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Defensive Film Review: NC State

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You thought we'd let this go by the wayside? Not a chance.

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

While we mourn the departure of TheKraken, Alex Craft and Dbbm are here to carry the torch and shine light on our defensive performances for the remainder of the season. We loved Kraken's format for these reviews and want to stick to his model, but inflict our personalities on you in the form of GIFS AND BANTER so prepare your brains for some DOUBLE A GAP PENETRATION.


As usual, a huge shoutout to YouTube user Tigerray, who seemingly uploads full-length Clemson games instantaneously. We recommend you open
this link to follow along in order to learn.

First, a few strong takes and hard truths on the game as a whole before we dive into the defense:

  • Alex attended the game and was busy "making friends" with some State students. He ran into one of his old roommates in the student section, Jared, who dates a State student. Jared had a CJ Spiller jersey underneath a flannel shirt, and revealed his colors at the perfect moment: Charone Peake's touchdown just before halftime. He was nearly beaten by an angry female, but fortunately was rescued by concerned State students dressed as cows. Jared is everything we strive for in a Tiger behind enemy lines, and we are happy he is not a martyr.

  • Time for Alex to eat some crow after Peake's recent performance, particularly for the outstanding perimeter blocking. He struggled earlier in the year at boundary in Mike Williams' stead, but improved over the past few weeks as a receiver. One cannot deny his beautiful production as a blocker, and damn this crow tastes good thank you Mr. Peake you keep dishing it out.

  • Deshaun Watson had himself the Heisman-level performance which many (unrealistically) expected all year. When you consider Watson has only played 2 or 3 quarters in half of our games now, you realize he won't put up Heisman stats every week.

  • We only played well in 1 of the 3 phases, but the offensive balance is a nightmare for defenses. We couldn't ask for a better time for Watson and Gallman to look equally deadly. 

  • Huegel's perfect day on field goals salvaged what was otherwise a complete dumpster fire by the special teams unit. Kickoff coverage and poor punts gave State some cheap points, keeping this game far closer than it should have been. That's three missed extra points in two games now, as well.

  • Major credit to NC State for playing their best game of the year. Jacoby Brissett is an absolute beast and singlehandedly kept his team competitive by converting more than his fair share of low-percentage plays. With the improved recruiting and abundance of youth up in Raleigh, State could be dangerous over the next few years, but good luck replacing Brissett.

Shorthand

Alley = area between the OT and WR. BCB = Boundary Cornerback, Bullet = ILB A or B gap blitz. C0, C1, C2, C3, C4 (quarters) or C6 (quarter, quarter, half) = coverage scheme by the secondary. FCB = Wideside or field cornerback. Fire = S, NB, LB blitz from the outside D gap. Green Dog = man blitz when your man stays in to block or is not in the formation. IZ = Inside Zone or Zone blocked play inside the tackles. Jailbreak = 7 or more blitz. LOS = Line of Scrimmage. Man = man to man coverage. OZ = outside zone run or zone blocked play off-tackle. PA = Play Action. PBU = Pass broken up. Red Dog (overload) = LB and S/NB blitz on the same side. Robber = S or LB moves to take away crossing routes. C3 Sky = SS moves up two yards, takes flat, CBs and FS take deep thirds. Soft = CBs/NB playing well off the WR until he gets to the 1st down line. Stretch= zone blocked run just inside the last offensive player on that side. Stack = the 3 LBs are stacked directly behind DL. Stalk = WR blocks DB in front of him. Sweep = TB/QB run, often FB/ H-B lead play to the D gap. TO = Triple Option. ZR = Zone read option play.

Coach/Player shorthand: BB = Ben Boulware, BJ = B.J. Goodson, BV = Brent Venables, Mack = MacKenzie Alexander, OD = Dorian O'Daniel, Shaq = Shaq Lawson, Tank = Cordrea Tankersley.

Thoughts within a play are separated by a comma. (,)

Each play is separated by an ellipsis. (...)

First downs are separated by a paragraph.

Comments on a drive are in italics.

