Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gryphon fans may remember Wolfpack killer!

All N.C. State had to do was to beat Maryland Saturday to make it to the ACC Championship Game and a rematch with Virginia Tech.

But the player who gunned down the Wolfpack to a 38-31 loss Saturday played before the home folks at the Rocky Mount Athletic Facility three short seasons ago.

With perhaps Rocky Mount's best-ever offense and defense taking the field to start the 2008 season, now Terrapin quarterback Danny O'Brien brought his East Forsyth team to Rocky Mount for that season's opening endowment game.

Ask the then 6-foot-3, 198-pound O'Brien how that Friday night went.

He was bothered and bewildered in a 43-14 loss to the Gryphons. O'Brien, who had verbally committed to Maryland the summer before, had a rough time dealing with a Rocky Mount defense that ended the season allowing just nine points a contest. RMHS had a 43-0 lead before O'Brien, who finished with just 76 yards passing, scored twice on scoring tosses against some second-string Gryphons.

But the redshirt freshman from Kernersville, whose dad played football at Notre Dame (who would think that with a name like O'Brien), went wild on the Pack Saturday. It's hard to believe he only got scholarship offers from the Terrapins, East Carolina and Duke.

Against one of the worst secondaries in the ACC, O'Brien, who has bulked up to 215 pounds, went 37-for-47 for 417 yards and four touchdowns. He's the first Terp signal caller to throw for 400 yards or more since 1993.

State came into the contest tied for last in the league in interceptions (eight) and ninth in touchdown passes allowed (16). The Pack was also in the bottom of the league in completion percentage allowed and total passing yards allowed. So getting toasted by anybody shouldn't come as a surprise.

But the only time area fans got to see O'Brien, he spent more time flat on his back.

NOTE: O'Brien has been named the ACC’s offensive and overall rookie of the year by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. He wound up starting nine games for the 8-4 Terrapins and has passed for 2,257 yards and 21 touchdowns while throwing six interceptions.

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