The Morning After: So, what just happened?

Posted: September 14, 2014 in Football

So, that happened. The Bulls fell 49 to 17 to NC State, putting them at 1-2 on the year. This game was rough, real rough. The attendance was bad and the performance on the field was even worse. After the Maryland game, I thought the Bulls would be better, but that wasn’t the case. This game was ugly. Let’s sift through the ruins to figure out what happened in this game.

Offense

This was bad, real bad. Just 159 yards of offense was mustered by the Bulls offense. The offensive line was awful. They failed to get any running lanes open and both Mike White and Quinton Flowers (who burned his redshirt) were running for their lives during the entire game. Losing Thor Jozwiak for another game hurts but there is really no excuse for the effort they showed in this game. They need a lot of work and it won’t get any easier moving forward.

Mike White was 4 for 16 for 82 yards with just 1 one touchdown and was sacked twice. White hit Ryeshene Bronson for a 75 yard touchdown in the first quarter, but after that, he was ineffective and I’m being nice about that. How hurt was he? We will never know but if he was good to go he was ineffective in this game against an NC State defense that had allowed 34 points to Old Dominion in the last week. Quinton Flowers burned his redshirt in this game, coming in as a running option at first. He carried it 6 times for a total of 32 yards, some of those coming late as he ran for his life. He was also 1 for 4 for 7 yards passing and threw 2 interceptions. This was a bad day for the USF QBs. White wasn’t right and Flowers was thrown into the fire and it wasn’t pretty. Hopefully the offensive line gets better to help them out.

Marlon Mack had 12 carries for 51 yards as he continues to be the go-to back. D’Ernest Johnson had 2 carries for 11 yards as well. Where is Darius Tice and is Ste’fon McCray? Coach Taggart will always say it’s a running back by committee approach, but its pretty clear the committee has declared Mack as the feature back for the Bulls rushing game. If the offensive line was a just better, he could get even more yards.

Ryeshene Bronson had 2 receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown. He was great but the Bulls couldn’t get the ball to him after his big 75-yard strike in the first quarter. The receiving game struggled struggled without Andre Davis for a second game and it showed. After Bronson, the next best receiver was Eric Dungy with his first reception for 7 yards. Kennard Swanson had 1 grab for 4 yards. Where was Sean Price and Mike McFarland? It’s hard to point the finger at the receivers including the tight ends with such bad quarterback play, but they had to be open at some point. Was the offensive line just that bad that Price or McFarland couldn’t get open for a second to catch a pass? Let’s hope they figure it out.

Overall, the offense has a lot of soul searching to do before the Uconn game on Friday.

Defense

It was a bad day for the defense (thanks a little to the offense for failing to keep the ball for a few seconds). The defense allowed 589 yards of offense, just 1 yard shy of the overall record allowed and allowed 315 yards on the ground and 31 first downs. NC State also converted 11 out of 16 3-down attempts as well, showing how the Bulls defense simply could not get off the field when they needed.

Jamie Byrd had 8 tackles. Lamar Robbins had 2 tackles and 1 interception that was taken back for a touchdown. Nate Godwin had 7 tackles. Nigel Harris had 4 tackles and 1 sack. Todd Chandler had 4 tackles as well.

I was the praising the defense last week and all of the adjustments they had made in a two week period. Whatever those adjustments were, they didn’t carry over to this game. What on earth happened out there? This was an NC State offense that struggled to score against Georgia Southern in the opener and was in a shoot-out with Old Dominion last week, but looked like Oregon or Alabama out there. Was the talent gap on defense vs. offense that bad or was Coach Bresnahan beaten out on every play.

Overall, the defense was bad in this game. NC State, a struggling offense entering the game, had a career day. They were 1 yard away from matching the most yardage. This team has a lot of soul searching to do this week as they prepare for Uconn on Friday. Are they this bad or can they turn it around? I’ll have to wait and see to be convinced.

Special teams

What a week makes for the unit. Special teams was solid for the Bulls in the ugly loss. Marvin Kloss had a 43 yard field goal and was 2 for 2 in extra point attempts. Mattias Ciabatti has strong with his 7 punts, averaging 49.6 yards per punt including a long of 57 yards. Chris Dunkley had 5 kick returns for 43 yards and had a punt return for a touchdown, however it was called back due to a penalty. D’Ernest Johnson had 3 kick returns for 30 yards as well. Overall, the unit did well. Alex Salvato had a better day on the snaps and the unit overall played well despite the awful day.

Moving forward

So, that game happened. It’s hard to say we’ve hit rock bottom or the program in general has hit rock bottom but we have to be pretty close to that. We nearly sit a new low in home attendance, nearly gave up the most points and yardage ever in program history and the offense looked historically awful. Can we get better? Is the talent there to get it done? I still say yes and think the program is going to be better moving forward. I hope this beat down is a eye opener for this young team, something that will test them by fire and something that will teach them moving forward. Let’s hope they are fast learners with Uconn coming to town on Friday night.

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