Offensive Personnel is listed as a 3 digit number where it is listed: # of RBs, # of TEs, # of WRs like 212, which is 2 RB, 1 TE, 2 WR.

1st Quarter

1st Drive, 15:00, NCSU 25, 0-0.


1st & 10, 122 Ace vs Nickel, PA bootleg max protect, 2 WRs in pattern but switch route against Man opens the underneath receiver, gain of 13...

1st & 10, 122 Pistol vs 4-3 Bone (Blanks and Dodd standing up on LOS), jet motion precedes handoff to Dayes, Watkins is sealed, BB gets sucked inside and can't fill the hole in time, Green followed the jet motion which left a hole behind BB, gain of 42...

Dayes long run

1st & 10, 104 Shotgun vs Nickel C3 Sky, Blanks breaks on the out route and forces the incompletion...2nd & 10, 122 Ace vs 4-3 Bone, all WRs and TEs lined up on boundary side, toss sweep, Watkins occupied two linemen which freed BB to meet Dayes for gain of less than 1...3rd & 9, 104 Shotgun vs 3-2-6 (counting Blanks as DB here), BCB blitz by Tank who gets home but can't bring down Brissett (1 of at least 5 missed sacks in addition to the 5 we had), dump off to Dayes who picks up 7...4th & 2, 122 Pistol vs 3-4 under with Kearse close enough to the LOS to turn this into a 3-5, Kearse flies in the alley to destroy the option like he has all year but chases the pitch man instead of taking away the pitch and crashing on the QB, usually he's money against the option, BJ gets pushed all the way down the field by the TE, Brissett walks in, TOUCHDOWN.

The ability to avoid sacks from Brissett was huge, and likely the difference between a field goal attempt or the eventual touchdown. At 235 pounds Brissett is almost as heavy as our linebackers. Tank weighs 195, giving up 40+ pounds is hard.

Shovel.gif


Kearse has blitzed the edge well before, but someone has to force Brissett to pitch here. Some of that is on play design, watch the backside tight end/wing here if Blanks does not play the tight end Brissett can "pass" it underneath for a touchdown. It's known as the shovel option, Urban Meyer has run it for years.

Quick-strike drive and TD run from Watson give us an early 7-6 lead. Great block by Gore to free Watson up the middle and then it's all Watson, showing quite a burst of acceleration to round the corner. Watson celebrates with his version of the Wolfpack hand symbol. *grins*

Watson NCSU celebration

Kickoff Return, TOUCHDOWN, 13-7 State.

We come right back and score in 2 plays, a 57 yard Death Star laserbeam strike from Watson to Renfrow. Which was prettier, the throw or Renfrow's abuse of the safety? Good Lord neither were human.

2nd drive, 10:27, NCSU 25, 13-13.

1st & 10, 122 Ace vs Nickel, TE comeback opens underneath after WR runs a post, Kearse gets caught in traffic and can't defend the comeback, gain of 11...

1st & 10, 122 Ace vs Nickel, OZ, Dodd pushes the OT back two yards and forces Dayes inside but comes off his block and trips him up before BB & company arrive, great play by Dodd to set the edge and make the tackle...2nd & 8, 122 Ace vs Nickel OLB fire, Brissett throws across field to Hines on another comeback vs Kearse in man, gain of 13...

1st & 10, 212 Shotgun split back shovel option vs Nickel quarters, Brissett reads Dodd and shovels to Samuels, Dodd makes the tackle anyway, gain of 1...2nd & 9, 113 Shotgun vs Nickel BCB blitz, underneath pass caught and met immediately by BJ, gain of 3...3rd & 6, 113 Shotgun trips vs 3-2-6 Dime of Doom LB fire, Kearse at SAM, BB gets home but Brissett spins out of the sack, BJ follows up and strips the ball, recovered by BB, TURNOVER.

Love firing BB and Kearse together on 3rd down, great rush by BB to force Brissett to reset before BJ attacks the ball perfectly. They're not letting our defense get set by running their linemen up late and instantly bringing motion or snapping the ball. TV cameramen weren't prepared for a bit of tempo from State, either. Clemson has blitzed the boundary corner when NC St shows trips to the field side. The pressure is getting there but Brissett is making the throws as well. NC St was able to beat Clemson with deep throws to the outside, often with Brissett buying time. That's hard for anyone to handle. Clemson does not play many quarterbacks who can do this. Unfortunately, Everett Golson has shown ability to do that provided he starts.

