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NC State drops winnable game to Louisville, 20-13

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Evan Pike-USA TODAY Sports

NC State dropped its first game of the season on Saturday afternoon, as the Wolfpack could not rally back to overcome a handful of significant mistakes. Louisville made just enough plays to beat NC State, 20-13, in a game that should linger for the Pack, for what the Wolfpack didn't do

This contest could have been a whole lot different if Jumichael Ramos didn't fumble away a reception inside the Louisville 10, with the Pack looking like a lock for the game's first touchdown. In a close game, these sequences make the difference, and for the most part, NC State was on the wrong side of them. But while Ramos made a critical mistake, he got absolutely no support from his coaches.

Louisville finished +2 in the turnover category. NC State's offense also got away from what had worked over the first month of the season. It was enough. Louisville didn't need to do much in the second half other than take care of the football. NC State couldn't even manage that.

This was a winnable game that NC State gifted away, from sloppy play, to idiotic penalties, to poor execution, to poor coaching choices. These margins matter a whole lot when you're up against good football teams. NC State is a good football team, but Louisville was more opportunistic, and far better coached. When you get schooled at home by a true freshman quarterback, you should feel bad.

Dave Doeren played this game scared. And when you play scared, shit happens. The officiating was an absolute mess at times during the first half, and certainly cost NC State a field goal.

But if you punt from the other team's 33, though, you get what you deserve. And today nothing NC State did was enough to deserve a win.