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RELEASE: Kurt Roper Named NC State’s New Quarterbacks Coach

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RALEIGH, N.C. – NC State head coach Dave Doeren has announced that Kurt Roper, a 23-year veteran of the coaching ranks, has joined the Wolfpack staff and will mentor the quarterbacks. Roper comes to Raleigh after coaching that same position at Colorado last season.

Roper brings a wealth of experience, plus a familiarity with the Triangle area, to NC State, having served as an offensive coordinator for two SEC programs and another in the ACC.

“I’m excited to add a tremendous coach and person with great experience to our offensive staff,” said Doeren. “Kurt is an incredible teacher and a true developer of players at the QB position. He’s also a connected and highly respected recruiter who knows this region well.”

“My family and I are thrilled about coming to NC State as a part of Coach Doeren’s staff,” said Roper. “Working for a great coach at a great university with an unbelievable fan base is a great opportunity and I can’t wait to get started.”

Roper spent 15 of his first 22 years of coaching in the SEC, beginning his career as a graduate assistant at Tennessee (1996-98) then coaching the quarterbacks at Ole Miss from 1999-2004 under head coach David Cutcliffe. He spent the 2005 season coaching that same position at Kentucky, then returned to UT from 2006-07 to coach the running backs.

In 2008, he rejoined Cutcliffe at Duke, where he served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach until 2013 before serving in that same position at Florida in 2014.

After spending the 2015 season as a senior offensive assistant with the Cleveland Browns, Roper went to South Carolina, where he was co-offensive coordinator quarterbacks coach for two years before heading to Colorado.

Roper tutored All-America signal-caller Eli Manning, the 2003 SEC Player of the Year and No. 1 overall pick of the 2004 NFL Draft, during his six-years as the quarterbacks coach at Ole Miss. After winning the Maxwell and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Awards in 2003, Manning has gone on to win two Super Bowls, was twice named the Super Bowl MVP and is a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

Another one of his quarterbacks, Thaddeus Lewis, spent six years in the NFL after a record-breaking career in Roper’s offense at Duke. Lewis finished his career as Duke’s all-time leader in pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns. He joined the Wolfpack’s Philip Rivers as just the second player in ACC history to throw for over 10,000 yards.

In Roper’s last year at Duke, the Blue Devils enjoyed a record-setting campaign as they won a program-best 10 games en route to capturing the ACC’s Coastal Division championship. His offense set the school record for total touchdowns (60), while becoming the first squad in Blue Devil history to post 20+ rushing and 20+ passing TDs in the same season.

Also under Roper’s guidance, Anthony Boone finished his career as the winningest quarterback in Duke history with 19 victories, Brandon Connette became Duke’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns, while wide receiver Jamison Crowder established school single-season records for receptions (108) and receiving yards (1,301).

At Kentucky, he coached Kentucky Andre’ Woodson, who went on to be a sixth round draft pick of the New York Giants.

An Ames, Iowa, native, Roper was a three-year letterman as a quarterback and defensive back at Rice from 1992-94. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Rice in 1995 and a master’s degree from Tennessee in 1998.

Roper and his wife, Britt, have one daughter, Reese, and one son, Luke. His brother, Zac, is the deputy head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Duke.

NC State Football

Previewing NC State’s Opponent: Ball State

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NC State will host Ball State tonight at 7pm under the lights tonight, marking the first time the Wolfpack and Cardinals have ever played each other in football.

It might be the first time that NC State has played Ball State, but it’s not the 1st time that Dave Doeren has played the Cardinals. While at Northern Illinois, Doeren was 2-0 against Ball State.

Experienced Unit

Ball State is one of the most experienced teams in the nation, returning 17 starters from 2018 (8 offense & 9 defense), which is tied for the 2nd most nationally.

Against the ACC

Back in 2013, Ball State beat Virginia 48-27, marking the only time they have beat an ACC opponent. The Cardinals are 1-7 all-time against the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Cardinals’ Flying High

The Cardinals’ air attack has been prolific through three games with Redshirt Junior Drew Plitt chucking the ball. Pitt has already thrown for over 1,000 yards through the first three games (1,040). Plitt has completed 70.6% of his passes and thrown 11 touchdowns (3 interceptions). He enters the game ranked 5th nationally in passing yards per game (346.7).

Plitt has a buffet of options to throw to. Redshirt Senior Riley Miller is the team leader in receiving yards (236), accompanied by 14 receptions and 2 touchdowns. Miller earned 2nd Team All-MAC last season. Redshirt Senior Antwan Davis leads the team with 3 touchdown receptions, and also has over 200+ yards receiving along with Miller (222). For perspective, Emeka Emezie leads NC State with 205 receiving yards, and Tabari Hines is next with 129 yards.

Junior Justin Hall leads Ball State with 16 receptions (162 yards), and earned All-MAC Third Team honors last year.

The Cardinals have 4 touchdown passes of 35+ yards in 2019. Last year they only had two such touchdowns all year.

They Will Steal the Ball from You

NC State’s offense has yet to turn the ball over in 2019. In comparison, Ball State’s defense has created 2 turnovers in each of their first three games, ranking 20th nationally. Their 4 interceptions are tied for 9th nationally. The Cardinals will look to be the first team to intercept Wolfpack Quarterback Matt McKay.

