Outscored 41-13 at home

If you can stand it, then you can use this entry to discuss the aftermath of being outscored 41-13 by Virginia Tech after taking a 17-0 lead.

Oddly enough, my biggest frustration while sitting in the stands was not the conventional wisdom that our defense was collapsing. My unverified (at the time) frustration was the collapsing offense. It felt like almost EVERY first down play call was a predictable run that ultimately yielded a 2nd down and 10 yards to go.

I say ‘unverified (at the time)’ because the good folks at Riddick & Reynolds were noticing the exact same thing and blogged the following:

State routinely struggled to generate significant yardage on first down in the second half, due in large part to VT nullifying State’s running game. As a result, State was often behind schedule in down and distance, limiting State’s flexibility on second and third downs. Here are the yards gained on the first down plays of the third and fourth quarter:

* 1-yard rush
* 3-yard rush
* 34-yard TD pass
* 18-yard rush
* 0-yard rush
* 9-yard pass
* 0-yard pass
* 0-yard pass
* 1-yard rush
* 9-yard rush
* 1-yard rush
* -1-yard rush
* 23-yard pass
*0-yard rush
*1-yard rush
* interception
* 17-yard pass to end the game

As you can see, it’s a moderate amount of feast and a lot of famine. Other than a few big gainers and the 34-yard touchdown strike, State had nine plays that gained one yard or less and the crippling interception at the end.

Give credit to the Hokies and particularly Bud Foster for making effective defensive adjustments after it looked like State might put the game away early. State managed only three points in the critical 4th quarter while the Hokies were scoring 20 to take the game over for good.

More observations from the N&O available here.

* N.C. State linebacker Nate Irving was a bit tentative early in the season after missing all of last season because of injuries suffered in a car crash.

Now he’s starting to round into 2008 form after making zero tackles in the opener against Western Carolina. Irving made tackles for losses on consecutive plays in the first quarter where he made good reads and annihilated the Virginia Tech players who were carrying the ball.

On the heels of a 16-tackle performance at Georgia Tech, Irving’s 13-tackle effort against the Hokies should put him back in the conversation for a decent spot in the NFL draft.

* Punter Andy Leffler, making just his second start, had a strong performance against a Virginia Tech team known for frustrating opponents with its special teams play.

Leffler averaged 43 yards on four punts with a long of 56 yards, despite getting knocked over on a running-into-the-punter penalty early in the game. He downed two punts inside the 20-yard line.

* Freshman David Amerson made his first start of the season at boundary cornerback in place of Justin Byers.

He said last season at Greensboro’s Dudley High, he didn’t face anybody comparable to speedy Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

“He’s a tremendous athlete,” Amerson said. “That’s God-given. You can’t teach that.”

Please feel free to share other articles about the game in the comments section of this entry so we can have a centralized place for readers to research and sulk. Our message boards can be accessed by clicking here. They’ll be slow today but should be robust again on Monday.

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40 Responses to Outscored 41-13 at home

  1. TheAliasTroll 10/03/2010 at 9:35 AM #

    No. We were outscored 41-30 at home. By that logic we’d be 0-1 too. Yeah the loss and how we lost was certainly disappointing, but don’t take away the outstanding 1st quarter we played. We weren’t going to go undefeated, and not many teams do.

  2. NCSUPackfan 10/03/2010 at 9:39 AM #

    Everyone posted.. Limit mistakes..we didn’t period. If this team has character, which most agree we do they will get back to work. We shall see how they respond. I know people yesterday said it was the same ole defense as last year. We are better, just did not contain Taylor enough. Third downs just hurt us, and earlier in the season we were making stops on 3rd down.

  3. Khan 10/03/2010 at 10:06 AM #

    Like so many times past, this was a key game for us, and outside of the first quarter (and maybe part of the second), we laid an egg. One of these days, we will win a game of this magnitude and really show that we have turned the corner as a program, but that obviously didn’t happen this time.

    We were outcoached and outplayed beyond the first quarter. We didn’t appear to make any adjustments. Once the things that worked for us in Q1 stopped working, we didn’t seem to do anything differently on offense, and the predictable result was, they continued to get pressure on Russell and force him to make hurried decisions, which resulted in some mistakes. We’ve either got to protect much better (which may take an upgrade in talent) or be more creative with our play-calling (which may take an upgrade in coaching) in order to keep opposing defenses off balance.

    Our D did a good job getting pressure in the first half, but once they figured out that Taylor could run for big gains, they exploited that. Secondary still looks rough and if we don’t learn to tackle better, there will be quite a few more Ls on our record by the end of the season.

    I don’t know whether or not it is really the case, but VT looked faster, stronger, and smarter for most of the game. VT doesn’t make mistakes. They wait for other teams to make them. And other teams usually comply nicely.

