I'm still sorting through just what exactly it is that should be taken away from Friday night's regrettable performance in the Georgia Dome. Except for those 90 seconds where the world exploded and all the good guys were killed, it really wasn't that bad. I'm searching for a word here that doesn't exist. You know, what's the thing where it's an implosion and an explosion at the same time? I know it's real because I watched it happen before my eyes. Spackackapowza! Bamslurboop!
At least I had a fine view of the sadness, and the beer was cold. Didn't have any yokels rocky toppin' all up in my area, either, which is always a good thing.
So Mike Glennon stunk, there was little-to-no pressure on Tyler Bray all night, Bryan Underwood and Tobais Palmer had no impact, and the secondary had some crucial breakdowns. I expected there to be some fundamental breakdowns what with this being the first game--the question was in the degree. And we did not make small fundamental errors where we could just wipe the ol' brow, go "lol j/k," and move on to the next play. While the defense was groin-clubbin' NC State's win probability during that unfortunate sequence, Glennon compounded matters with a fumble that led to a safety. That to me was the most surprising play of the entire quarter. He had all sorts of time to get rid of that ball and he goes and acts like it's his first career start.
The game ended with the conclusion of the first quarter, which is clear enough in hindsight. I never really got the sense that State could come back on Tennessee, even when the Pack forced that turnover at the goal line. Tennessee was just the better football team, and with Glennon's judgment suddenly in question, the odds felt steeper than the halftime deficit implied.
Despite all of the issues that led to State's 18-point fourth quarter deficit, the Wolfpack had the opportunity to put some pressure on the Vols in the late stages. The offense refused to cooperate and as the minutes kept bleeding away, some small part of me was still going, "well, there's nine minutes left and if we get a TD here..." and "well there's five minutes left and if we get a TD here..." and so on. Madness. Not that this is anything new.
Now the team has to regroup for what will be a crucial game against UConn and whichever human being the Huskies have impersonating a quarterback these days. We're gonna have to get out of September at 3-1 for some semblance of long-run optimism to return.