincinnati: Dragging To A Finish

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Let's start with positives. Russell Wilson rebounded from a bad outing versus UCF last week with a 26/40 performance for 333 yards and 3 TDs. The Wolfpack controlled the line of scrimmage, smothered pass routes, and hounded Zach Collaros into a miserable nub of the quarterback he was last year by sacking him five times. Mustafa Green helped them run out the clock with firm running, and NC State checks out of an uneventful second half with a clean 30-19 win that was nowhere near as close as the score indicates. 

Now the negatives, which encompass the entire Cincinnati football team and everything they did tonight. They gave up three sacks on one drive. They called a timeout only to successfully have a punt blocked. They fumbled four times and lost four. They scored their final TD in garbage time, went for a nonsensical two-point conversion, and then scored and went for it a dubious second time. They were uniformly ineffective for the bulk of the game's sixty minutes. 

It was a horrid third game for Butch Jones, and one that is probably best forgotten as quickly as possible. 

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VIDEO: North Carolina And Cincinnati Putting On An Exhibition Tonight

The story of this game: this fantastic sequence happened, and even then Cincinnati botched the opportunity to get back in the game with a score and got nothing out of it. Their lone offensive highlight thus far has been shanking a FG attempt by a good ten yards wide to the left. 14-0, NC State in the 2nd. 

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North Carolina State's Wilson Throws TD

Russell Wilson first pump-faked Patrick Lambert out of his shoes for an easy, floaty lob into the endzone to put NC State up 7-0, and then floated a string of paces down the field to draw an interference penalty. The subsequent TD run by Mustafa Green took the lead to 14-0, which will happen when you allow Wilson to pass for 154 yards in a quarter. 

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If you gave out "Week Three Single Quarter" variations of the award, yes, but the complete disarray on Cincinnati has to be noted in the award ceremony. Cincy's only break on the game came from a tipped Wilson pass, which then landed in a Wolfpack receiver's hands, which then left those hands in a fumble and was recovered in the endzone for a Bearcats touchback. Other than that, it's been wall-to-wall horror in the 1st for Cincy. 

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North Carolina State Emerges From Their Theme Park Locker Room

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Obviously haven't watched enough NC State football lately, since I wasn't aware there was a theme park ride inside the stadium. Dibs on the log flume ride in the locker room! Goodness, that's a lot of truck stop t-shirt Americana in one picture: football, a huge American flag, smoke machine fog, and a wolf. Or angry sheep. Or whatever that's supposed to be right there.

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North Carolina State Vs. Cincinnati: Rootability Score

The Rootability Index determines who to root for based on the kind of arbitrary crap most non-invested viewers use to pull for a team. Tonight’s matchup: Cincinnati at NC State.

Cincinnati at NC State, 7:30 p.m. Cincinnati debuts their new-look selves for their first game of the 2010 season. Should be exciting! And is in no way the second game of the year after a crushing 28-14 opening loss to Fresno State, since losses to teams coached by men with mustaches don’t count! The coming exhibition with Pitt will be played under the same rules, so take note and adjust your Big East standings accordingly. NC State is coming off a bizarre 28-21 victory over UCF in Orlando where quarterback Russell Wilson, presumably playing with a horde of fruit bats attacking him, went 10/30 for 105 yards and one TD and still won thanks to five UCF turnovers and Tom O’Brien’s secret third down play, “the butt-obvious draw.”

Lean: Cincy, but only because unlike Russell Wilson on NC State, Cincy qb Zach Collaros’s pointless scrambling may make something interesting happen. (Not necessarily “good” something, but still “something.”

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Cincinnati Has Already Won The Battle of Pregame Rap Covers

Warning: the following Cincinnati rap song contains profanity, and is thus likely NSFW. It also features use of the word “Cincy-fied.” I’m not sure of the health effects on someone who uses that word, but I bet they’re bad, drastic and not recommended by any licensed physician.

(Via our new Cincy Blog Down the Drive.)

Don’t ever say the Cincinnati Bearcats don’t have their own rap song, or that they need another one. Because if you make one, I will find you, and then we will have words that one could also classify as NSFW profanities no child or gentle puppy should ever have to hear.

