Why am I putting myself through this exercise this week? I don't know. State's offense was dreadful in almost every respect on Saturday and put together just three decent drives in 12 possessions. The first, a 7-play, 58-yard march, led to the Pack's only touchdown. The second, 10 plays covering 70 yards, ended in a missed field goal. The third, also 10 plays covering 70 yards, resulted in the Pack's second field goal.
The drive chart is brutal thanks to the combination of ineffectiveness and poor red zone efficiency. Five trips inside Clemson's 20 amounted to just one touchdown and a pair of field goals. Two Clemson turnovers set up the offense for quick and easy scores, but they squandered both opportunities and managed a grand total of three points. And then there was the horribly timed late third quarter fumble that sparked Clemson's first touchdown. Bad bad bad it's all bad.
The nannypants crap that was TOB's decision to punt late in the game is getting all of the attention, and rightfully so, but it wasn't the first lame decision of the game. We had the ball in a 3rd-and-15 situation at our own 15 with 11 minutes and change to play, and instead of actually trying to pick it up, we ran the ol' Give Up Draw. Clemson got another short field out of it and scored the go-ahead touchdown. But that's beside the point--we haven't seen these give up plays very often because the coaches trust Russell Wilson to do the right thing. Apparently even a Wilson pass attempt was too risky at that point, as the coaches decided instead to cling for dear life and hope that our awesome punting would at least force Clemson to drive 50-60 yards. Lame. Rule #1: Don't be lame.
Grade: F. 4/5 facepalms.
On a per-play basis, State's defense put together the best performance against a I-A team of the Tom O'Brien era. Only five Clemson drives covered double-digit yardage, and only two--both in the first quarter--covered more than 40 yards. Clemson started consecutive drives on our 22, 15, and 39 in the second half. While they didn't keep Clemson off the scoreboard in two of those situations, they did halt the Tigers after another special teams implosion, which resulted in a missed field goal. And they saved at least some of TOB's bacon (what could be salvaged at the time) by forcing the three-and-out needed after the FOUR YARD PUNT HAHAHAHAHAHA OH GOD.
Couldn't handle the compliments paid to you after last week, huh, special teams. Figures.