The good, the bad and the ugly from NC State's upset win over Fla. State
Posted October 7, 2012
North Carolina State University pulled off what felt like improbable comeback Saturday night to beat the third-ranked Florida State Seminoles 17-16. It was truly a tale of two halves.
The first half showed why Florida State was ranked third in the nation. They were a big, fast, strong team and easily pushed NC State around. The Seminoles had chances to deliver knockdown blows to the Wolfpack, but could only manage to land a few jabs, taking a 16-0 lead into the half. The NC State defense would bend, but not break, giving up big plays in the run game to the Noles, but then getting to quarterback EJ Manuel to force field goals. While the lead at the half was only two scores, (hey, you can go for two twice!) it felt insurmountable.
The second half was a complete reverse of the first. It was the Pack taking it to FSU. The offense found some rhythm going to the no-huddle and took control of the pace of the game. Offensive coordinator Dana Bible had his group attack the middle of the FSU defense by using shallow crossing routes to get the receivers some space. The Seminoles could not sustain pressure on Glennon. As the game wore on, you just had the feeling the Pack were going to find a way. After Mike Rose blocked a punt to set a short field for the Wolfpack with 2:27 left, the offense only had 43 yards to drive to win the game.
The bulk of the credit has to go to the Pack defense, the unit did a brilliant job of keeping the team in it. On the final drive, NC State converted on three fourth-down plays including the game winning touchdown pass to Bryan Underwood with 16 seconds left. Mike Glennon would throw the ball 55 times and would only be sacked once by the vaunted Florida State defense. The win improves NC State's record to 4-2 on the season and blows the Atlantic division race wide open.
So let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly.
NC State’s defense: Yes, the unit gave up a lot of yards in the first half (221) and 115 yards on the ground to Chris Thompson, but when they needed to step up they did, forcing FSU to settle for three field goals.
The Pack defense also made FSU QB EJ Manuel uncomfortable by using an assortment of blitzes on passing downs to get to the Noles signal caller. The second half effort by the defense was nothing short of inspiring, allowing just 122 yards and shutting out the Seminole offense. NC State’s defense sacked Manuel four times, picked him off once and paved the way for the upset.
Mike Glennon and the offense in the second half: The Wolfpack QB attempted 42 passes in the second half, completing 24 with two touchdowns including the game winner to Underwood on fourth and goal. The team went to the no-huddle, a scheme they felt wore down the Noles front line giving the offense an advantage.
Underwood is going streaking: Sophomore wide out Bryan Underwood's game-winning TD catch gives him a score in six consecutive games, that sets the Wolfpack's all-time mark. He didn't realize he set the record until his teammates reminded him after the game. Underwood also took a good shot from FSU safety Terrence Brooks after the catch, the hit drew a penalty for unsportmanlike conduct foul on the Seminoles. He is streaking and didn't need bring his green hat.
Special teams: NC State didn’t give up a huge special teams play and, when they had to have one, Mike Rose came up with a punt block that set the Pack up for the winning drive.
The Carter: It was an electric atmosphere to start that was quieted down by the first half. In the second half, when the team needed a spark, the Wolfpack faithful got loud.
NC State’s first-half offense: No need to get flowery on this, NC State ran 29 plays for 68 yards with an interception.
EJ Manuel and the FSU offensive game plan: After NC State’s defense was torched for 566 passing yards last week, the FSU QB missed open receivers, gave up chances to run the ball and didn’t attempt to stretch the Pack D.
If a team coming off the game it had the week before against Miami is able to find a way to beat the No. 3 team in the nation, it doesn’t matter how the result happened. In fact there is nothing ugly about it.
So the ACC won’t have a national championship contender again this year with NC State’s toppling of Florida State. I don’t think that is something Wolfpack fans are going to be too upset about.