In the case of the incredible disappearing timeouts, we have answers. Well, partial answers. Dave Doeren addressed the subject (while taking full blame for the mishap) after the game was over. Here's what he had to say about the fourth quarter sequence:
Doeren called two straight timeouts at 5:13 in the fourth quarter with Louisville facing third and 17 from the N.C. State 28-yard line.
"We didn't have the right defense in the game," Doeren said. "I didn't want to give them a big play."
Doeren said he made an adjustment expecting a Louisville running play after the first timeout but then didn't like how his team lined up after the initial timeout. Then he decided to use his last timeout.
"I communicated something I wanted and it didn't get communicated the right way," Doeren said. "I didn't want to be in that defense."
Since I still have the game on my DVR for some damn reason, I went and looked back at the series. Louisville was in a three-wide set on the second down play, then made substitutions and came out in a five-wide set for third down. NC State's defense had not made any substitutions and did appear a bit confused. So there went timeout No. 2 of the half.
Coming out of that timeout, there was obvious confusion on the State bench, as a third linebacker ran on the field late to replace a DB (putting State in a 3-3-5), and Jarvis Byrd started to come onto the field but was called back. Then they called timeout No. 3. The third time around, you know, when Louisville finally got to run a play, the Pack was back once more with four down linemen.
Timeout No. 1 was taken early in the third quarter because Doeren was worried his team was about to have a punt blocked. I'd have been okay with taking a delay of game there instead, personally (the LOS was the NC State 38).
There wasn't much about the weekend worth remembering, but you can at least say that you were watching the time confusion and miscommunication cost NC State an entire half's worth of timeouts. This is why football is a great sport: every week you got a chance to see something you've never seen before. Mismanagement has so very many flavors!