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Excuse me while I go shoot myself.

Actually, after having looked at the box score, I feel a little better. A little.

First, the team numbers:

-- Total offense: NC State 438 yds, Virginia Tech 232 yards. Wow. The Wolfpack only surpassed 438 total yards three times in 2004, and two of those occasions were against some bad defenses (Wake, UNC). Against VPI in 2004, we had 223 total yards (but won...). This Tech defense is probably one of the best we'll see all year, so the numbers are encouraging.

-- NC State had 12 penalties for 105 yards. Oh, and three turnovers. Virginia Tech committed half as many penalties and didn't turn the ball over once. They didn't so much as fumble. Credit to the Hokies for their ball security.

Penalties were probably the difference in the game. In the third quarter, State had VPI pinned inside their ten yard line, but committed a penalty on third down that gave Tech a fresh set of downs (the third down play was an incomplete pass, too). Tech would, naturally, score on that drive. And then of course the running into the kicker penalty on Marcus Hudson with about 2:15 left, which cost us ninety crucial seconds. From where I was sitting, I couldn't tell if the call was legitimate or not.

How many personal fouls? Five? It's so terribly frustrating.

-- Running game: Wolfpack had 29 carries, 127 yards (4.4 ypc). Actually better than I thought, although I think the rushing stats look better thanks to a few 20+ yard carries (like the 44 yard fake punt). In general I didn't get the sense that we were effective on the ground.

-- Special teams: very solid opener. No holding/block in the back calls (!) during returns, kickoff coverage (when it was needed) was good, Deraney made all three of his field goals. Deraney's kicks were chip shots, yes, but he was inconsistent with those last year, especially from the right hash. He made two kicks from that hash tonight...very encouraging. Virginia Tech's punter: wow.

On to the individuals:

Jay Davis, QB: 27-43 (63%), 311 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT
Well, he's nothing special, but I thought he looked a good bit better. He made some poor throws (his first INT being a good example) and forced it a few times, but he did not lose this game for us. Marc Trestman's offense suits him well. Davis was 4-10 for 64 yards against VPI in 2004.

Tramain Hall, WR: 8 receptions, 97 yards
Words cannot express how excited I am by the touches the offense got T-Hall tonight. Hall had just 28 catches last year (2.5 per game), which was in no way acceptable. He deserves plenty of looks, and I think he's going to get them this season.

TJ Williams, TE: 6 receptions, 62 yards
I love the way Trestman utilized Williams tonight. Hopefully we'll see this on a weekly basis.

Darrell Blackman, RB: 12 carries, 58 yards, 1 TD; 4 rec., 40 yards
His fumble was huge, but I can't really fault him--that was a big hit. Not an overly impressive night (catching a punt on the one yard line?), though his touchdown run on the Wolfpack's first drive was beautificent. TA McLendon never possessed the speed necessary to make those kinds of runs.

Marcus Vick, QB: 10-21, 108 yards, 1 TD; 13 carries, 31 yards
I was right--Vick didn't kill us through the air. He did just enough, though. I have to admit I was impressed--he showed some nice touch on his deep balls and didn't try to force anything. He made some huge plays with his legs in the second half, unfortunately.


Onward! Upward?
There are two sides to this game for me: the turnovers/penalties side (not good), and the offense/total yards side (totally good). I think the offense will improve as the guys get more comfortable with Trestman's system, and they're off to a good start.

While I wasn't quite the hardcore Noel Mazzone hater that many were last year, it's obvious after just a single game how superior Trestman's scheme is to Mazzone's. It is not close. And the play calling...night and day. I feel kinda bad for Ole Miss now. Orgeron may end up killing Mazzone before the season ends; who knows.

We must, must, must cut down on the mistakes. Stop making the stupid mental errors at key moments. The Wolfpack made a lot of mistakes tonight and didn't force any turnovers; those trends were the story of 2004, and I wonder how successful we can be if they continue. It's hard to win with a -3 turnover margin.

As for Virginia Tech... I dunno. Not sold on them as the best team in the conference. I still like Miami in that division, though I'll know more after tomorrow night. Hokie fans talked up a storm about their skill position talent, but none of those guys stood out tonight. Tech didn't get much from its receivers. Vick ain't the second coming, but he'll have a good year.