Pack shows improvement in loss
Posted September 20, 2013
Not quite two weeks ago, I stood on the sidelines at the NC State-Richmond game and ran the same thought though my mind over and over again: Clemson is going to destroy State.
Judging from the conversations I had in the following days, I wasn't alone in that opinion – which is why the Pack's performance against the Tigers Thursday night looks all the more impressive.
Admittedly, no one ever wants to hear about moral victories for their teams – let's face it, moral victories are always losses – but NC State impressed me (and a lot of other people) with its performance against Clemson.
On the defensive side, State found a way to get to Tajh Boyd – the two sacks and four hurries listed in the box score don't really tell the tale – and disrupted his rhythm early.
That's a far cry from what I saw from the same group against Richmond. And who thought the Pack would record more tackles for loss than Clemson? I didn't, but the numbers don't lie. State held their own against a team that came in averaging 45 points per game.
Offensively, State found ways to put the ball in the hands of players who can make plays. Bryan Underwood and Rashard Smith have the ability to make defensive players miss them.
And while it may seem like a simple idea to run plays for "playmakers," sometimes play calling doesn't facilitate that. Matt Canada and Dave Doeren found ways to involve these players, and Underwood nearly broke two runs for touchdowns - one can argue he did break one for a score, but an early whistle negated it.
NC State lost, and by double digits at that. But the Wolfpack impressed with their play on Thursday night. And that's very encouraging indeed.