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2012 Textile Bowl: Where Defense Went to Die

I semi-live-blog a game that happened a year and a half ago, because that's how the internet works these days.

Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports

Kickoff: [various utterances about the family of NC State-related people, usually their mothers, followed by ALL IN SOLID ORANGE WOO]

14:23, First: Man, I miss Andre Ellington and his dreads. And his running. The running was pretty okay too.

13:52, First: Not as much as I miss Sammy Watkins, even if that particular play was not so Watkins-ish.

12:58, First: Scoring! I miss Chandler Catanzaro almost as much, because you know I don't trust college kickers. But he was exceptional. Benton in the punting game, too. Really underrated guys. And good lord, I'm gushing over special teams.

12:22, First: Was I the only one who thought this game was going to end in two hours, with a final score of 3-2? Don't even ask me how NC State would have gotten a safety - probably a failed sweep out of the end zone, the ball in Sammy's hands as the offensive line crumpled like paper before him.

11:14, First: Tajh Boyd to Watkins. What? I'm not crying, it's just dusty in here. I'm cutting onions made of dust. They exist.

9:54, First: All right, they've got this. It's not 2011. NC State's defense is a sieve, Clemson's at home, it's over. It's over.

9:12, First: 'Glennon certainly looks ineffectual today,' I think to myself, not knowing the passes to come. My smug smile demands penance, and penance will be paid.

8:02, First: I think Cole Stoudt might be a better pocket passer than Tajh, but mobility counts for something.

7:36, First: LIKE HELL, THAT WAS A CATCH. (I know it wasn't.)

7:31, First: I'm not joking, having a kicker like that is like a security blanket. In 2012, Catanzaro's FGM rate was 94.7%; in 2013 it was 92.9%. It was an actual joy to watch him at work in those last two years, like John Kasay in Charlotte. Year one? Not so much.

7:14, First: And right about here I begin to wonder if something is a bit... off. It's still fine. NC State has no defense! Just breathe.

6:21, First: WHAT.

4:37, First: I've secretly replaced the 2012 Clemson offense with that of 2012 Maryland. I wonder if anyone has noticed.

1:36, First: My apologies, NC State. Your defense is the Great Wall of China. I'd call the Tigers' defense Swiss cheese, but that is a grave insult to the Swiss and I wish to avoid a sternly-worded letter.

0:42, First: I'm in a nightmare.

End of First. Status: incredibly confused and slightly numb.

14:55, Second: I'm in little victories mode at this point, and the ghosts of 2011 are giving me unwanted neck hickies. BUT CLEMSON STOPPED NC STATE.

13:43, Second: GET ELLINGTON'D. I swear I said that in real life when this game was live - with a straight face, no less.

12:52, Second: This drive was sheer excellence, so of course let's go for two because it can never be perfect. The ESPN crew disagrees with the call. By the time this game ends, that lost two will have been little more than a rounding error.

11:02, Second: Okay! Okay. It's stabilized. Everything's cool. Clemson just lost focus for half a quarter. It happens.

10:28, Second: Order is fully restored, and of course it returns on the shoulders of Sammy Watkins. Let's go for two again because Dabo and Chad! Hurray. I don't even care at this point. As a bonus, it worked.

9:38, Second: Mike Glennon has all the agility of a Cadillac Fleetwood, and yet he buys just enough time to make me want to reach for something alcoholic. I don't even drink. This is what Tiger football does to people, man.

Trivia: Of course it was John Heisman. Marriage on a fall Saturday in the modern South will get you thrown in prison.

8:44, Second: Watch as Glennon goes to the red phone. Is he speaking to the eldritch god that granted him his first quarter powers? Did the sacrifice wear off? Did farm animals in Anderson and/or Pickens County go missing during the course of this game?

7:51, Second: Boyd to Watkins again. What a throw. What a catch. It was so good I need to say something British, like jolly good show chaps, tally ho and all that.

6:17, Second: Notice that Kansas State was #1 in the nation. It didn't seem real then, and a year and half later I'd forgotten it even happened. This is the Bill Snyder effect in action. He, like his program, simply exists.

5:57, Second: By now I wonder if the Clemson secondary is a theoretical construct, something built by people like Stephen Hawking. It can only be measured by measuring the things around it - in this case, yards. So many yards.

