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Monday, October 12, 2009

So yeah...FAIL

Ugh. Let's just get this over with.

Reasons we lost:

1. Defense, defense, defense. Where was it? It certainly wasn't on the field Saturday. I've been hemming and hawing about whether I felt Mike Archer's system could work, but after two weeks of watching a good quarterback pick it apart, I'm convinced that this bend-don't-break, umbrella, soft zone, whatever-you-want-to-call-it defense will not work on a consistent enough basis to stick with it for the long haul. The reason is simple: Good quarterbacks can pick it apart. We've seen it two weeks in a row now. And if State wants to reach the level of an ACC title contender, they're going to face plenty of good quarterbacks along the way. If we have to bank on beating only the teams with young/subpar quarterbacks, you can forget about any title aspirations.

2. Abandoning the running game at key times: More specifically in the fourth quarter, down two scores, when State elects to pass on 2nd and short in two possessions that ultimately result in 3-and-outs.

With 11 minutes to go in the game, on 2nd and one, with State averaging over six yards per carry, Dana Bible dials up a pass play that results in a nine-yard sack to Russell Wilson. State can only get four yards on 3rd and 10, and needing two scores to tie the game, State elects to punt instead.

On the following possession with 7:17 on the clock, State gains eight yards on first down, then instead of turning to the ground to pick up the remaining two yards, State goes back to the air. The pass is incomplete, setting up third and two. State gains one yard on third down and is then stoned on fourth and one to seal the deal for Duke. Is there a chance that Duke stops State all three times on the ground? Sure, but in a 2nd and short situation where you've shown a willingness to pass, my guess is the likelihood of converting there is greater when your offensive options are more varied.

If you have 2nd and one and are gaining huge chunks of yardage on the ground, there's no reason to try and pass the ball in those situations. Passing on 2nd and short can yield some big plays if the defense is geared up to stop the run, but typically those are gambles you take when the game isn't hanging in the balance. If you take a sack on 2nd and one in the first quarter with the score tied, so what. Big deal. Down two scores midway through the fourth, however, you take two or even three cracks at getting those few yards on the ground and keep the drive going.

Credit the Blue Devils for stopping the run when it counted, though, in the obvious running downs.

3, 4 and 5: Special teams gaffs, poor tackling and lack of pressure on Thad Lewis.

There's probably a handful of others, but I don't really care to relive this game through the box score any more than I have to. Now it's on to Boston College in the "Battle Of Teams Who Got Humiliated The Week Prior."


  1. I said this last week...a chance to take a huge step in winning the division with and 3-0 acc start (still hoping to come out 1-2 in this 3 game stretch and maybe with 2 weeks we can prepare for FSU and turn things around), now looks like state will be lucky to get a bowl...

    So long three-year theory for TOB, will he be able to work his 2nd half of season magic?!?! I hope so, but this crap first half stuff is already old!

  2. Yes and looked good too, I was very worried when rain game around 1:00ish, but that didn't last long...

  3. The poo runneth over for the Pack right now. What an awful second half.

    For a coach with a reputation for discipline, O'Brien has put a really sloppy team on the field this year. The botched fumble return/Duke TD was unforgivable.

  4. yea WTF (as loud as I can) was Owen Spencer (i think) thinking when he dove (i guess you can call it that) and punched the ball right to the Duke guys?!!?!


    No penalties though, which was remarkable for any team, much less a heavily penalized team this whole year. idk, I probably wouldv'e gotten a late hit on Thad on that fourth kneel if I was out there. At that point, don't GIVE, literally GIVE, us the ball back URGGG...VERY EMBARRASSING

  5. When the first occurred, I knew our day was through. Even though we were still within a score at that point, the ball literally seeking out Byers as he's running away from it proved to me that God was on Duke's side that day. Which goes to show you, if you build a gigantic Methodist temple to God with tobacco money, good things will come your way.

    To your point regarding the second one, I'm really not sure where or whom to lay the blame on. Again, the ball seemed to be seeking out our players at that point and took a funny bounce right into Spencer's leg. He should've pounced on it immediately as soon as he realized it hit him instead of playing it off hoping no one would notice, but by the time he realized he needed to fall on it, it was too late.

    I don't know...I guess there were so many other areas that stood out like sore, poorly-executed thumbs that I'm willing to give Spence a pass on that one and just chalk it up to bad luck.

  6. less football, more basketball!!!

  7. This is going to be a long year if TOB doesn't make his DC make any adjustments in the game. If Richmond could stop Duke you would think NCSU had the talent also.

  8. Losing to Duke means we've hit rock bottom. That was the biggest disgrace I've seen since Chuckles the Clown left town. Downright awful effort on defense. The defensive coordinator should write an open letter to all alumni who attended that travesty on Saturday.