I'm running out of ways to describe the same thing every week. There was no reason to expect significant improvement defensively--not against the best offense we'll see all season--but I thought perhaps we might come out of the bye with a few screws tightened. Nope. And after a slow start, this game was just as advertised, a back-and-forth scorefest with little margin for error.
Two situations that may have cost the Wolfpack a shot in overtime or a win in regulation:
1.) State looked in good shape to get at least a last-second field goal after Terrell Manning intercepted Christian Ponder late in the second quarter. The Pack got the ball on Florida State's 46 yard line, but the coaches totally and inexplicably botched it from there, refusing to call a timeout immediately after an eight-yard completion to Donald Bowens. The clock bled down to seven seconds before they finally bothered to stop it; the offense ran two plays up to that point and managed to blow 37 seconds in the process. Wilson threw an INT on the next play in an all-or-nothing situation that didn't have to be. Aren't these the spots where coaches earn those big paychecks? It's always amazing to me how often the clock gets mismanaged. Nothing about these situations comes as a surprise to anyone on the sideline. So what the hell?
2.) With the score tied at 28, Nate Mageo intercepted Ponder and returned the ball inside Florida State's 20, which could have been the game-changer that defined the second half for NC State. But Mageo fumbled the ball right back to Florida State. The Seminoles would take that second chance right down the field and convert a FG to put themselves back on top. Huge, huge turnaround, and certainly not one this Pack team could afford.