5:23, Second: Never mind, it's real, y'all!

5:18, Second: Well, crap.

4:25, Second: [various unprintable swears about the secondary]

3:45, Second: All is forgiven!

2:22, Second: I understand. There is no defense here; the gravity of Memorial Stadium has prevented it from entering except in chaotic, stilted bursts. We have discovered a place where offense is law.

2:07, Second: The Fleetwood's been carjacked! Now I'm feeling much, much better. Fumbles are the football equivalent of yoga - people on the ground in awkward positions, internally and physically scrambling for their dignity.

1:14, Second: You know how commentators will joke about holes so big they could have run through them? I could have run through that hole. I estimate my own 40 time to be about four and a half minutes.

0:16, Second: AHHH-oh. Oh, that was close.

End of Second. Status: exhausted and jittery, which might be a paradox.

15:00, Third: Is it just me, or is Mike Patrick the only ESPN person that says Clemson correctly? Maybe him and Rece Davis.

13:47, Third: Yeah, fine, that was just a great catch. Not a bad throw from the Cadillac either.

12:33, Third: Hey, it's Vic Beasley. Past me wonders how he'll do in 2013, since he seemed pretty good in 2012.

12:03, Third: I maintain that this, and the following Clemson drive, is when NC State really died. That was a long way to kick. It should have been blocked, and was.

11:00, Third: This Martavis Bryant touchdown allows past me to sit down after nearly two hours. There's no tired like Clemson on the edge of disaster tired. Not even Tobais Palmer could rile me up. He averaged 34.6 yards per return that day, but hardly anyone remembers. I remember, Tobais. I remember.

6:38, Third: Chad Morris at work, at least I think. This play still makes me smile; the execution was flawless. Offensive linemen decorate the field like giant gnomes. It's the first Clemson highlight we've had after about four minutes of NC State desperation.

5:10, Third: Clemson goes for it here, because Clemson is Oregon if Oregon had the decency to leave their stupid uniforms alone. Success!

4:13, Third: Tajh Boyd is a man. This is his seventh touchdown today. For the record, that's a lot.

4:01, Third: I should note that past me doesn't care for Tobais Palmer very much.

3:55, Third: Excuse me? What are you doing, NC State? Stop that. You stop that right now.

2:44 to 2:38, Third: [unprintable swearing followed by a search for alcohol that past me doesn't have]

1:39, Third: Brandon Ford is in the clear, and he takes this game with him. 69 yards for a touchdown. Now it seems really, truly over.

1:31, Third: Mike Patrick jokes about the pushups the Tiger had to do after the score. Part of me wonders if the man in the suit survived this day. Tajh has eight total touchdowns.

End of Third. Status: well, I'm not drunk, so that's something.

14:20, Fourth: I'd really like to stop remembering Tobais Palmer now, if you wouldn't mind. Then again, at this point in the game past me simply nodded with arms crossed. Good game, NC State. I respect you for not rolling over. Now stop scoring.

12:27, Fourth: I apologize for the lack of action in this quarter, as it appears everyone has fallen over unconscious. Do not mistake anything you may see here as defense. It is simply utter exhaustion. There have been 1,223 total yards so far.

10:00, Fourth: NC State won't go down without a fight. They're still pounding the ball. Good for them. Past me is still pretty sure it's over.

8:12-7:49, Fourth: Vic Beasley again. Glennon flings it anyway, and Clemson defenders ask the sideline how to do things. How different this game might have been had the next pass been a Wolfpack touchdown.

7:39-7:35, Fourth: Note the story on the ticker. This was the first time I called Maryland a bunch of traitors. And if you want to know what a sad field goal looks like, look no further than this Niklas Sade 40 yarder. The scoring is done. No real urgency remains, even if it seems NC State is still giving a damn. They tried to out-Clemson Clemson and lost.

It's over. Status: I'm still looking for the secondary. For either team.

1,351 yards is really the only number I need to illustrate how bonkers this Textile Bowl was. That's three-quarters of a mile of offense. How it only lead to 110 points may never be fully explained. It was the most memorable - and frankly, most fun - Textile Bowl for me in recent memory.

(Disclaimer: your definition of fun and mine are probably not the same.)