    We’re a better team than last year. There’s no doubt about it. Last year by this time, we would be 2-3 at best, most likely. We still have plenty of weaknesses, but there are some strengths too. But to those that say, “nobody can stop this offense”, I hope this serves as a reminder that a good coaching staff that has a good group of athletes at its disposal can do a lot more things to stop our offense than we realize.

  4. baxter 10/03/2010 at 10:13 AM #

    People need to remember, VT, though it suffered one embarassing loss, is an extremely high caliber team. They have a great coaching staff with almost no turnover, and they have access to an incredible pool of talent in the Virginia recruiting areas. We hung around with a more talented team for a pretty long time, considering we still have weak spots on our defense, and a young OL. We showed flashes that we are ready to beat these teams, but I still take heart in the way we played most of the game.

    My disappointment comes from our 2nd half schemes and the lack of adjustments. Hopefully the coaches learn just as much from this loss as the players do.

  5. wolfpack_83 10/03/2010 at 10:22 AM #

    We lost to a very good team that simply adjusted better to what was provided to them. Period. Virginia Tech does that well, and 20+ years of success under Beamer proves it. Don’t get too disheartened by this loss, no matter how painful it was to watch. Go back to work, learn from it, and come out better next week. I’m proud of our boys, and it was great to see a regional, prime-time game in Carter-Finley. We’ll be back, don’t worry. Go Pack!

  6. ryebread 10/03/2010 at 10:26 AM #

    After getting up 17-0, the whole thing kind of fell apart.
    – Offense: We seemingly ditched the shotgun and either ran or tried play action passes out of a one back set. Most every pass attempt was on a vertical route. I felt like we were watching the Raiders, with similar results.
    – Defense: I think we were gassed. The defense was out there a long time from the second quarter on.
    – Special teams: Not having confidence in our FG kicker really hurt us. The punting was pretty good, though that @#($)*@#$#@$()*@# swinging door formation has got to go. The kick off return defense was bad and we didn’t generate anything in our return game. I feel like this is a game that special teams lost for us.
    – Crowd: I hate the @#$()*@#$ pass outs. The place was empty and quiet in the 3rd quarter when the team really could have used support. I’ll bet 1/2 the fans didn’t even see the KO return for a TD.
    – Coaching: We were out X’d and O’d. I’m not sure we made any halftime adjustments.
    – RW: I love the kid, but yesterday was a rough, rough outing with some WTF kind of throws.
    – Receivers: We dropped too many balls.

    The season isn’t lost and 4-1 is still much better than I’d thought we’d be at this point (realistically felt we’d be 2-3 before the season started). We need to roll our our sleeves, get to work and beat BC at home next weekend. This is a very, very winnable game against a team coming off two straight ugly losses. Win that game and we’re still in the ACC championship hunt controlling our own destiny.

  7. BassPacker 10/03/2010 at 10:45 AM #

    ^ so we are partially now blaming the loss on halftime game pass outs? Seriously? I don’t think you can blame the lack of intesity coming out of halftime on the crowd. Turning the ball over late in 2nd quarter in red zone while VT scores, then to have VT run back the 2nd half kick off to score again in less than a minute combined moved the momentum more than any empty seat.

  8. old13 10/03/2010 at 10:48 AM #

    Looking at the two-deep, we lose six starters plus probably RW, and five backups this year OVERALL. The starting OL is one senior and four sophmores with the only senior backed up by Crisp. (DL will lose the most but there are capable youngsters there to fill in.) Considering how they have played OVERALL FOR THE SEASON to this point, including yesterday, I think the future looks bright, especially with Glennon waiting in the wings.

    As for yesterday, the game was lost mostly by missed tackles (and apparently many assignments) and RW not having a very sharp game. I also felt that halftime adjustments were lacking, especially on O. The D got worn out from chasing Tyrod all over. It happens! Sure I’m disappointed. But after sleeping on it, I came to realize that we still hung with a very strong team that put its best game of the season together yesterday. And we were in a position at the end to win it. Get the mistakes (player and coaching) ironed out and there are still seven winable games to go.

  9. Avid109 10/03/2010 at 10:52 AM #

    I think next week’s game against BC will tell us a great deal. Will the loss to VT be a bump in the road, or will the team come unglued? I didn’t expect this team to go undefeated. In fact, they are still better at this point than I thought they would be before the season started.

    If the team plays up to their potential, they ought to be able to beat BC. TOB has not, however, faired well against his former team.

  10. golf76 10/03/2010 at 10:52 AM #

    poor tackling,
    poor special teams,
    too many passes that should have been thrown in the stands.

    Other than that Mrs. Lincoln how was the second half of the play?

    Still have much hope for the future.

  11. baxter 10/03/2010 at 11:00 AM #

    Rye, I disagree on the lack of confidence in the kicker, those were potentially 50 yard field goals IIRC (if someone can verify / refute, let me know and I’ll change my tune), but I think JC’s range is more in the mid 40s.

