Let’s cut straight to the point: Carolina had a really a good first quarter and a really good last two minutes of the game. NC State had really good second and third quarters, but a pretty numbing fourth quarter with an unjustifiable number of mistakes.
Giovani Bernard punt return for a touchdown sucked. We know. We get it. I will also choose to ignore the multiple penalties that should have been called during that run. The more I watch the replay the more obvious they are. I guess the refs were too focused on Bernard to keep their eyes on the rest of the field.
But, regardless, Bernard’s TD shouldn’t have decided the game. NC State had everything it needed going into this game and had everything going for them throughout most of the game to come out with a solid victory over the Tar Heels. So, what happened?
The Wolfpack stalled. It doesn’t take a football expert to understand how much the half a dozen dropped passes during that fourth quarter hurt the Pack’s offensive drive. Quintin Payton dropped a pass. Shadrach Thornton dropped a couple of short passes. Bryan Underwood dropped two of them through the middle—both of which looked very promising. And Tony Creecy dropped a pass that just maybe, just maybe would have ended up in a touchdown. Sigh.
It was unnerving watching the Wolfpack offense come to a complete halt after an absolutely great performance in the middle two quarters. Mike Glennon had a phenomenal game. Unfortunately, his receivers let him down and that cost NC State not just points in the last quarter, but a win against North Carolina and getting a shot at the ACC Championship Game.
After the game, Tom O’brien stated: “We played hard for 60 minutes, and the last 30 seconds of the game got us.” No sir. The last four offensive drives of the game got us. One should never play for over time.