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Cincinnati Vs. NC State: Wolfpack In Search Of A Quarterback

SB Nation's Backing The Pack takes a hard look at the questions facing NC State leading up to Thursday night's game against Cincinnati, and finds problems that start right at the top:

Our offense needs to be about ten times better than it was on Saturday; is that possible with such a short turnaround?  Better pass protection, no more dropped passes, accurate throws from Russell Wilson.  I'm concerned about Russell, probably more than I should be, but he was so off against UCF that it seemed it might take half the season for him to reclaim his football awesome. I hope to not be talking about this tomorrow.
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Cincinnati Vs. NC State: Zach Collaros And His Dancin' Feet

SB Nation's brand-new Cincinnati blog, Down The Drive, breaks down areas of concern for Thursday night's road trip to North Carolina State:

Zach Collaros running the Football. One of the first things that I have noticed watching the offense this year is that Collaros is very committed to standing in the pocket and trying to make plays that way. He has been urged by Butch Jones and Mike Bajakian to commit to the pocket, go through his progressions and make the throws. But that hasn't been working at all to date. Collaros's numbers to date aren't terrible, 349 yards, 60 per cent completions, 3 TD's, no INT's, but they are a far cry from his four game starting stint last year when he doused Louisville, Syracuse, UConn and WVU in gas and tossed a lit match. NC State is a very stout run defense, they are third in the ACC in the category, so the staples of this offense, the inside and outside zone are unlikely to work very much. I would expect to see a lot of zone read and speed option tonight. The pack struggled with a running QB last week when Jeff Godfrey came off the UCF bench in the third quarter to post around 50 yards rushing and two scores.
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Cincinnati Vs. North Carolina State: Thursday Night Frights

(Sports Network) The Cincinnati Bearcats and NC State Wolfpack are set to meet for the first-ever time on the gridiron this Thursday, as they clash under the lights of Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh.

Cincinnati, the two-time defending Big East champions, picked up its first win of the campaign this past weekend, scoring a 40-7 decision over FCS member Indiana State. It was the 13th straight home win for the Bearcats and their first victory under new head coach Butch Jones, whose squad opened the season with a 28-14 loss at Fresno State.

NC State meanwhile, used a solid defensive performance to top UCF, 28-21, in Orlando last weekend. Coupled with a 48-7 opening win over Western Carolina and the Wolfpack are 2-0 for the first time in Tom O'Brien's tenure as head coach. As a matter of fact, this is NC State's best start dating back to the 2002 campaign, when the team won its first nine games behind QB Philip Rivers.

Following a dreadful season opening performance, Cincinnati's offense got back on track last weekend with 393 total yards in a rout of Indiana State. The Bearcats, who managed just 234 total yards and gave up eight sacks against Fresno State in the opener, did a much better job of protecting QB Zach Collaros and he responded with 130 yards and two scores on 11-of-17 pass attempts. Collaros also added his second rushing TD of the season for the Bearcats, who massed 263 yards on the ground after managing only 15 yards in the opener. TB Darrin Williams, starting in place of the injured Isaiah Pead (sore knee), led the way with 117 yards on 13 carries, while John Goebel added 75 yards and two TDs on nine totes. Armon Binns led the receiving crops, which was without Vidal Hazelton, with 59 yards and two scores. Expected to be the team's top deep threat, Hazelton tore up his knee last weekend versus Fresno State and is expected to miss the remainder of the season.

Defensively, the Bearcats did a good job versus Indiana State, allowing only 254 total yards, including only 161 through the air. The unit wasn't particularly bad versus Fresno State either, although the group did give up 247 yards and four TDs through the air. The Bearcats' third-down defense has been strong through two games, holding its opponents to just a 9-of-30 effort. JK Schaffer headed the defense this past weekend with nine tackles, while Maalik Bomar had two TFLs and one of the team's two sacks.

Facing their first FBS defense of the season, the Wolfpack found it much harder to move the ball and managed only 239 total yards against UCF last weekend. NC State's offense, which totaled 480 yards in an opening win over FCS member Western Carolina, even failed to score after the intermission in last weekend's triumph. QB Russell Wilson struggled to complete 10-of-30 pass attempts for 105 yards and a TD, a big drop off from his four-TD, 306-yard passing effort in the opener. After combining for 104 rushing yards and two scores in the opener, the duo of Mustafa Greene and Dean Haynes went for 55 and 49 yards, respectively, on the ground last weekend. They each had a rushing TD for the second week in a row. Much like the opener, NC State didn't commit a single turnover and that was certainly a big key in the 28-21 win over UCF.

NC State's defense won the game for the team last weekend, as the unit recorded five turnovers and scored what turned out to be the game-winning TD on a C.J. Wilson 43-yard INT return late in the third quarter. The unit, which did allow a pair of fourth quarter TDs, also preserved the victory by forcing and recovering a fumble deep in its own territory in the final minute. Safety Brandan Bishop jarred the ball loose after a 21-yard pass completion and linebacker Terrell Manning fell on the ball to seal the win. Audie Cole paced the defense with an all-around effort of 12 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, an INT and sack.

The Wolfpack defense has been on top of its game early on and this unit should be able to cause all sorts of havoc against a Cincinnati offensive line that has proven vulnerable. The pressure should help create some big plays for the defense, helping NC State to capture the win.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: NC State 31, Cincinnati 24

Thursday, September 16th, 7:30 p.m. (et)

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