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Duke, State, UNC football notes

Duke S Jeremy Cash (Miami, Fla.) is one of 15 semifinalists for the Thorpe Award, an honor presented to the nation’s top defensive back.

A second team All-America pick last year, Cash has compiled 63 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, two INTs, three caused fumbles, four PBUs, four QB pressures and one fumble recovery.

In the ACC, Cash ranks first in caused fumbles per game (0.43), tied for fourth in interceptions per game (0.29) and fifth in tackles per game (9.0).

The Blue Devils take on Pittsburgh Saturday. “We have a huge challenge in Pittsburgh, who I think is as physical a team as anybody we’ll see,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “An extremely well-coached football team. They don’t make mistakes very often. I know they had a unique circumstance last week. Sometimes that happens to us all.

“But this is a Pitt team that is, as I said, well-coached, strong, physical, good on both sides of the ball, and the kicking game. So a huge November challenge for us.”

North Carolina QB Marquise Williams (Charlotte) is one of five players in the country leading his team in both passing yards and rushing yards. He ranks second in the ACC and 15th in the country in total offense, averaging 316.5 total yards per game.

Williams is tied for fifth at UNC in career touchdown passes with 33 and he owns the school record for most career rushing TDs (14) by a quarterback at UNC.

The weekly news conference turned humorous as UNC coach Larry Fedora talked about playing at Miami.

Media Question: I know a lot of fans are talking about how Miami is favored by 16, 17 points. Is that something you use in the locker room to motivate your players, use the underdog notion coming into the game?

COACH FEDORA: How much are they favored by?
Q. 17, last time I saw it.

COACH FEDORA: I haven’t used that, but I got plenty of things to use. We got plenty of things going against us in a lot of different areas. So, yeah, I’ll just throw that in the hat, too. That will be good. I appreciate that.

Q. Glad I could help.

COACH FEDORA: Any time (smiling).

NC Statedukestateunc2
Seven different true freshmen have earned starts for NC State in 2014–the fourth-highest total in the FBS. A total of four newcomers earned starting nods last time out in the game at Louisville, including three on defense.

True freshman WR Bo Hines (Charlotte) has started five contests for the Pack, offensive guard Tony Adams (Charlotte) has started four and LB Airius Moore (Beavercreek, Ohio), S Germaine Pratt (High Point), DT B.J. Hill (Oakboro), TE Cole Cook (Carrollton, Ga.) and WR Stephen Louis (West Palm Beach,Fla.) have each started once. Only Tulane (12), Tennessee (8) and Southern California (8) have had more freshmen starters.

The Wolfpack takes on Syracuse Saturday. “Excited to be back in a game week. Definitely had a good bye,” NCSU coach Dave Doeren. “Got a lot of guys some rest that needed it. Were able to focus on some fundamentals, really get down to
some needed self-scout on all three phases of our team, and also focus on some recruiting things that we needed to do. So it was a good week I think mentally and physically for the staff and the players.”


State, Carolina men’s soccer close out regular season on TV

ncstatesoccerThe final weekend of the regular season will see three division match-ups on Friday and three on Saturday.

On Friday, NC State (7-5-4) visits Clemson in a game televised on the league’s Regional Sports Networks and ESPN3, Boston College is at No. 3/7 Syracuse, and Duke is in Blacksburg to play Virginia Tech.

Saturday’s three games will feature five ranked teams with No. 6/3 North Carolina (12-4) hosting No. 21/25 Virginia (ESPN3), No. 5/11 Notre Dame at Pitt, and #22/9 Louisville at No. -/22 Wake Forest.

The bracket for the 2014 ACC Men’s Soccer Championship, which gets under way on Nov. 5, will be announced following the conclusion of Saturday’s games.


ACC preseason media poll predictably picks Duke first, UNC second

Duke's Jahlil Okafor.

Duke’s Jahlil Okafor.

The ACC media predictions are pretty predictable. Duke will enter the 2014-15 season as the Atlantic Coast Conference favorite, according to a vote of media in attendance at the league’s annual “Operation Basketball.” North Carolina is picked second and new member Louisville is third.

NC State is 9th in the 15-member league. UNC’s Marcus Paige was chosen as the preseason player of the year while Duke newcomer 6-foot-11 Jahlil Okafor was chosen as freshman of the year.

The Blue Devils, who return guards Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon, along with starting forward Amile Jefferson from last year’s team that finished 26-9 and tied for third place in the final ACC regular-season standings, received 41 of 65 first-place votes in Wednesday’s preseason poll. In addition to the solid group of veterans, the Blue Devils boast a talented cast of newcomers that includes Okafor.