We move the ball right down the field again with three quick 1st downs before we stall in a goal to go situation, field goal from Huegel is good.

3rd drive, 3:23, NCSU 12, 16-13 Clemson lead.

122 Pistol vs 4-3 C3 Sky, fake jet sweep IZ, Reader shoves his blocker back and frees BJ to meet Dayes at the LOS, good to have Reader back, gain of 1...2nd & 9, 113 Pistol vs 4-3 Under SAM fire (Blanks still at SAM), OZ but Blanks destroys the edge immediately, beautiful run blitz, Dayes is met by BJ and half of the defense, loss of 5...3rd & 14, 113 Shotgun vs Dime of Doom with Kearse at SAM, BB bullet, everyone but the corners and safety were in the box bluffing a blitz, Brissett throws to nobody, only receiver in the area was bracketed, PUNT.

This is what we are used to seeing, owning the LOS on 1st & 2nd downs, lockdown coverage and a rushed throw on 3rd. A much needed quick stop after the hectic pace and wild start of the 1st quarter.

Another methodical and efficient drive by the Tiger offense stalls in the red zone thanks in part to a false start. The offense has looked great but must finish drives rather than let a pesky team gain confidence in the close score. Field goal is good.

2nd quarter

4th drive, 11:45, NCSU 18, 19-13 Clemson lead.

1st & 10, 104 Pistol bunch vs Nickel, BCB blitz by Tank who hits Brissett again but still can't bring him down before throwing the ball away (third time), lucky to avoid a grounding penalty there...2nd & 10, 113 Pistol vs Nickel FS fire, (Green bails to cover Samuels running to the flat) ZR keeper and BB whiffs on Brissett, BJ and Dodd bring him down, gain of 5...3rd & 5, 104 Shotgun bunch vs Dime of Doom SAM fire by Kearse, pocket holds and Brissett fits the ball in a TIGHT zone window at the expense of Tank, decent coverage but better throw, gain of 11...

False start, 1st & 15, 113 Shotgun vs 4-3 BJ bullet, jet sweep to Hines who wants to pass back to Brissett, Shaq stayed home and took Brissett away, Hines tries to run but is tripped up by Blanks, loss of 2...2nd & 17, 122 Pistol vs 4-3 over BCB blitz, State runs IZ, Kearse and BJ meet Dayes in the hole, gain of 2...3rd & 15, 104 Shotgun vs Dime of Doom (this time Kearse at WILL, BB at MIKE, BJ at SAM) strong side red dog blitz is picked up but Brissett throws deep way out of bounds, Mack was step for step on the go route...PUNT.

Another relatively quick stop, penalty and blown up trick play were too much for State to overcome. Brissett looks like the best QB we have faced all season, and State has a solid gameplan for our defense.

3 and out by our offense, couldn't overcome a false start on first down despite a bruising 11 yard run from Gallman.

5th drive, 7:27, NCSU 35, 19-13 Clemson lead.

1st & 10, 113 Pistol unbalanced trips (tight end lined up to trips side, leaving the backside tackle theoretically eligible) vs Nickel MIKE bullet from BJ, rollout, Brissett hits the receiver on a deep curl just before Mack gets his hand in, couldn't have been any closer to a PBU. State has been able to find success when lined up in unbalanced sets...

1st & 10, 112 Ace vs 4-3 (ends standing up and Kearse is at LB depth), MIKE bullet, IZ, DTs both get pushed to backside, BJ is double-teamed on playside, clean hole in the A gap, BB meets Dayes head-on, which is good, as most of his help followed a fake jet sweep, gain of 4...2nd & 6, 212 Splitback Shotgun vs 4-3 Bone, strong side red dog overload blitz by Blanks and Kearse, swing pass to strong side, Kearse is too far inside and can't reach Dayes at the corner, BJ forces him out, gain of 5...3rd & 1, 140 Ace vs 5-4 (OD and Blanks at opposite ends of LOS), OD fire blitz, PA bootleg, H-back Samuels slips from the LOS and drags across, BB picks him up but can't keep up, misses dive tackle on sideline, Samuels walks in, TOUCHDOWN.