    I do agree with the halftime KO return point. Crowd intensity is always a factor, and it could just be my dumb opinion, but an amped up crowd can always be a factor in pumping up the kicker. It was a weak kick IIRC, not good hang time, and the VT coverage just got set and blew up our boys.

    While I can’t say no more hand outs, what I suggest is perhaps the stadium crew come up with a warning / notification for the game starting back up. Perhaps a siren/warning 5 minutes till and counts down to the kickoff with an awesome buildup (think like Sandman at the VT kickoffs)? They could actually get really creative here, in fact, I’m going to start up a post on the forum for suggestions that I will send to DY about how to improve this (hopefully to implement by FSU).

  12. BamaPack 10/03/2010 at 11:48 AM #

    I would hazard to guess that VT got 2/3 of their total yards after initial contact.

    We make tackles in the 2nd half and we win.

  13. tuckerdorm1983 10/03/2010 at 12:18 PM #

    now that we are back to reality lets move forward. We can be 9-3 and maybe, just maybe, play on Dec 4th.

  14. LRM 10/03/2010 at 12:24 PM #

    “- Crowd: I hate the @#$()*@#$ pass outs. The place was empty and quiet in the 3rd quarter when the team really could have used support. I’ll bet 1/2 the fans didn’t even see the KO return for a TD.”

    I have a good view of the east side parking lots from my seats and not at all that many people went out at half, nowhere near like what happened vs. Cincy. However, most of the people that sit around me missed the first few minutes of the 3rd quarter because they were waiting first in the restroom lines and then in the vendor lines — not because of passes out. Sorry, but the crowd noise didn’t affect that kickoff return, and besides, we responded immediately on the ensuing drive.

    I’m upset, but I’m not in meltdown mode over this one. We’re going to find out A LOT about this team next week.

  15. wbnation 10/03/2010 at 12:28 PM #

    lets just hope history doesn’t rear its ugly head…since 2008 TOB teams are putrid in the month of October(actually O-fer in the month of October) and in 2007 they were horrible in the month of September. There are still glaring weaknesses on this team. The defensive line is terrible..we get nothing with a 3 and 4 man rush…we have to blitz to even keep us in the game…when we don’t blitz our defense looks exactly like it did last year…and unfortunately when you blitz and don’t get to the quarterback you give up big plays..our receivers still can’t catch..graham for a punt returner has hands of stone when receiving….but basically our deficiency is still on defense..while our offense didn’t help them out yesterday in the second half..we are still slow in the safety and outside linebacking positions..Audie Cole can blitz with the best of them..but put him in space or have him have to cover or chase and he is terrible….bishop would never see the field on most good quality teams..so that just tells me a lot about what we have behind him at safety…basically I think our coaching staff and with the addition of Tanuta have been doing a great job of scheming in order to hide this teams known deficiencies…but with more film, each team we play becomes a lot harder to hide these deficiencies lets just hope they can make some adjustments and turn around whats been a historically bad month for TOB at NC State.

    Sat, Oct 3 at Wake Forest L 24-30
    Sat, Oct 10 Duke L 28-49
    Sat, Oct 17 at Boston College L 20-52
    Sat, Oct 31 at Florida State L 42-45

    Sat, Oct 4 Boston College L 31-38
    Thu, Oct 16 Florida State L 17-26
    Sat, Oct 25 at Maryland L 24-27

  16. Wulfpack 10/03/2010 at 12:30 PM #

    We had a chance to make a major statement yesterday. We actually DID make that statement in the first quarter. Problem is, we didn’t play all four. VT is a good solid team, and they proved they are better than us. I’m disappointed with the loss, but I’m still optimistic about the season as a whole. Now we have to go out and limit those mistakes against the others left on the schedule. 8-4, IMHO, (and perhaps even better) is a real possibility, and that would be a HUGE step up from recent history.

  17. ChiefJoJo 10/03/2010 at 12:39 PM #

    My mental notes on why we lost:

    * We could not run the ball in the 2nd half, which led to many a 3rd and 9 or 10. Not sure what the adjustments VT made were, but Bud Foster clearly made some moves. Wonder if all those BC vs. VT Big East games gave Foster some clues about how to adjust to Bible’s play calling?
    * We could not stop the run on defense in the 2nd half. Yeah, some of their running stats were skewed due to the long runs, but it seemed they routinely got 4 or 5 yards on first down. When you have 2nd and medium to short, it opens up your offensive play calling options significantly. In the 2nd half, Tech turned our typical advantage (2nd & short) into theirs.
    * No pressure from the front four. We could not get any penetration with our DL, and so to get to Taylor, we had to blitz Manning or Irving. When you do that, Taylor can often break containment, and beat you with his legs or arm.
    * Poor tackling by our defense. Not much more to say, but we saw some of the ghosts of last year come out once again. Unless we correct this, it will continue to be a liability. Unfortunately, with some of the young players we have in important defensive roles (CJ Wilson, Amerson, Wolff, etc), I don’t know if we’ll be able to fix it before season’s end.

