Sandwiched between a huge win over Clemson and a rivalry matchup with Miami next week, some thought that NC State may be a trap game for Florida State. That was hardly the case as the Noles crushed the Pack early and coasted to a 49-17 blowout win over NC State.
In A Nutshell
Too much size, too much speed and too much talent- that pretty much
summed up the difference in Saturday's game between NC State and
The Pack had an extra week to prepare for the Seminoles and FSU was
coming off a huge win over Clemson a week earlier but neither made a
difference in this game.
NC State looked tentative early and that's a recipe for disaster
against a team as good as Florida State. QB Brandon Mitchell's first
pass was an interception and it only went downhill from there. The
Nole's offense sliced through the Wolfpack defense like a knife
through hot butter and by the end of the first quarter the game was
all but over with FSU holding a commanding 35-0 lead.
Disastrous First Quarter
Only the coaches know for sure but from the outside looking in,
State appeared in awe of the Noles early on. FSU played at warp
speed while the Pack looked unsure of themselves and it showed in
their coverage, tackling, catching and pretty much every other facet
of the game.
Florida State needed only 19 plays and 6:08 of possession time to
forge an insurmountable 35-0 lead. The Noles are good but it's hard
to imagine that NC State could really be that bad but for the first
15 minutes they were.
The Wolfpack's first six possessions resulted in three turnovers,
three punts and a measly 48 yards of total offense. It's hard to
remember the last time an NC State team was so over matched and
taken out of a ball game that early and to that extent.
It's difficult to imagine a worse scenario for a return than the one
Mitchell faced on Saturday. On the road with an amped up crowd
celebrating Bobby Bowden day, Mitchell was rusty and that's putting
it mildly. He made a couple of plays (inexplicable forward pitch to
Tony Creecy and flip to Sharach Thornton out of the end zone) that
could have potentially made things even worse for NC State. Mitchell
appeared hesitant and his throws were off. Again, no one should have
been surprised. He doesn't have a ton of experience at quarterback
to begin with so Saturday's game was all but an impossible mountain
for him to climb in his return as State's starting QB. The only
positive you can take away from it is that Mitchell did get reps
against one of the premier defenses in the nation and that should
help next week against UNC. To beat the Heels he'll need to be light
years better than he was on Saturday, however.
All during camp we kept hearing about the job RB Shadrach Thornton
had been doing. That progression was sidetracked because of off the
field issues but he finally had a nice breakout game against the
Thornton finished with 23 carries for 173 yards and two touchdowns
including a tremendous 72 yard touchdown run where he hurdled an FSU
defender and outran the Nole's secondary for the score.
Perhaps unnoticed has been Thornton's ball security. As much as
anything that is what has limited his carries previously but he has
done a great job of protecting the ball and as a result, his carries
have increased. If Thornton can prove that Saturday's effort wasn't
a one-hit wonder then that would be a huge boost for an offense that
has been anemic through four conference games.
You can tell a lot about a coaching staff by how they and their team
respond to adversity. Sure, you can't ignore the fact that State
primarily played against Florida State's backups in the second half
Saturday. But we liked the way Dave Doeren handled his team, playing
the role of encourager instead of just sitting back and allowing the
game to play out. At the end of the third quarter you could hear
Doeren cheering on his team over the ref's microphone as he called
out a penalty.
State forced a couple of turnovers, executed an onsides kick, had
just two penalties and out scored the Seminoles 17-7 in the second
half. If you're the Pack, you have to find whatever positives you
can to build on.
Clearly the play of Shadrach Thornton is something State will try to
build on. His effort was the best by an NC State running back in
seven years. This has to be a huge boost for a team that has had
trouble generating rushing yardage, especially out of the running
We doubt a single player would have made a difference on Saturday
but one glaring hole facing the Pack is that they don't appear to
have any leaders on defense.
During previous years when the Pack has had a decent defense there
were guys, usually linebackers, that the defense could rally around
and look to when the team needed a big play. When you look at the
2013 unit there's not a Stephen Tulloch, Dantonio Burnette or Nate
Irving to be found.
Leadership can't be manufactured. It has to come from within the
team but up until this point in the season it seems to be missing.
Tip of the Hat
I think you have to tip the hat to Florida State head coach Jimbo
Fisher for showing some class Saturday. A lot of folks took issue
with the fake punt but clearly he was just trying to wake his
offense up. There are plenty of coaches around the nation that
would've hung a hundred on NC State if they could to impress the
NC State is coming off their worst loss of the year. UNC is coming
off their biggest win of the year. Heel's TE Eric Ebron has already
fired a shot across the bow of the Pack. The question is, is State
good enough to do anything about it?
The Pack's offense has sputtered and hiccuped through an 0-4
conference record. It's unlikely that any effort they've shown to
date will be good enough to win a game the remainder of the year.
State's defense, minus the Florida State game has been okay, not
great by any stretch but good enough to give the Pack an opportunity
to win. Unfortunately the offense has put the defense in a position
to have to win games and they're just not that talented.
The bottom line is, 0-4 can easily turn into 0-8 if the Pack doesn't
find answers soon. UNC is a winnable game but only if State can
build on Saturday's run game and put together a more consistent
passing attack. The Heel's offense will put a ton of pressure on the
Wolfpack defense and if State want's to avoid an o-fer in conference
play they'll need to play better than they have at any time in
Observations From the Game: FSU
Pack Pride Top Stories
Doeren: "They're Tough"RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Dave Doeren met with the media to discuss the upcoming game against Boston College.
Pack Pride12:46 PM
Scelfo: "We Have To Move Forward"RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State senior center Joe Scelfo discusses the upcoming game against Boston College.
Pack Pride12:38 PM
PP DIGITAL: Louisville RecapPack Pride discusses the loss at No. 7 Louisville on the latest podcast!
Pack Pride10:51 AM
Moore: "It Should Be A Physical Game"RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State junior linebacker Airius Moore discusses the upcoming game against Boston College.
Pack Pride10:51 AM
DEPTH CHART: NC State vs. Boston CollegeNC State has released an updated depth chart for Saturday's game against Boston College.
Pack Pride8:37 AM