Tank has been effective at getting pressure but is bouncing off of Brissett. State can run a bit here and there but not consistently. Not a bad drive except for the touchdown, with the H-back being entirely lost amongst the muck on the line of scrimmage. No one besides BB was even in the frame when he got into the endzone, who for all his ferocity is probably the last person we want chasing State's most dangerous player. It's hard to get beaten much worse than that.

The State DL dominated our OL on the following drive, giving up a TFL and monster sack on 3rd & long to force a punt. At this point, Alex was trying to ignore the loud, angry, geriatric State lady a few rows back ask him if he was taken to dinner before he actually let's not finish this sentence.

6th drive, 2:54, Clemson 46, 20-19 State lead.

1st & 10, 212 offset I formation vs 4-3 Bone Man SS fire, IZ, Dodd is sealed on the backside, playside linemen get washed down, State linemen get to second level and push our LBs out, with BJ blocking himself pretty well by running into BB's blocker. Blanks chases from backside, if Green didn't force Dayes back inside it could've been TD. Once again a fake jet sweep opens up opportunities, this time with the entire front seven fooled...

1st & 10, 104 Shotgun vs Nickel, Green walks down showing man but at the snap its C3, Brissett hits the quick comeback before BB can get underneath it, gain of 8...2nd & 2, 122 Pistol vs 4-3 Bone Man C2, shovel option, smacked immediately by Dodd for a loss of 2, excellent play again from Dodd who forced the pitch and made the TFL...3rd & 4, 104 Pistol trips vs Dime of Doom, LBs all fire blitz in front of Man C1, quick swing pass and BJ DROPS THE HAMMER, loss of 8, 4th & 12, FIELD GOAL MISSED.

drop the hammer.gif

We were gashed up the middle again but settled in and forced a long field goal. Wonderful call from BV to stuff the quick swing and force a 40+ yard field goal from a bad kicker. This stop catalyzed the turning point in the game, after which we quickly took the lead before the half and never trailed again. The loss of Matthew Dayes really hurt State on offense. They could have been a touchdown or two better with him in the second half.

2 plays, 73 yards, absolutely beautiful throws downfield. Alex doesn't need to complain about Peake not high-pointing the ball since he worked for separation and hauled it in on the long TD pass. Turning point in the game.

State kneels the ball which brings us to halftime.

3rd Quarter

Clemson went 3 & out to begin the second half, Watson barely overthrew Peake on a 3rd down go route which would've likely scored.

7th drive, 14:17, NCSU 34, 26-20 Clemson lead.

1st & 10, 122 Pistol vs 4-3 Stack BCB blitz, jet sweep motion IZ, Samuels gets the edge but Tank crashes in and trips him, gain of 3...2nd & 7, 113 Shotgun vs Nickel, Green walks up showing Man C1 again but it's C3 Sky, Brissett hits the drag route underneath but is met immediately by BJ, who is causing havoc wherever he is, gain of 1...3rd & 6, 113 Shotgun TE split vs Dime of Doom, BB and Kearse blitz, Shaq gets home but Brissett spins out and is met by Kearse and Watkins for the sack, loss of 5...PUNT.

Tank made a great play on first down to prevent a longer run, we handled the underneath drag route, and the pass rush consistently gets there even if Brissett won't go down on first contact. If MacGuire starts for FSU it's tough to envision him surviving this pass rush behind a spotty FSU OL (Alex covers this tomorrow). Shaq got to Brissett on his own but the blitz cleaned up to force the 3 & out. BJ is showing up wherever the ball is, involved 2/3rds of the tackles and near the others.

Hunter Renfrow makes another great catch on a deep corner route to kickstart a gashing drive. Gallman punches it in, this offense is efficient, Chad Morris must watch this OL and think, "what if?"

