The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday December 5th

QB Matchup Aside, Amato Focused on Texas Tech's Defense

Despite the fact that the Wolfpack's Philip Rivers and Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury are among the top two ranked quarterbacks in their respective conferences, Amato is thinking about defense -- specifically, the Red Raiders' defense.

"Sometime people get so enamored with their offense because they move the ball up and down the field on people and score a lot of points, but the number one reason they do is because they play great defense and have an outstanding kicking game," Amato said.

After winning its first four games by an average score of 41-15, State should face more of a challenge in Saturday's game against Texas Tech (2-1).

So far, Rivers and the rest of the potent Wolfpack attack have had little trouble picking apart opposing defenses.

Not only does receiver Bryan Peterson rank second in the ACC in receiving, but running back Greg Golden is third in the conference in rushing yards.

Although Amato said he's concerned with Texas Tech's defense, the Red Raiders have allowed an average of 21 points in the two games since its opening-day, 45-21 loss to then-No. 6 Ohio State.

Perhaps Amato should be more concerned with Texas Tech's air attack. In three games, Kingsbury has attempted 131 passes, completing 83 for 980 yards.

"He completes passes for lots of yards," Amato said. "The mechanics of the offense are that he spreads the ball around to everybody, and he knows where they're supposed to be. He's like Philip Rivers is to our football team. He doesn't make a lot of mistakes, he doesn't get flustered, and he's mobile."

Terps' Tailback Set to Return

This season, Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen looked to build off last year's share of the ACC title and subsequent Orange Bowl appearance.

Then tailback Bruce Perry, who rushed for for 1,242 yards last year, heard a pop in his left leg when an offensive lineman stepped on his foot in practice. Perry tore his left groin and was scheduled to be out for four to eight weeks. Four weeks later, Perry might be ready to return to the starting lineup.

"I hope to have him back this week," Friedgen said. "It just depends on how much we can use him. Of course, we want to make sure he doesn't re-injure his groin."

Without Perry, the Terps (1-2) have struggled to replicate last year's success on the ground. Through three games, Chris Downs and Mario Merrills have combined for 230 yards rushing.

"We were very fortunate last year because we didn't have a lot of injuries," Friedgen said. "This year, we've had our fair share of them. We just have to work our way through them and do the best we can with what we've got."

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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