Defensive Leaders

Senior Inside Linebacker Jacob White leads the team in tackles in 2019 (29), and is the active career leader on the roster. White had a gaudy 17 tackles last week against Florida Atlantic.

Redshirt Junior James Jennette leads the team with 4 tackles for loss and 2 sacks. He is a first year starter, but led the team with 6 tackles for loss off the bench last year.

Comparing the 2 Teams

 

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NC State has the 6th Most Talented Team in the ACC According to 247 Composite

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I recently stumbled across a feature over at 247Sports that I was unaware of called the “Team Talent Composite”. Baically, it’s purpose is to calculate the talent on the roster of each college football team.

For all of you math junkies, here’s the way they arrived at their calculations.

In order to create the most comprehensive Team Recruiting Ranking without any notion of bias, 247Sports Team Recruiting Ranking is solely based on the 247Sports Composite Rating.

Each recruit is weighted in the rankings according to a GAUSSIAN DISTRIBUTION FORMULA (a bell curve), where a team’s best recruit is worth the most points. You can think of a team’s point score as being the sum of ratings of all the team’s commits where the best recruit is worth 100% of his rating value, the second best recruit is worth nearly 100% of his rating value, down to the last recruit who is worth a small fraction of his rating value. This formula ensures that all commits contribute at least some value to the team’s score without heavily rewarding teams that have several more commitments than others. (247)

According to the 247 Team Talent Composite, NC State has the 6th most talented team in the ACC in 2019, and the 36th most talented team in the nation.

Now, some of you might be uber critical of recruiting rankings, and think they are hogwash. Look, I get it. They aren’t always right.

But let’s face the facts, 6 of the Top-10 most talented teams this year according to 247’s Team Talent Composite rankings are currently ranked in the Top-10 of this weeks AP Poll, and 8 of them are in the Top-13.

If you take a quick glance at the rankings above, one thing is clear. FSU should fire Willie Taggart and hire Dave Clawson.

The Team Talent Composite rankings go back to 2015, and Dave Doeren has been progressively increasing the level of talent on the roster at NC State.

2019: 36th
2018: 41st
2017: 44th
2016: 44th
2015: 43rd

Here’s a look at the talent on NC State’s roster according to how they were rated before they arrived on campus.

(NOTE: The 2nd highest rated player on the roster, Linebacker Vi Jones, is sitting out this year due to transfer rules (USC).)

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Matt McKay’s Streak of Passes Without an Interception Ranks 3rd Nationally

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NC State fans are unsure what to think of the Wolfpack’s situation at Quarterback through the 1st 3 games of the 2019 season.

Redshirt Sophomore Matt McKay earned the starting job in Fall Camp, and while there have been some flaws in his body of work thus far, one thing he has done exceptionally well is take care of the football.

He is 1 of 11 quarterbacks in the NCAA to have not thrown an interception in 2019.

McKay has thrown 113 passes this season without an interception, and if you add in his 8 pass attempts last year, the streak is 121.

That accounts for the 3rd longest active streak in the NCAA.

1. Justin Herbert (Oregon) – 140
1. Khaleb Barker (Troy) – 140
3. Matt McKay (NC State) – 121

If McKay makes it through this Saturday without a pick, he will likely break into the Top-20 in ACC history.

Three NC State players rank in the Top-20.

  1. Russell Wilson – 379
  2. Ryan Finley – 339
  3. Jacoby Brissett – 187

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NC State’s Zonovan Knight Ranks 2nd Nationally Among True Freshman

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NC State Freshman Running Back Zonovan “BAM” Knight has been a revelation through his first three games, rushing for 233 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging 6.0 yards per carry.

That’s the 2nd most rushing yards by a True Freshman nationally.

True Freshman Rushing Leaders

  1. Isaiah Spiller (Texas A&M) – 246 yards & 2 touchdowns
  2. Zonovan Knight (NC State) – 233 yards and 3 touchdowns
  3. Kenneth Walker III (Wake Forest) – 219 yards and 1 touchdown
  4. George Holani (Boise State) – 216 yards
  5. Zach Charbonnet (Michigan) – 190 yards and 3 touchdowns

If you thrown in Redshirt Freshmen, Knight ranks 5th.

Freshman Rushing Leaders 

  1. Kenny Gainwell (Memphis) – 307 yards and 3 touchdowns
  2. Elijah Collins (Michigan State) – 281 yards and a touchdown
  3. Kavosiey Smoke (Kentucky) – 251 yards and 2 touchdowns
  4. Isaiah Spiller (Texas A&M) – 246 yards & 2 touchdowns
  5. Zonovan Knight (NC State) – 233 yards and 3 touchdowns

Knight’s 3 rushing touchdowns are tied for the 3rd most among the nations Freshmen, and the 2nd most out of all the True Freshmen.

Freshman Touchdown Leaders

1) Noah Cain (Penn State) – 4 (True)
1) Richard Newton (Washington) – 4 (Redshirt)
3) Zonovan Knight (NC State) – 3

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