Clemson 14, NC State 13

Box Score


Plays
Total Yds
Yds/Play
Yds/Carry*
Yds/PassAtt
NCSU
65
275
4.2
3.4
5.9
Clem
71
260
3.7
1.9
7.1

(Yds/carry stats are sack adjusted.)

I don't know about years, but Caulton Tudor is right that TOB's decision to punt the football in a 4th-and-1 situation from Clemson's 41 late in the fourth quarter will be second-guessed for a while.

"I punted on fourth and 1 because I didn’t think we would punt the ball four yards," O’Brien said after the game. "You punt the ball inside the 10-yard line like we were supposed to and you use your timeouts like we did, then you get the ball back with three minutes. That’s plenty of time to go win a football game.

"The other thing is, we didn’t make it on third and [2]. I didn’t have a lot of faith we would make it on fourth and 1."

#1: The outcome is irrelevant.  It doesn't make a call right or wrong, because a call is only justifiable/lamentable based on the information on hand at the time it is made.  And since TOB does not have a time machine, he could not know how the punt would pan out. The horrible punt does not, by itself, make the decision a bad one.

What does make the decision a bad one is virtually every study ever done ever on fourth down decision making.

#2: one play is not representative or predictive in any sense.  The 3rd-and-2 play should be a non-factor in the decision.  Likely this was just TOB grasping at further justification so I'm not going to press this point.

Whatever.  It's done.  It bothered me but I was so resigned to our fate at that point that I mostly shrugged it off.  Yeah, that's not true at all, but the hours since then have helped.  There were so many anger-inducing moments during today's game that it's tough to focus it all on one or even, say, five of them.  I've probably already forgotten half of them because of the sheer number.

The Pack had it all in their hands today and they choked on the opportunity.  You almost have to admire the pervasiveness of the choke, as it spread from all three phases into the mind of the head coach and the hands of the wide receivers.  Looks like the MAXIMUM AGONY TEARS arrived ahead of schedule.

But. Both Florida State and Maryland lost today, so we remain even with them in the loss column and still--still!--control our own destiny.  Or we have a few more wedges on the Atlantic Division roulette wheel.  Whatever the case may be, our odds are a lot better than I thought they'd be after a loss today.  I'm feeling quite a bit better, is what I'm saying.  There's some lingering nausea, but I can live with where we are.  The best way to look at it: we've crossed off one more (tough) game and remain in control.  I'm just tryin' to be positive here, people.

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