A more detailed wrap-up is forthcoming. I couldn’t be in the stadium tonight, so I will leave the heavy analysis for a blogger who was there. Since we are mad at the N&O, and merely annoyed with ESPN, we will link their recap.
That said, it doesn’t take being in the stadium to be concerned about 44 yards passing against a 1-AA opponent. That’s not going to cut it, as even stellar backs like Brown and Baker won’t find holes if teams can put 9 men in the box (especially when said teams are better than the Mountaineers). On the plus side, it sounds like our defense was great.
The best insight I can give from the radio broadcast – how embarrassing it was for our crew to crow about it being “the first time in the history of Carter-Finley Stadium that NC State defeated a #1 ranked team.” That would be a pretty good line if accompanied by a chuckle. But it was delivered with gusto and earnestness. Talk about your Kool Aid drinking.
It certainly could be worse – we could have been shut out by a weak 1-AA foe like Richmond. And I would be remiss not to mention UNC’s moment of poetic justice – having a TD taken off the board after the refs looked at the replay, then fumbling on the 4th down try. God is good, and He definitely has a sense of humor…
Bytes – Monday @ 11am
The analysis of what we saw Saturday night is about as straight forward and vanilla as what actually unfolded on the field on Saturday night. There just isn’t that much to it since State (appropriately) chose to reveal about 1% of the playbook vs the Mountaineers.
(After I wrote this section I jumped over to Section Six and saw the exact same adjective of “vanilla” used as the headline. GREAT MINDS THINK A LIKE!!! My comments in this section dovetail nicely with the comments at Section Six)
The following are some quick game-related bytes from Saturday night (we’ll have more anaylsis from the weekend’s events as the week progresses):
* Saturday Summary – Tom Suiter logged some quick comments his thoughts on the weekend over on WRAL’s Blog that succinctly sums the whole thing up:
State has good players and good depth, and I think they’ll be a good football team. As the season gets tougher, though, they will need to have Stone do more than just hand off the ball. Defensively, you couldn’t ask for more, limiting Appalachian State to just 133 yards in total offense. Mario, Manny, McCargo and the rest of those guys from last year couldn’t have done better. I would expect the Pack to make it 2-0 next week hosting Akron.
* Marcus Stone – In his customary fantastic syle, Caulton Tudor truly nailed the whole Quarterback-Marcus Stone issue in his column on Sunday. Make no mistake how important Stone is to the Pack’s success this season.
No one in the Wolfpack camp was about to complain about a relatively painless season-opening victory, nor should they. But the predicted improvement in Stone’s game just didn’t surface against the quick Mountaineer defense.
There’s no way to knock Stone’s winning percentage and it’s entirely possible the Wolfpack can win again next week against Akron — and perhaps even at Southern Mississippi on Sept. 16 without getting big numbers from Stone.
But eventually the ACC schedule is going to hit — starting with Boston College on Sept. 23 in Carter-Finley — and eventually the Pack is going need a more aggressive, potent passing attack.
* The Season – After watching this game, I think that main question for the entire season is simple – CAN Marcus Stone execute a more potent passing attack? I think that NC State can go 6-6 this season playing the style of football that produced last year’s 5-1 finish and Saturday night’s win over ASU. But, NC State can go 8-4 or better if Stone improved more in the offseason than he showed on Saturday night and can complete just 55% of his passes.
* Offense / Play calling – I can understand both sides of the arguments about the offense & play calling that are inlcuded in the comments section of this entry. For now, I am going to choose to believe that State didn’t want to take any risks against a team that we knew that we could beat by running the ball, controlling field position, and forcing to drive the field when they never proved that they could. The goal of playing the game is to WIN. The goal of playing the season is WIN AS MANY AS YOU CAN. Why do anything more than we have to do to win?
* Toney Baker – TB22 fumbled on Saturday night, a problem that continues to plague him and ultimately relegates him behind Andre Brown on the depth chart.
* Passing – The think that bothers me most about Stone/QB is his unwillingness (inability?) to even attempt a pass DOWN THE FIELD. Almost every pass attempt (and definitely every pass completion) are nothing more than little dumps and outs. To join the the critical bandwagon for a moment – if a junior quarterback in the ACC does not have the ability to complete a forward pass that travels more than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage then something is definitely wrong. The Wolfpacker stated the following in their Monday Morning Quarterback:
There were times Pack receivers were open and they did not get the ball. Junior John Dunlap was seen open downfield twice.
* Passing, II – Similarly, I picked this up from the comments section:
Something Terry Harvey said on the postgame show that rang true. This offense needs to prove that they can complete a forward pass when in an obvious passing situation. They haven’t been able to do that since PR left. At some point there will be games where a State QB will have to WIN the game for us and right now that won’t happen.
* What Penalties? – 3 penalties for 20 yards. AWESOME!! Turnovers continue to be another story for the program; but, after the improvement in penalties at the end of last year this issue should be put to rest. GREAT JOB!!
* Offensive Line – other than the play of Marcus Stone, the offensive line was the next most worrisome performance from Saturday night. Coach Amato said after the game that he was pleased with their play, so I will defer. But, the OLine appears to be much better at run blocking than at pass protecting. Marcus is going to need everything that he can get from them.
* John Deraney - no comments about NC State football in 2005 or 2006 would be compete without highlighting John Deraney’s play.
* Defense – Heading into the season I wasn’t nearly as worried about the defensive line as the rest of the world seemed to be and it looks like I got that one right. On the whole, the defense played great. The linebackers missed some assignments and have a lot of room to improve but they are sandwiched by a lot of talent in front and behind them.