Waited all Saturday for this?
There will be a select few that will look at this game half full. Some will see it as half empty. Most of WPN will see a bone dry glass.
In a highly anticipated matchup with a middle of the road SEC team, NC State falls short 24-10 in Starkville. To be fair, the defensive unit did more than their fair share to keep the Wolfpack in this game. The continual “shooting of self in foot”, became too much for the offense. Doeren needs to be held accountable for massive failures of fundamental plays. Here’s our 6-Pack of takeaways.
1. What the Heck, Beck?!
Don’t even know where to begin.
We could start with the fact we should have directly turned the game’s mojo around by getting a 3 and out and driving down for a touchdown to tie. How you can be on the two yard line and not think about just driving it home, is so Seattle Super Bowl-esche. The cute play, not only was the slowest developing play in State history, but was criminally called in that time of “worst case scenario, get 3 points.”
We could talk about this rushing crew getting 300 yards last week, before being handed the rock 16 total times. They weren’t moving it in huge chunks (still pushed the pile 3 yards a carry and every, single carry was an uninspired call to the left), but the balanced attack with quick pace was working against the Bulldogs.
We could talk about needing 11 yards and deciding on quick 5 yard out routes. Or not giving your young QB the setup to be comfortable. Maybe let’s throw some more markers at them while they take their written test next week?
This team has a formula for success, but Beck and company overthought and completely under delivered. They looked at the SEC logo and just fully assumed that they needed to use every damn trick in the book to get results, and it was easily the biggest mistake of the last five years.
2. Turnovers Kill Again
Reminder, this Miss State team had SIX turnovers last week against LA Tech. Five of those were fumbles. In order to find success, NC State needed to get turnovers and gain field position.
Going to beat this into the ground so damn hard, but Person INT, shouldn’t have happened. Knight not putting two hands on the ball while running through a pile, is fundamentally a disaster. The Leary late heave INT is acceptable to some extent, but the no look “Let it fly” attempts are not. Carter couldn’t make a catch if he was alone in a field using a beach ball, but somehow bailed Leary out on a 3-v-1 jump ball. Go figure.
3. Redzone Deadzone
While I fully understand the Redzone is 20 yards and in, I’m going to open it up, because it rhymes folks. State averaged 2 points per trip when within Miss State’s 30. A handful of opportunities to get something, ANYTHING, and they continually fell short. It doesn’t matter the opponent; when you don’t score, you don’t win.
INT (2nd & Goal from MSU 2)
Downs (2nd & Goal from MSU 6)
We found ourselves within 2 and 6 yards and came away with ZERO points.
Whether it was the aforementioned “Tebow Time” or the inability to position yourself better for a field goal, it was sad beyond belief. Miss State gave the Wolfpack every chance to stay within striking distance and State failed. It’s going to be an awkward time around the practice facility with a defense that held strong, looking across at an offense that was worthless.
4. Happy Thoughts on Defense
Speaking of defense, I love these guys. Every single dude is doing everything in his power to make it work. Miss State ended at 3 for 13 on 3rd downs, and at one point, was 0-8. The dam wasn’t going to hold forever. While NC State struggled rushing, Miss State was even worse. TWENTY-TWO rushing yards. What more can you ask?
The Wilson injury didn’t look good and would assume we’ll be short a LB for the foreseeable future. Moore was also banged up. But this defensive crew hung in there regardless, even with questionable play calling leading to consistent dropping backs of 8 with no pressure on Rogers. We gave Leach’s Air Raid Offense all the time in the world and still somehow only gave up 17 points defensively.
5. All Fun and Games Until We Play SEC
NC State is now 7-32-2 against the SEC. Gonna let that soak in for a bit.
Does it matter for the ACC title? No. But these are games that NC State has to win and continually falls short. Point the fingers at DD, but just know, we have a losing culture in big games that no State coach has been able to fix.
I need to leave this topic because I just don’t want to think about it anymore.
6. The Road Ahead
This is very simple; just win. As you look at the schedule ahead and if State can get out of their own way, there’s still a chance for a successful season. Win the games you absolutely should and hang against opponents you shouldn’t. Florida State is in trouble. Louisville is in trouble. Miami is in trouble.
If we went into Starkville and got our faces blown off by a far superior team, so be it. NC State lost this game, Miss State didn’t win it. I said it. There was nothing outside of the opening kick return that I felt “Boy, MSU was perfect there.”
Our coaches overthought and underprepared this team. Our receivers’ hands were bricks. Leary looked unconfident throughout. The defense tried to contain all they could. We did this to ourselves, which means we can fix this IF we want to.
WPN is angry and completely, 10000% agree. Get fired up and let’s see what next Saturday brings. #GoPack