NC State didn’t get nearly enough out of its offense to pull off an upset at Florida State on Saturday night, and sadly I don’t think that surprises anybody. The Wolfpack missed some opportunities in the first half, then played dead in the third quarter as the Seminoles pulled away.
Matthew McKay got the start but ended up on the bench for the majority of the night after a cold first few possessions. Bailey Hockman’s performance was a mixed bag, and certainly not good enough to propel the Pack to victory. He was fortunate on a couple of occasions not to have a pass taken the other way for a score by the FSU defense.
The game started sluggishly for both teams, and NC State even had itself a 6-3 lead with about six minutes left in the first half. It wasn’t much fun to watch but at least State’s defense seemed to have a hold of the FSU offense.
The defensive effectiveness evaporated thereafter as the Seminoles scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes of the half. Pretty much the worst-case scenario.
I did not exactly have the greatest confidence in a rally from that 17-6 deficit, and none was forthcoming. NC State played the third quarter with terrible field position because it could not move the ball, and that completely wore out the defense.
Still the defense did a solid job under the circumstances, and FSU didn’t get back on the scoreboard until there were 59 seconds left in the third. Admirable work, really.
But that third Seminoles touchdown was obviously the death blow, because NC State wasn’t capable of making big moves with the ball.
The Pack finally hit paydirt a couple of minutes into the fourth on a short touchdown pass from Hockman to Emeka Emezie, but the team’s wiped-out defense couldn’t get a stop on FSU’s ensuing possession.
The Noles put us all out of our misery with that touchdown to make the score 31-13, and the rest of the proceedings was glorified garbage time.
Where to from here? They’ve got a bye week to cogitate on it, which is good I guess. It seems pretty clear at this point that quarterback play is going to be a struggle the rest of the way, though, and the season likely with it.