I remember watching the game last weekend and just trying to figure, wait a minute, how is this team so good now? What’d they do? Other than figuring out that KC Concepcion needs 15 touches, that is.
Because this State team looked broken in a lot of different ways during that miserable game in Durham, but since then, it’s really difficult to describe just what a difference there’s been, just how much better this team has played.
UNC found out exactly what I’m talking about but can’t articulate, as the Tar Heels got buried very quickly by an NC State team that was on a mission, and never let up. UNC had its moments, sure, but none of them came when the score was in question. This was a flat-out dominant effort by NC State, which was not discouraged by red zone possessions that ended with field goals early, and let its defense cook throughout a first half in which UNC found next to nothing offensively.
That first half was about as dominant an effort as you will see in this series, and to do it against Drake Maye—putting him entirely off his game—was impressive. Can’t say enough about how this defense played in the first half particularly.
They really set the tone, and NC State’s offense had no trouble working behind it. Not surprisingly, UNC had no particular answer for KC Concepcion, who had 18 touches for 186 yards and a couple touchdowns. UNC’s defense was never going to be up to this particular task—or rather, not interested in doing stuff—but the question was how Drake Maye might manage under difficult circumstances.
It took UNC more than 30 minutes to figure out some decent matchup advantages to get the Tar Heel Offense moving, and in the mean time, Maye struggled.
NC State’s defensive front has been outstanding against traditional run plays all year, and that didn’t change tonight. Maybe UNC thought they could make that change, but a lot of teams probably have thought that. It’s such a simpler game when you can take a star running back out of the matter, even when the quarterback is also a star player, because Tony Gibson is going to hurl 45 guys an hour at you in that situation.
They didn’t figure it out last year, didn’t apparently learn much in the offseason, and got their asses beat tonight. Hot damn, god bless, light the belltower.