  18. Scooter 10/03/2010 at 1:01 PM #

    The yards-on-first-down statistic makes all the difference. It certainly did for GaTech last week against us.

    I’m disappointed by our loss, but if you had told me we’d be 4-1 at this point before the season started, I would have taken it. Other than the front line, this is still a young defense and they’ve got a long way to go. Though this was a tough game to lose, I’m proud of how our guys have played so far this season, espcially considering that VaTech is one of the more disciplined and physical teams on our schedule. The good news is that we go back to focusing on the next game. All the talk this week was about Wilson-Heisman or the Pack’s chances of going to Charlotte. This week, it will only be Boston College. That’s what this team needs.

  19. mak4dpak 10/03/2010 at 2:17 PM #

    Call me crazy, but I can see 10-2, or even 11-1, if we correct our mistakes, and the coaches learn how to make adjustments against formidable foes, like FSU, Clemson, and Russell has got to spread the passes around to more recievers, like the previous 4 games, didn’t happen against VT, and if teams want to put so much pressure on our QB, then let them, and burn them with screens. We blew the game yesterday, and maybe would have been better if we had trailed at the beginning. But it is over, and time to take care of BC, and take each game one week at a time, without looking ahead. I think our early lead kind of swelled our heads, and they forgot there are 4 quarters to a game. Good luck to the team, next week. Start a new winning streak.

  20. mikeD 10/03/2010 at 2:51 PM #

    One play that stand out in my mind and really bugs me was the Hokie’s kickoff return for a TD to start the second half. Not only were there many missed tackles, but Czajkowski didn’t get the right cutoff angle against the returner, and even cut one of our guys off in the process. His attitude was pretty terrible the whole day (as shown on tv). Sure, he made his kicks (not pretty, but they counted – an improvement), but had he forced a stop there, the momentum didn’t shift so quickly.

    On the flip side, had we gone for points instead of 4th and longs earlier in the game, we may not have had to score at the end of the game. We would have run the clock instead. It would have caused one (or two?) less interception.

  21. Broccoman 10/03/2010 at 3:03 PM #

    We’re still 4-1. I’ll take it. This isn’t the end of the world, the ACC is still open even if Clemson and FSU can be beaten. If not, an 8 win season would be very nice.

  22. Tau837 10/03/2010 at 3:05 PM #

    The play that mattered most IMO was Wilson’s first interception at the end of the first half. Had Wilson made a better throw, it would have been 24-7. Or worst case an incompletion, and a likely 20-7 lead. All the way down to the end, it would have changed everything. Even with just a field goal there, we would have trailed by just 1 point when we got the ball on our last possession… maybe Wilson makes a better decision on that throw in that situation…? Of course, I realize changing a play at the end of the first half would potentially change a lot of other decisions throughout the second half. But I haven’t seen many people commenting on that play and how big it was.

  23. Tau837 10/03/2010 at 3:08 PM #

    And I have a question. I get why we throw vertical routes so often, given our talent in Wilson and our WRs. But it seems like when it is 3rd and less than 10, we so often throw a 20+ yard pass. Why don’t we mix in more short routes and crossing routes? I only remember one slant, where Bryan apparently ran the wrong route and got in the way. And I only remember one crossing route, which IIRC went to Williams for a first down. Seems like a hole in our play calling IMO. Or is it that for some reason those routes were taken away by the defense?

  24. hamsixstring 10/03/2010 at 3:31 PM #

    My biggest issue isn’t with the offense/defense/coaching, etc

    My issue is with our fans. There are a lot of you on here who stay positive and look at a strong 4-1 start despite yesterday’s upsetting loss. I applaud you and thank you. The turnaround that our athletics program needs will come from support like yours.

    SFN: You evidently don’t come here very often. Criticizing large subsections of our fans is not something that we like very much. Focus on the topics, issues, games, analysis, etc. Not our fans. Thanks!

  25. hoop 10/03/2010 at 4:11 PM #

    But I haven’t seen many people commenting on that play and how big it was.

    I haven’t seen many people talk about it either, but I have simply because it was a 7 point difference going into the half. Huge difference. And a major f&*&-up on a simple pass to a wide open receiver.

    I also agree that writing that we were outscored 41-13 is terribly misleading and you can only come to that conclusion by ignoring the good stuff we did and concentrating on the negative. We were outscored 41-30. And of course it was a much closer game than that.

    Still it’s true that losing a 17 point lead to end up losing by 11 points is an epic meltdown.

    We not only could have won this game. We SHOULD have won this game.

    That and the ramifications of this loss are why people are so upset.

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