November 12, 2011

Audie Cole, Pack defense focused today



The NC State defense is expecting a power running game today built around sophomore running back Rolandan Finch.

The Eagles offense has struggled this season, averaging a modest 18.4 points, but are rushing for 140.7 yards per game. Finch has filled in after senior running back Montel Harris re-injured his knee, which sidelined him for the season, and sophomore Andre Williams is battling an ankle injury.

NC State fifth-year senior middle linebacker Audie Cole leads the Wolfpack with 96 tackles and expects to be busy today. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m.

"They are going to attack us kind of like North Carolina did and Virginia, so it's kind of nice going from one team to the next with similar offenses," Cole said. "They are going to try and power it down us, and we'll have to stop it.

"We've watched their top plays and a few from our game last year, and from games that we last played. They are going to try and run it up the middle and go right through us."

The 5-foot-10, 201-pound Finch had his breakout game at Maryland on Oct. 29. He rushed for 239 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries in slicing through the Terrapins' defense.

Finch, who missed the 2010 season with a torn ACL suffered during spring football, leads the Eagles with 534 rushing yards and three scores on 126 carries, and has caught 10 passes for 82 yards. Finch also had a pair of costly fumbles in BC's loss to Florida State last week.

"I've heard that they have had around nine fumbles and nine interceptions," Cole said. "It happens with teams, but they can show up and not have any or show up and have five. You never know."

One of Cole's first big hits of his career came against Boston College quarterback Dave Shinskie on Oct. 17, 2009. He crushed him, but the coaches taught him a valuable lesson for the future about such opportunities.

"They said strip him too," said Cole, who has forced four fumbles this season. "That was nice and all, but for some reason no one blocked me and let me come off the edge. I don't know what happened there, but those are always fun and you enjoy those."

Shinskie is still on the roster for the Eagles, but doesn't play anymore. Cole said watching extra film was the key to combating what Boston College will try to do if they play both quarterbacks, sophomore Chase Rettig and redshirt freshman Joshua Bordner.

"You always have to know who is under center," Cole said. "They run different plays when different quarterbacks are in. That's something we'll be aware of."

NC State needs two wins over the next three games to reach the seven-win mark and become bowl eligible. Leaving the 13-0 emotional victory over North Carolina in the past and moving on to focus on Boston College has been a big challenge this week.

"I think the players all understand that to us, it was just a game," Cole said. "You play Saturday and have a good time on Saturday, and on Sunday, you have to forget about and move forward to the next team. We understand that, but our fans can keep it going for the next year. We have to get focused this week. That game was for the fans. They are happy, we are happy."


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