NC State was dominated in all facets of the game during a 33-6 home loss to Virginia Saturday. Now it's time for a final look at the contest with some Monday Morning Quarterbacking.
Key moment of the game:
When Virginia sophomore safety Anthony Harris intercepted fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Glennon on State's opening drive, the signs were only beginning that this was going to be a long afternoon. That was just UVa's second pick of the year, but it also continued the reoccurring themes for State's losses. The Pack had already given up a touchdown to fall behind 7-0 by that point, and the turnover would be the first of five in the game.
Three things that worked:
1. Rashard Smith's punt returning
Twice the redshirt junior receiver broke long returns on punts, unfortunately though both went for naught. He fumbled when hit from behind on one and the other was called back for an illegal block foul on redshirt freshman safety Tim Buckley.
2. Wil Baumann's punting
It was a solid afternoon from the sophomore, who booted seven times for an average of 41.3 yards a kick and landed two punts inside the 20.
3. Play of the safeties
Both fifth-year senior Earl Wolff and senior Brandan Bishop both were productive. Wolff had 15 tackles and a pass breakup, and Bishop was the second-leading tackler with 11 hits, and he recovered a fumble to prevent a potential Cavalier score.
Three things that did not work:
Glennon was off throwing the ball, the Pack could not run it effectively and the offensive line had trouble blocking Virginia. The result was just 216 total yards and six points, both of which represented season-lows for the Wolfpack.
Virginia's two-headed quarterback machine of junior Michael Rocco and sophomore Phillip Sims efficiently threw the ball, the Cavs ran to the average of 5.2 yards a carry and their offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage. The result was 446 yards of total offense and 33 points.
3. Overall effort
For whatever reason, be it the 12:30 start, the deflating nature of the UNC loss the week before or a lack of a respect for a 2-6 team on a six-game losing streak coming to town, State just did not bring an inspiring effort Saturday.
Breaking down the position battles:
NC State's OL vs. Virginia's front seven
It was ugly. Virginia, which had seven sacks coming into the game all season, had six Saturday, and State ran for a season-low 19 yards on 24 carries.
NC State's front seven vs. Virginia's OL
NCSU had just one sack and Virginia ran for an average of 5.2 yards a carry. Again, Virginia dominated this matchup on the line of scrimmage.
NC State's WR vs. Virginia's DB
Virginia schemed to take away the deep pass, which apparently was part of the strategy for State coming into the game. The result was State's longest pass Saturday was just 14 yards. Have to give the edge to the Wahoos for executing their game plan.
NC State's DB vs. Virginia's WR
Other than Tim Smith getting behind the secondary and scoring a 38-yard touchdown on what was not a particularly well-thrown football, the State defensive backs did an okay job covering. This may have been State's best matchup Saturday.
Glennon for whatever reason was off. He completed 23 of 46 passes for a season-low 197 yards and one touchdown with just three interceptions and also fumbled on a backside hit. The Sims/Rocco combination was better, completing 20 of 33 passes for 198 yards and two scores without an interception.
Redshirt sophomore Kevin Parks ran 25 times for 115 yards and a touchdown, and his backup, senior Perry Jones, carried 11 times for 67 yards. Jones also caught six passes for 46 yards. That dwarfs the production from State's backs, who combined to run 16 times for 44 yards.
You can honestly say that the State tight ends, fifth-year senior Mario Carter and redshirt junior Asa Watson, were more productive than the Wahoos' tight ends, but that's not saying much. Watson and Carter only combined to catch three passes for 23 yards.
Had it not been for the fumble and penalty on Smith's long punt returns, it would have been a good afternoon for special teams. They had very nice execution on the onside kick late in the game.