NC State had no business beating North Carolina by 28 points. The Wolfpack are no better than the Duke team Carolina beat ten days earlier. But UNC’s lack of fight, toughness, and discipline in this game were simply inexplicable.
The Wolfpack players had woofed a bit in the week leading up to the game about Carolina’s lack of toughness and how the Heels and their quarterback, Marquise Williams, would fold after a few hard hits. I thought their statements about Williams being soft were wrong, but this Carolina team as a whole is indeed soft. And there’s no doubt NC State came into this game as the aggressor, determined to play on the edge and hit UNC from start to finish and willing to take a few personal fouls to do it.
And sure enough, Carolina wanted nothing to do with that kind of physical play. I just don’t understand it. Duke was a physical team as well, and UNC took the initiative in that game. But the team that played on Saturday looked nothing like the one that played against the Blue Devils.
I normally spend the bulk of these columns breaking down the Xs and Os, but this outcome was not about scheme, it was about toughness. It was about poor angles, poor preparation, and most of all poor effort.
NCSU’s Unbalanced Formations
One play is worth a look, however, as it illustrates the poor preparation Carolina showed throughout the game. (In fairness, the defense deserves credit for the fight it showed in goal line situations most of the game; it’s just too bad they didn’t show that same fight the rest of the game.)
On this play, NC State went unbalanced to the left, putting six players on the left side of the center and two on the right. UNC inexplicably responded by putting five defenders on the right side (defensive left) and two more within two yards of the center.
This gave the NC State line a numbers edge at the point of attack, leading to an obvious conclusion: a 58-yard run down the sideline.
This was just one inexplicable play on an afternoon with many of them. There’s not much more to say than that.