- Associated Press - Friday, September 15, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina State didn’t get caught looking back last week. With a huge test looming, the Wolfpack don’t want to look ahead, either.

N.C. State (1-1) looks to keep its focus on Furman of the FCS on Saturday - and not on its Atlantic Coast Conference opener the following week at No. 11 Florida State.

“We want to be a better team in Week 3 than in Week 2,” coach Dave Doeren said.

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The Wolfpack in 2016 expressed frustration at allowing one loss to mushroom into multiple defeats. That could have happened again this year, after they lost a barometer-type opener to South Carolina and then twice trailed Marshall by 10 points.

But N.C. State found a rhythm late in the first half, scored touchdowns on four straight possessions and beat the Thundering Herd 37-20.

Now the Wolfpack vow to keep their full attention on the Paladins (0-2) while not peeking ahead to the Atlantic Division showdown with the Seminoles. Furman’s two losses, both to fellow FCS schools, have come by a total of four points.

The Paladins’ option offense has service-academy roots; first-year coach Clay Hendrix spent a decade on the staff at Air Force as both an offensive line coach and the offensive coordinator. Furman ranks 24th in the FCS in rushing, averaging 208.5 yards, and its 2½ penalties per game is tied for third in the subdivision.

“I know they’re going to compete hard and they’re going to be proud kids to come in and play hard,” Doeren said.


Some things to know about the Furman-N.C. State game:

SECONDARY HELP: The Wolfpack hope to have a reinforcement in the secondary with CB Mike Stevens (lower leg) appearing on the depth chart for the first time this season. Doeren would like Stevens to play in some passing situations and third downs but does not want to rush his recovery process. N.C. State allowed Marshall WR Tyre Brady to set a Carter-Finley Stadium record with 248 yards receiving, and 75 of those came on a catch-and-run touchdown in which starting CB Johnathan Alston, a converted receiver, whiffed on the tackle and had no help from the safeties.

A FULL LINE: N.C. State also expects to have its projected starting offensive line together for the first time, with RT Will Richardson coming off a two-game suspension from the team. Terrone Prescod shifts from right tackle to left guard, and redshirt freshman Joe Sculthorpe moves into a backup role behind Prescod. “Nice to get our starting five on the line back together,” Doeren said.

CONNECTIONS: Hendrix is a Furman alumnus but he has a connection to N.C. State. He started for three years for the Paladins under coach Dick Sheridan, and when Sheridan took over the Wolfpack in 1986, Hendrix spent two seasons with him as a graduate assistant. Also, North Carolina State assistant head coach Des Kitchings played receiver at Furman in the 1990s and was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in 2009.

FINLEY’S FINE: Ryan Finley is the first N.C. State quarterback since Philip Rivers in 2003 to begin a season with consecutive 300-yard passing games. Finley threw for a career-best 415 against South Carolina and followed that with 341 yards and three touchdowns against Marshall.


More AP college football: collegefootball.ap.org and twitter.com/AP_Top25

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