North Carolina (12 first-place votes) finished second in the voting, followed by ACC newcomer Louisville (three first-place votes), defending ACC champion Virginia (seven first-place votes) and Syracuse (two first-place votes). Each of those four teams has joined Duke in most preseason Top 25 national rankings.

ACC preseason voters selected Pitt sixth, followed by Notre Dame, Florida State and NC State. Miami was picked 10th, while Clemson, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Boston College and Virginia Tech completed the voting.

Again, North Carolina junior guard Marcus Paige, who averaged 17.5 points per game and led the ACC in free-throw percentage (.911) last season, received the nod as the ACC Preseason Player of the Year. The Marion, Iowa, native received 33 votes in the Player of the Year balloting. Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell placed second with 16 votes. Duke’s Okafor, a 6-foot-11, 270-pound post player from Chicago, was the overwhelming choice as ACC Preseason Rookie of the Year on 62 of the 65 ballots cast.

Okafor also received 15 ACC Preseason Player of the Year votes, while Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon received one.

Paige, Harrell, Okafor, Brogdon and Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant were selected as the Preseason All-ACC Team.

Duke was picked as the ACC preseason favorite for the 15th time in the 46-year history of the poll, and the 14th time under current head coach Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils were also tabbed as the favorite prior to last season.

The regular season begins for all 15 ACC teams the weekend of Nov. 14-16. In addition to an 18-game regular-season conference schedule, the 62nd annual ACC Tournament will again consist of 14 games and will be played from Tuesday through Saturday (March 10-14) at the Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum. This season’s ACC Tournament championship game will be the first since 1981 played in prime time on a Saturday night.

ACC Operation Basketball 2014-15 Preseason Poll
(First-place votes in parenthesis)

Team & Points
1. Duke (41): 935

2. North Carolina (12): 870

3. Louisville (3): 847

4. Virginia: 824 (7)

5. Syracuse: 706 (2)

6. Pitt: 592

7. Notre Dame: 515

8. Florida State: 506

9. NC State: 478

10. Miami: 442

11. Clemson: 330

12. Wake Forest: 221

13. Georgia Tech: 195

14. Boston College: 184

15. Virginia Tech: 155

2014-15 Preseason All-ACC Team

(votes in parenthesis)
Marcus Paige, North Carolina (63)
Montrezl Harrell, Louisville (58)
Jahlil Okafor, Duke (57)
Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia (55)
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame (24)

ACC Preseason Player of the Year
Marcus Paige, North Carolina

ACC Preseason Rookie of the Year
Jahlil Okafor, Duke


State’s Bilis wins second straight swimmer of the week award

ncstateswimNC State junior Simonas Bilis captured his second consecutive Men’s Swimmer of the Week award after a strong showing last weekend in a tri-meet at Georgia Tech.

Bilis was sensational in the Wolfpack’s tri-meet against Georgia Tech and Florida State on Saturday. Bilis swept all three sprint freestyle events for the second straight weekend. Bilis recorded two NCAA ‘B’ cuts on the day, as he finished first in the 50 (20.00), 100 (44.35) and the 200 (1:36.52) events.


UNC’s Hollins named ACC receiver of the week

Mack Hollins.

Mack Hollins.

North Carolina’s Mack Hollins was tabbed as ACC Receiver of the Week for his play in the Tar Heels’ 28-27 road victory at Virginia.

Hollins did a bit of everything in UNC’s 28-27 win over Virginia. He had a 57-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter and a 63-yard scoring catch in the second quarter to finish with a career-high 120 yards receiving.

Hollins also recovered an onside kick by Nick Weiler with just over four minutes to play, moments after UNC had taken its first lead of the game. In addition, Hollins twice downed UNC punts inside the Virginia 2-yard line.


UNC Chancellor addresses academic fraud report

Kenneth Wainstein, Tom Ross, Carol Folt, Bubba CunninghamMessage from Chancellor Carol L. Folt

Dear Carolina Community,

Earlier today, Kenneth Wainstein, a former federal prosecutor, released the findings of his independent investigation into academic irregularities at Carolina. You may view the report at carolinacommitment.unc.edu.

I recognize that the past few years have been challenging for our community, but today we have a full picture of what happened. I am deeply disappointed by the duration and the extent of the wrongdoing, as well as the lack of oversight that could have corrected it sooner. We could have saved so much anguish and, more importantly, protected the students and countless members of our community who played absolutely no role. My greatest hope is that we can restore your trust and ensure that you do not feel diminished by the bad actions of others.