8th drive, 8:07, NCSU 25, 33-20 Clemson lead.

1st & 10, 122 Ace vs 4-3, PA bootleg, Dodd misses the sack and Brissett rumbles for a gain of 8...2nd & 2, 113 Pistol vs Nickel BCB blitz, IZ, DL gets washed down and Shaq sits on Brissett until he is sealed by the TE, BB doesn't move laterally in time to fill it, Samuels bursts through until forced out at the 1, gain of 66...State punches it in on the next play, TOUCHDOWN.

Our DL was demolished on this drive. The long run wasn't as embarrassing as the effort on 1st & goal, State moved our guys back at will. We got beat on inside zone right, followed by inside zone left. Thus far this has been the worst defensive performance all year and it all starts up front. Notre Dame put up yards in desperation mode, but couldn't move our DL an inch. State has done so with inconsistent yet alarming success.

Watson cranks up his monster second half with a beauty to Cain. Jaw on the floor.

9th drive, 4:39, NCSU 25, 40-27 Clemson lead.

1st & 10, 122 Ace vs Nickel, PA looking for the deep ball but it's covered, Brissett can't check down before the rush reaches him and he throws it away...2nd & 10, 122 Pistol vs Nickel, Mack and Green come on green dog blitz, IZ, love seeing Mack shove off the TE block and crash on the back with Dodd, no gain...3rd & 10, 113 Shotgun vs a true 3-2-6 Dime (Kearse one of three safeties instead of at SAM), BB and BJ show bullet but back out underneath in quarters coverage, nothing open and Brissett throws it deep out of bounds, Shaq and Wilkins sandwiched him, a smaller QB wouldn't get up...PUNT.

A much needed 3 & out to keep it a 2 score game, Brissett almost is single-handedly giving State a chance with his ability to stay upright. Any other QB would've been rattled by now at the very least. Brissett is a man. He must have been hit as he threw every third time and he's utterly unfazed.

Peake has a great catch and run, Zac Brooks shows why he deserves more playing time with a TD catch on a simple swing pass. Just like that it's a 20 point game and the State student section empties...

10th drive, 1:00, NCSU 31, Clemson 47-27 lead.

1st & 10, 203 Shotgun split vs Nickel FS fire, OZ, blitz by Green occupies lineman and BB is free to stuff Samuels behind the line, loss of 1...2nd & 11, 122 Ace vs 4-3 ILB bullets, PA check down to flat off of a fake jet sweep, they'd been setting it up all day and get a gain of 10...

4th quarter

3rd & 1, 230 I formation (all three TEs to wide side) vs 5-4 (OD in an Under SAM alignment), PA bootleg, Samuels open in the flat for 2 yards...

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 10.01.56 AM.png


1st & 10, 113 Pistol vs Nickel C1 Man, IZ off of jet fake, BJ fills the hole and trips Samuels, gain of 3...2nd & 7, 113 Shotgun vs Nickel, Shaq drops into coverage, Brissett throws comeback into triple coverage and Kearse almost has the pick on the sideline, incomplete...3rd & 7, 113 Shotgun vs Dime of Doom, LBs and Kearse fire blitz but pocket holds, Brissett overthrows receiver....4th & 7, PUNT.

State continues to burn us in short yardage with unbalanced lines and PA flares/drags to Samuels. We defend the deep ball well and force a punt.

Gallman runs hard, too hard and fumbles in a fight for extra yardage. It's tough to ask Gallman to go down when he's never fumbled, but given the situation and the gained first down on the run, he has to be smarter and get to the ground. SUDDEN CHANGE.

11th drive, 13:01, Clemson 39, 47-27 Clemson lead.

1st & 10, empty Shotgun vs Nickel C2 zone, the line runs a "pirate" stunt, Tank closes to tackle the quick out, gain of 2...2nd & 8, empty vs Nickel fire, rolling pocket, quick out incomplete...3rd & 8, 212 split back Shotgun vs 3-2-6, Mack read the screen and blew past 2 blockers to force the incompletion way behind the LOS, that's a bad man...

