When NC State fell behind 12-0 early in the second quarter, I was resigned to scrap the "morning after" good, bad, and ugly clownblog routine for a succinct summary, skipping the first two categories in favor of: "The Ugly: We lost to ECU." Drop the mic. Hope y'all enjoyed the read. But then the rest of the second quarter happened, chasing my steady diet of brews with that Wolfpack elixir of hope we've all come to savor, despite that sweet potion's near constant little problem of proving to ultimately be but a mirage. Oh second quarter, thanks for making me hang around until the bitter, bitter end.
Yeah so anyway...the point of this running morning after bit is to take a step back from the postgame rage-ahol (or the too rare euphoria) to take a measured look at what went well (the good), what didn't (the bad), and what reeked of unwashed jock strap after a game in Greenville (the ugly). The brutal fail of the kicking game and certain coaching decisions were no doubt deplorable, but in my humble opinion the biggest ugly in a game beset by them was the pass interference call on Mike Stevens that led to ECU's go-ahead score. I hold no malice to the zebra-stripe clad gentleman that tossed the hankie; officiating is hard and no one is perfect. However, make the right call there and ECU sends out the kicking unit, the lead is maintained, and perhaps the outcome is different. Stevens made a great play.
- Former walkon Gavin Locklear's 28-yard hookup with Stephen Louis on a bit of trickeration was fun, though had Locklear been ready to grip and rip a bit earlier, he had Bra'Lon Cherry for a TD.
- Hopefully Louis, who shook off a vicious targeting hit that got an ECU player ejected, had his coming out party. He hauled in three balls for 142 yards, including an 80-yard TD.
- Reggie Gallaspy was a beast, averaging 12.2 yards on five carries, including a 37-yard TD run during which he stiff-armed a guy to the ground like the would-be tackler was a child, then absolutely blew up a poor fool who tried to take him down high on Gallaspy's way to paydirt.
- Matt Dayes added 104 yards on just 14 carries for a 7.4 average per tote.
- The offensive line not only paved the way to a successful afternoon on the ground (6.9 ypc), they also gave Ryan Finley ample time to throw.
- Finley completed 20 of 31 attempts for 251 yards. I'm still not convinced he has the physical tools to be an elite college quarterback, but he has been solid through two games. He obviously hasn't been tested by an elite defense, but there's a lot to like in what we've seen so far.
- The Pack averaged 7.9 yards per play to the Pirates' 5.9. Nothing like winning everywhere but the scoreboard.
- Jack Tocho got beat deep in an early drive but earned a reprieve with a pick that at least temporarily swung the game's momentum.
- The defense made 13 tackles for a loss, including 4.5 by Airius Moore.
- For all the pain and suffering induced by the kicking game, Kyle Bambard split the uprights in his attempt. Take the job and run with it, son.
- The ball guy pulling the train whistle in time with Jay-Sam after his jet sweep score. Someone gif me pronto.
- Ya know, it was kind of all feast or famine this week. Lots of good but lots of ugly...there just wasn't much in the way of run of the mill bad. Maybe the eight penalties?
- And while the Pack were falling behind early, the play calling was a little vanilla. ECU withered against the run eventually but was selling out to stop it on the first couple of drives. Maybe a little play action? Still hard to argue with nearly eight yards a snap.
- Finley, while solid, missed Jaylen Samuels for a TD in the corner of the end zone and Dayes for another possible score. He showed more in terms of downfield passing in game two, but those two misses were costly.
- Oh yeah Jay-Sam! We have that guy. Somehow, though, he managed just nine touches for a scant 57 yards. I still blame Canada.
- Nyheim Hines muffing the kick after ECU's penalty-gifted go-ahead score wouldn't have seemed so horrible if it wasn't for the game situation. That was just a horrible time to go all butterfingers.
- Right after missing Dayes for a likely touchdown, the Pack were disorganized and slow to get a play in. Eventually a tunnel screen was called on 3rd and eight which resulted in a fumble and turnover. There's your karma for calling that mess on that down and distance.
- Why can't we start a half? The first half in this one, especially, was ugly. Hard to dig out of a 12-0 hole on the road in a hostile environment. Get off the bus ready to play, fellas.
- Conner Haskins missed a pair of field goals, one of which he probably should've never attempted since it was fourth and short.
- Lack of faith in the kicking game is understandable given the track record of State's kickers, but Dave Doeren's stupid fake call when the attempt was practically an extra point made no sense at the time or in hindsight. How do you lose when dominating the yards per play category? Leave nine points off the board due to shitty specialists and bad gambles. Oops, make that 10 points. What in the name of sweet baby Jesus was that two-point try?
- There appeared to be a second left when Louis went down after the game's final reception. Time for a spike after they move the chains? We'll never know.
- Watching the game via Watch ESPN on replay with one to three bars of video quality. The feed froze about 35 times, requiring me to go back a few plays to get it humming along again. But at least commercials and halftime were edited out!
- Seriously, what in the actual donkey shit was that PI call? Let the players decide the outcome, you over-officious jerkwad!
June is so over.