It is important to separate the past from the present—and the future. Mr. Wainstein found that the irregularities were confined to one department, peaked almost a decade ago and ended in 2011. Since first learning of these irregularities four years ago, Carolina took action to stop the wrongdoing and implemented numerous additional reforms, and we continue to take actions that build on the initiatives currently in place.

We already are stronger as a result of our journey, not only from the reforms, but because of our willingness to accept responsibility. Now is our time to show how resilient we can be – how we are going to continue the process of deep soul-searching and self-reflection, and how we are going to use what we have learned to become better, stronger and even more proud of who we are as an institution.

I expect the members of our community to experience a range of emotions about the report’s findings and our actions. As you reflect upon the learnings, remember that our University’s 221-year history has never been defined by a single moment. Rather, our legacy is built from the impressive accomplishments and discoveries made every day on this campus by our students, faculty and staff.

In that spirit, let me remind you of our town hall event this evening from 5 to 6 p.m. in room G100 of the Genome Sciences Building. I want to provide you with more insights on the report and respond to your questions. I hope you will be able to join me.

I feel today, more than ever, that it is the privilege of my career to be chancellor of one of the greatest universities in America. I am so proud of what our campus community is accomplishing – and where we are headed.

Thank you for your support.


Carol L. Folt


Sports talk’s Zarzour to speak at Raleigh Sports Club

Taylor Zarzour.

Taylor Zarzour.

Taylor Zarzour, host for the nationally broadcast “Bleacher Report” on Sirius XM Radio, will be the keynote speaker at the Raleigh Sports Club Wednesday, Oct. 22 at Bradley Hall in Highland United Methodist Church at 1901 Ridge Road.

Buffet lines open at 11:30 a.m. and the meeting is from noon until 1 p.m. Attendance fee for members is $15 while guest fee is $25.

Zarzour started as a sports reporter for WEAR TV in Pensacola, Fla., in 2000-01. From there he went on to host the Morning Show for Sports Radio 560 in Nashville, Tenn., for a year, before returning home to Mobile where he served as the program director and afternoon host for Sports Radio 105.5 until 2004.

He first came to North Carolina in June of 2004, serving as Program Director and Morning Host for Triangle Sports Talk 1490/1090 in Raleigh/Durham until the summer of 2006. From there he became the Sports Director for Curtis Media Group in Raleigh, while also hosting his own daily sports talk show.

In January of 2011, Taylor moved to Charlotte to work for 610 WFNZ, hosting The Drive each weekday afternoon. Taylor graduated from Huntingdon College (Montgomery, AL) in 2000, with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. He lives in Charlotte with his wife and two daughters.

Shaye McAuliffe, a tennis player at Middle Creek, will be honored as the Student Athlete of the Week.

The annual membership fee is $70, which helps to fund the club’s scholarship fund. Each week from late August to early April meetings include a Southern buffet, door prizes, pick sheets and introduction to a deserving Student Athlete as well as hearing from a prominent sports figure as our guest speaker.
Raleigh Sports Club Membership Form


Fedora interview: Heels must be efficient vs. Georgia Tech

Larry Fedora.

Larry Fedora.

North Carolina faces Georgia Tech in a game of contrasting styles. The Tar Heels move quickly while the Jackets are methodical.

Q. As far as this upcoming matchup with Georgia Te ch, they struggled a little bit last week throwing the ball. They’ve become dominant over the years in running the ball. How are you preparing your team for them right now?
COACH LARRY FEDORA: For me it’s the same as any Paul Johnson-coached team. They’re going to be very disciplined. They’re going to run the ball extremely well. When you least expect it, they’re going to beat you with the pass. That’s what this offense does. It was uncharacteristic for them to turn the ball over like they did last week. I’m sure that’s something that they’re addressing. We hope we can create some turnovers defensively because we need those extra possessions on offense. They’re going to restrict you to probably about nine, maybe ten possessions on offense. So we need every extra possession we can get.

Q. Talking to Paul Johnson, I asked him about your defense. He brought up an interesting point about tempo. Obviously Georgia Tech controls the ball, keeps their defense off the field. He says, I’m sure our defense hasn’t played as many plays as you have. Is that a factor in maybe causing some of the defensive problems, that your offense plays fast and doesn’t control the clock, you have to play a lot of plays on defense?
COACH FEDORA: Well, when you look at the two, I’m sure that our defense is on the field more than their defense is on the field. Part of that is the styles of offense that you run. I don’t think that Paul and them are
necessarily trying to slow the game down. It’s just what they do. They’re still trying to score on every play. I mean, they probably have two or three play-scoring drives just like everybody else. They’re probably more methodical. They’re going to pick up four or five yards a carry. They’re going to move the chains, which is going to run the clock, which will keep their defense off the field. When you look at the two, our defense is definitely on the field more than theirs. Part of the problem is you have to get off the field when you’re on defense. When you’re out there, you still
control whether those chains keep moving or not, and you’ve got to get off the field.

