N.C. State QB hoping to avoid 'backbreakers'
N.C. State quarterback Harrison Beck, thrust back into a starting role after an injury to Russell Wilson, didn't have to look at tape to know about the USF defense he'll go up against Saturday in Raleigh.
The former Countryside standout said he's watched several USF games in the past two years and recognizes how turnovers have helped the Bulls in big wins against Auburn, West Virginia last season and Kansas two weeks ago.
"They play pretty good defense, but the turnovers are usually backbreakers," said Beck, a transfer from Nebraska who started four games last season before suffering a shoulder injury. "Against Kansas, they sealed the deal at the end with a pick off the post route, and last year against West Virginia, their linebacker picked Pat White and returned it for a touchdown."
Avoiding turnovers will be a key for Beck, whose career numbers against BCS opponents are zero touchdowns and nine interceptions. His biggest test was a trip to Boston College last season, where his rushing touchdown helped N.C. State to a 10-7 lead, but the Eagles scored the next 30 points, helped by five Beck interceptions and a fumble. N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien, talking about Beck this week, said "we're just going to have to tell him that we're wearing the red jerseys on Saturday night, and we'll be in good shape."
Beck said USF recruited him out of Countryside, where he was rated as the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the nation by Rivals.com, but he didn't seriously consider the Bulls because he knew he wanted to play out of state and was courted by major programs such as Michigan and Nebraska.
"I lived in Florida my whole life, so if I had a chance to have my college degree paid for, I wanted to go away," Beck said. "USF wasn't the USF they are now. They weren't ranked, hadn't beaten the kinds of teams they've been beating. You could see them starting to turn things around then, but I just didn't want to stay in Florida."
Beck has an opportunity for a big win against the No. 13 team in the nation and said his key will be keeping his focus against a tough defense.
"It feels good," Beck said. "It's been an up-and-down kind of career so far. It's going to come down to focus. It's a system where if one thing doesn't work right, the whole thing goes downhill. What you saw last week (in an upset of No. 15 East Carolina) was everyone staying within the offense and it all working smoothly."