The NC State Wolfpack’s (mostly) dominating effort in Carter Finley West left UNC fans stunned and staggering back to their Lincolns after a 28-21 State victory. Favored by double digits, the Heels received a hearty serving of rushing yards jammed down their throat (259, to be exact) on a Black Friday surely to be long remembered in Chapel Hill until whenever basketball next tips off.
State’s recipe for success was pretty simple, even though it was one the team rarely managed to execute throughout the season – take a lead and hold said lead. The Pack started out aggressively, running a trick play with a lateral throw-back to “tight end” Jaylen Samuels (1-1 passing, 59 yds, 1/0 TD INT ratio, 3 carries, 15 yds, 1 TD, 2 total TDs), who then fired the ball downfield to a streaking Stephen Louis for a 59 yard touchdown strike just 5 minutes into the game. A UNC fumble gave state possession on the very next play from scrimmage, and Matt Dayes (26 carries, 104 yds, 2 TD) punched in a short touchdown run just moments later.
State then piled the lead to a(barely, like God, baaaaaarely)n insurmountable 21-0 lead when Dayes scored on a wildcat touchdown on 4th and 1 from the UNC 18, shredding the UNC defense like some dude in a midwestern militia probably shreds his mail.
Blah blah blah UNC rallied, had possession and a chance to tie the game at 28 late in the 4th, but didn’t, barely, and Dave Doeren (3 ACC wins in Carter Finley, 2 ACC wins in Carter Finley West) didn’t look like a total idiot for playing for a field goal to end the first half (DAVE HAVE YOU SEEN OUR KICKING HAHAHAHAHA OF COURSE YOU HAVE YOU’RE THE COACH JUST MAYBE LIKE WHY WAS THAT A GOOD IDEA) or not demanding his coordinators stop passing with the lead and blitzing when UNC is in 3rd and long.
Switz Army Knife:
UNC’s Ryan Switzer is friggin’ terrifying every time he touches the ball. He’s a threat to score from anywhere on the field, as a receiver or kick returner, and he’s also one of those guys I wanna hate but can’t bring myself to do it, and feeling conflicted is always a scary thing for a white male, because we’re so used to just, like, being white dudes and not having any problems except the ones we make up.
Annnnyway, if there was one dude who was gonna save UNC/ECU’s tookus, it was Switzer. He finished the day with 13 receptions (I DUNNO MAYBE DOUBLE COVER HIM BUT WHO AM I TO JUDGE) for 171 yards (HAHAHAHAHA LET’S KEEP LETTING LINEBACKERS AND SAFETIES COVER HIM 1-1 IN THE SLOT AMIRITE) and 1 TD.
His finest moment was helping UNC convert a 3rd and 26 (that all State fans knew would be converted) by fair-catching a 45 yard reception at the NC State 25 on a drive that lead to an eventual touchdown.
- Mack Brown would not shut up tryna guess how many guys were gonna rush on each defensive snap. Dude kept saying random numbers like a 2-year old blindly guessing how many fingers you’re holding up instead of just counting them. Blitzing is a cyclical problem – commentators, fans, and coaches are infatuated with it even though it rarely actually works. So when guys like Brown or John Gruden say ‘let’s see what they dial up here with their exotic mesmerizing delicious luscious blitz packages,’ it just feeds that narrative.
- If blitzing were a contraceptive option, it would be really shitty. If a dude pulled blitzing out of his wallet or back pocket once things got steamy, his lady friend would be like ‘NO, WHAT THE HELL IS THAT, I’M NOT TRYNA HAVE A BABY.’The Heels gave up multiple 3rd and longs to a struggling Ryan Finley (11/18, 151 yds, 0 TDs, 1 set of bruised ribs) because they brought five or six guys, leaving tons of open field and fewer defenders in the secondary.
- State damn near lost itself the ballgame by blitzing twice and playing man coverage while trying to jam the receivers on 3rd and 4th and 20 on UNC’s final drive of the game. Trubisky (23/38, 280, 3 TDs) missed a wide open receiver on 3rd and 20, and he hit a receiver dead in the hands on the 4th down play, but the pass was dropped. State’s Jaylen Samuels, usually as sure handed as they get, dropped a wide open pass on a UNC blitz earlier in the quarter, as well.Being fortunate the other team didn’t complete the wide open pass your blitz allowed doesn’t mean the blitz worked. For my life I can’t figure out why teams put themselves into successful positions by rushing four and dropping seven and then say ‘well, since that worked so well, screw it, let’s blitz and totally sabotage ourselves for the small chance we get a sack.’
Matt Black FriDayes:
Matt Dayes, State’s mildly unheralded star (I mean, he plays for State, so I get it) running back ran hard an angry today, often breaking multiple tackles after first contact. Dayes season stats – 1,119 yds, 10 TD, 93.25 yards-per-game – rank him as one of the most effective and efficient backs in the last decade in the Red and White.
Dayes’ power, grace and ferocity were apparent in how he turned his 5’9”, 203 lbs frame into an agile battering ram, and the tone he set was one of the biggest factors in today’s Wolfpack victory.
UNC waits to see if they or some other school pays Fedora (even more) piles of cash and settles in with an 8-4 record that includes losses to Duke and State. A decent bowl berth is in the picture, and Heels fans will probably watch it as long as it doesn’t conflict with a basketball game.
State is likely going to Shreveport (ok, honestly, had the players known that’s what they’d get for winning, would they have tried so hard?) for the whatever bowl that’s held there, which, I guess, is at least better than not going to a bowl. Right?