Q. That’s exactly what he said, that they’re still trying to score, but it just works out that way. As far as getting off the field, I guess Georgia Tech, it seems like the game they really struggle offensively is when other teams can force turnovers, get them off the field that way. Not so many three-and-outs.
COACH FEDORA: You’re right. I’ve looked at them for years. Normally we average about 14 to 15 possessions in a game on offense. Against Georgia Tech, except for the 2012 year where we had that huge shootout, we’re probably going to get nine possessions. I think we had 10 last year, one of them was with 24 seconds on the clock left in the second half. Nine real possessions. You can’t screw up. You’ve got to be very, very efficient offensively. You have to move the
chains and you have to put the ball in the end zone when you get the opportunity.


Tuesday ACC football coaches’ quotes

dukestateunc2UNC is dealing with another strong offensive performance that still resulted in a loss. NC State is dealing with players who took part in some inappropriate BB gun incident. And Duke is coming off a big win over favored Georgia Tech and will be favored at home over an improving Virginia team.

UNC Coach Larry Fedora said:
After evaluating the film on Sunday and really breaking it down we found that there’s some good things and some bad things in all three phases of the game, as usual. But there were many bright spots, there were some good things that we were able to take from this game and hopefully we’ll be able to grow on and we’ll be a better football team because of it. We’re excited about coming home and playing in front of our fans again. We’re taking on a very good Georgia Tech football team that totally makes you stop everything that you’re doing on defense and change to prep are for the triple option attack.

NC State coach Dave Doeren said:
I believe in holding guys accountable and treating them fairly and helping them learn from their mistakes, and keep building our program in the right way. I love the kids on our football team and I believe that my job is part coach, part mentor, part father and part disciplinarian, all those parts are important. It’s a new week, new opportunity. It’s an opportunity to play a very good team (Louisville) on the road. It’s a new opportunity for some guys to step into a little more playing time in certain positions. It’s an opportunity for our leaders to be stronger leaders, and an opportunity for our young guys to try and play as old as possible. I think in today’s times that its really important to learn and face problems and face up for what they are, handle it and help young men become better young men.

Duke coach David Cutcliffe said:
Obviously, every week is going to be a big week. Getting to play back-to-back and then having an open date, hopefully we can continue our focus to play a very good Virginia team that could very easily be undefeated if you watch them on tape. They’ve really played well all year. They do outstanding things in all three phases.


UNC sweeps ACC weekly swimming and diving awards

uncswimcapNorth Carolina captured all four ACC Swimming and Diving weekly awards, as the Tar Heels took down Tennessee this past weekend in Chapel Hill. Ben Colley, Jack Nyquist, Hellen Moffitt and Michole Timm were all recognized for their strong showings.

Colley, who earned ACC Male Swimmer of the Week honors, won two individual events and swam on the victorious 400-yard freestyle relay. Colley swam away from the field in both butterfly events, winning the 100-yard event in 47.54 and the 200-yard event in 1:45.67, both times ranking No. 1 in all of NCAA Division I. Colley also anchored the Tar Heels’ relay with a leg split of 44.26, the fastest split of any swimmer in the event.

The ACC Male Diver of the Week, Nyquist easily won the 1-meter diving competition with 371.63 points, finishing more than 17 points ahead of the runner-up in the event. Nyquist finished second in the 3-meter diving competition with 412.43 points, being edged by just .22 of a point by Mauricio Robles of Texas, who was a first-team All-American last year.

Moffitt grabbed ACC Female Swimmer of the Week after posting three individual wins and swimming on one winning relay as she helped power the Tar Heels over the Volunteers. Moffitt met NCAA B qualifying times in all three of her individual events; the 100-yard backstroke (53.49), the 200-yard backstroke (1:57.79) and the 100-yard butterfly (53.73). She also led off the victorious 200-yard medley relay with a 50-yard backstroke time of 24.90.

The ACC Female Diver of the Week, Timm, a transfer from the University of New Mexico, scored 319.20 points on the 1-meter board, being edged by her own teammate, Elissa Dawson by just 1.2 points. Later in the meet, Timm set the school record in the three-meter diving event with a score of 352.55 points. The redshirt senior’s score was more than 20 points more than the previous university record of 331.45 points scored by Jenna Moore in 2011.