Extra Point: Rough weekend for Triangle teams
Posted September 10, 2012
Extra Point is a sometimes serious, always sarcastic Monday morning recap of what you missed from ACC football action over the weekend.
Offensive line woes continue for Wolfpack
A win is a win is a win, as Joe Ovies pointed out in his Talking Points column, but good grief, NC State's 10-7 escape job at UConn Saturday afternoon was ugly. NC State's offense, a week removed from its stop-and-start 21-point output against Tennesee, was uninspired and unimaginative, barely totaling 10 points against the Huskies.
A quick peek at the box score makes the result look even worse than it did on television. The Wolfpack tallied just 12 first downs and averaged a putrid 1.3 yards per rush on 41 attempts. While that average was heavily impacted by Mike Glennon's -23 yards (the result of six UConn sacks), even Mustafa Greene, NC State's starter, could only muster 2.8 yards per rush and a long run of nine yards.
Although we're only two weeks into a long season, it's time to put NC State's offensive line on the hot seat. The unit was hurt Saturday by Rob Crisp's absence, but the loss of one player is no excuse for being awful. At some point, Tom O'Brien's "history" with offensive line play has to actually become reality in Raleigh. Otherwise, a 6-year-old talking point needs to be adjusted, or even scrapped.
Luckily for NC State, the Wolfpack defense did come to play against the Huskies. Interceptions by Earl Wolff, David Amerson and Brandan Bishop proved to be the difference. Two consecutive home games against South Alabama and Citadel should help the Wolfpack gain some confidence and offensive rhythm. But a second straight head scratcher by Mike Glennon Co. certainly warrants some concern moving toward ACC play.
Tar Heels let win slip away against Wake
After not missing any opportunities in Week 1 against Elon, North Carolina left some points on the field Saturday in Winston-Salem, allowing Wake Forest to manufacture a late drive and steal a 28-27 victory. Even though the Tar Heels were without their top offensive weapon in running back Gio Bernard, many might look at the result and shrug. In reality the game was one North Carolina should have won.
The Tar Heels got plenty of production from backup running backs A.J. Blue and Romar Morris, who combined for 176 yards and two touchdowns. Bryn Renner played well enough to win the game despite some questionable throws.
The difference was Wake's ability to force Carolina into third and fourth-quarter field goals. It allowed the Demon Deacons to stay close and gave experienced quarterback Tanner Price a chance to win the game on a 93-yard march late in the fourth.
Moving forward, the Tar Heels must find a consistent pass rush. Tanner Price was sacked just once Saturday, and on many of his 27 completions -- 13 of those that went to wide receiver Michael Campanero -- he stood in the pocket comfortably for several seconds. If the Tar Heels don't find a way to get in the backfield this coming week, the story could be very similar against Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville.
Blue Devils pounded by suddenly-improved Stanford
Although nobody -- well, nobody I know -- thought Duke's impressive victory over FIU in Week 1 would catapult the Blue Devils to a 7 or 8 win season, most assumed the positive vibes would hang around until at least the beginning of conference play.
Thirty-seven point losses that look and feel even worse will change things in a hurry.
Duke looked a tad Ted Roof-like late Saturday against Stanford. The offense couldn't convert on third down, finishing 5 of 20 for the day, and Sean Renfree looked downright bad at times while throwing for just 200 yards on 28 completions. The defense, which spent way too much time on the field, gave up three second-half touchdowns through the air on tired legs. The Blue Devils struggled on special teams too, giving up a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown a minute into the game.
All the ugly Duke tendencies were there, and they culminated in a 50-13 beating at the hands of the Cardinal, who rebounded nicely after their opening-weekend struggles against San Jose State.
Duke wide receiver Jamison Crowder summed it up well: "Our team didn't show up."
David Cutcliffe agreed, even going so far as to suggest that his team might have gotten complacent after beating FIU. Call me crazy, but complacency and Duke football shouldn't be used in the same sentence.
Severe thunderstorms are all in for Savannah State
In the buildup to Week 2 action, the Savannah State Tigers were everyone's favorite talking point -- used as an opportunity to bring up college football economics, record-setting point spreads and even player safety.
In the end, the game went just about how most thought it would. The Seminoles put up 35 points in the first quarter and 48 in the first half and were only slowed by two long thunderstorm delays. Officials and coaches mercifully agreed to call the game with 8:59 left in the third quarter and FSU up 55-0.
In reality, the result turned out perfectly for both sides. Savannah State got its fat paycheck and only played a little over a half and Florida State didn't become a bully for scoring 80+ points.
Say What? Quotes of the weekend
Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe on beating North Carolina: "This is as good as it gets."
Did they present the ACC Championship trophy in the locker room instead of on the field? Must have missed it.
Wake Forest running back Josh Harris tweets about UNC's post-game etiquette: "Oh and Carolina ain't wanna shake hands after the game. Haha. They jus ran to the locker room."
Hard to know what to make of this, since everything on Twitter should be taken with two or three grains of salt, but one positive -- at least from Larry Fedora's perspective -- has to be that Carolina's players ran to the locker room.
Georgia fans from their terrible seats in Missouri's Memorial Stadium: "Old Man Football! Old Man Football!"
Full disclosure, the chance at that chant was the only reason I stayed up to watch Georgia-Missouri Saturday night. Essentially, it's a "that's what you get" sort of moment for nSEC newbie Missouri, who repeatedly crapped its pants (diaper) during a 41-20 home loss to the Bulldogs.