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Three Up, Three Down: NC State

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This one stings pretty badly, but though the Deacs are no longer undefeated, the game was not without merit. The 33-16 win for NC State could've been a whole lot uglier than it was. Let's discuss some of both the positives and the negatives for this one.

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

The Ups

Tabari Friggin' Hines, Man. The sophomore burner had 125 yards receiving (woah) on 9 catches for an average of 13.9 YPC, a long of 40, and the game's lone TD.  Nice job, Tabari.  Of course, John Wolford spread the wealth, with no less than 6 receivers making positive catches but Tabari Hines was the real standout.

The Deacs Didn't Fold Completely. Going down 17-0 in the first quarter in a performance that was flat out gross, this thing easily could've turned into a 35-0 blowout or something similar, but frankly, a lot of the stats belie how much the Deacs were in this thing late.  Early in the fourth quarter, it was a 10 point game.  That's "anything can happen" territory.  Considering we were on the road against an in-state rival and got absolutely punched in the mouth, I was grateful to see the Deacs not completely folding and showing some fight.

Mike Weaver and Dom Maggio. The two special teamers were fairly flawless today.  Mike Weaver absolutely blistered his kickoffs today, was 3/3 on field goals with a long of 41, and really looked composed.  The returning Dom Maggio had a pretty great outing with punting.  He had 6 punts for 281 yards, resulting in a 46.8 yard average, a long of 54, one touchback, and 2 punts inside the 20.  This might seem like a hollow thing, but in closer games, these things really could serve us well, and the guys who put the foot in football don't often get much credit, so why not?

Honorable Mention: John Wolford can be a wizard sometimes, man.  Don't get me wrong, I still feel Kendall Hinton should start when healthy, but John is doing an admirable job and for all his faults, he occasionally pulls off some incredible plays of his own.

The Downs

Defensive Woes. We talk a lot about the secondary, and we should, but really there were defensive woes all over today.  Missed tackles all over the place, explosive plays. and well, giving up 33 points in general.  Not a great day for the defensive unit.  We also gave up 7-14 on third down, including one that was, if my memory serves, a 3rd and 21 when the game was very tight in the fourth quarter.  Also, 527 yards of offense given up in general.  Woof.

No Rushing Attack. NC State's defensive line obliterated us for much of the day.  It's not necessarily a surprise given the talent of that unit has, but it was disappointing.  Wake averaged  only 3.3 YPC, and that includes a couple of big runs (22 and 23) to skew the average.  To put it in perspective, 45 of our 69 rushing yards came on 2 carries.  Brutal.

That Entire First Quarter. That first quarter, on both sides of the ball, was utterly painful.  So very, very bad.  Not much else can be said on that front without going much deeper into an atrocious performance than I'd really care to at the moment.

The Bottom Line

I don't like that we lost.  I don't like the way that we lost.  That said, it could have been a lot worse, there were some positives to this game, and frankly speaking I feel like we were playing with house money anyway.  This might make me a bad fan or something, but I saw no WAY we'd ever have a snowball's chance at a title run with Clemson and Louisville right there.  That being said, the question becomes can we get to a bowl?  We're still in really strong position to do that, assuming this loss doesn't, as the adage says, beat us more than once.  Learn, grow, settle in, and beat Syracuse on Saturday, boys.  Let's get it.

On to the next.  Go Deacs.

--SF