Mac.gif

4th & 8, 113 Shotgun vs Dime of Doom, LBs fire blitz and force a hurried throw to a covered receiver, but Brissett throws the TE open and he makes a circus catch, another example of the low-percentage plays Brissett converted...

1st & 10, 113 Pistol vs Nickel C1 Man, IZ, gain of 3...2nd & 7, 113 Shotgun vs Nickel, Green showing Robber but we bail to C3 Sky at the snap, TE on the weak side runs untouched up the seam past Green, slips in between Tank and BB in the endzone, TOUCHDOWN.

The drive started off pretty well, the tight end doesn't make that catch nine times out of ten and it ends there. He made the catch this time. Green got beat pretty soundly on the touchdown, giving up inside leverage in the red zone is not good.

We were caught sleeping on the onside kick and were LUCKY it rolled out of bounds an inch or two short of 10 yards. Dabo needs to call timeout there. Fortunately we scored another TD two plays later, Watson to McCloud on a beautiful rollout deep ball.

More special teams blunders, why pooch when Lakip was getting touchbacks more often than not? The upback lateralled to a returner who almost broke another TD...

12th drive, 11:04 Clemson 28, 53-34 Clemson lead.

1st & 10, 104 Shotgun vs Nickel C1, go route to the boundary receiver, Tank is beaten but closes well and almost gets the PBU, great throw and catch, TOUCHDOWN.

Cover 1 is risky in this situation when you know State has to start taking deep shots. Green is in no position to help Tank, who forces the incompletion if it's anything less than a perfect throw. Another low-percentage play rarely converted against Clemson which Brissett nails.

We love Renfrow's aggression to recover the sneaky onside kick. Clemson kills as much clock as possible on a short field before Huegel makes a 22 yard field goal.

13th drive, 5:47, NCSU 38, 56-41 Clemson lead.

1st & 10, 104 Shotgun bunch right vs 4-3 alignment, Blanks fires and Dodd drops into weak side flat, Brissett escapes pressure and throws far side comeback, incomplete...2nd & 10, 113 Shotgun vs Nickel LB bullets, Brisset hits the far side comeback this time, gain of 13...

1st & 10, 113 Shotgun vs Nickel 8 man drop, complete to TE underneath, gain of 5...2nd & 5, 104 Shotgun vs 4-3 alignment, ILB bullets, man C1 behind it, pressure and hit forces a bad throw from Brissett, incomplete, personal foul on BJ for ridiculous targeting call but luckily its overturned, can't survive a half against FSU without BJ, still a bad roughing flag...

1st & 10, 113 Shotgun vs Dime of Doom, LBs show blitz but drop into 8 man coverage, underneath pass dropped...2nd & 10, 104 Shotgun vs Dime of Doom, overload blitz from weak side, crushing sack by BB...3rd & 18, 104 Shotgun vs Dime of Doom, 9 drop, with Watkins spying Brissett, Brissett flushed, BJ chases but is stiff armed in his sack attempt, defensive holding on BB...

1st & 10, 113 Shotgun vs Nickel fire blitz, incomplete in endzone, Tank in coverage and the throw isn't perfect...2nd & 10, empty vs Dime of Doom, Kearse jumps offside...2st & 5, empty vs Dime, overload from strong side, Brissett hits TE out for 1st down off a well run snag pattern...

1st & goal, 113 Pistol vs 4-3 Under, SAM fire, Blanks forces Samuels backwards and pursuit knocks him out of bounds, loss of 5...2nd & goal, 014 empty vs Nickel BB bullet, rollout, crossing route is open but overthrown, incomplete...3rd & goal, 104 Shotgun vs Dime of Doom jailbreak, Blanks has a free shot but whiffs, Brissett steps up, scrambles, and abuses BJ with a stiff-arm, wow, incomplete but WOW Brissett will not go down...4th & goal, 113 Shotgun trips vs Dime of Doom, BB and Kearse both fire blitz, pass to endzone is incomplete, Tank with good coverage, it looks like it was man there TURNOVER ON DOWNS.

Take off your hat for Brissett. Without this man, State is blown out.

NC State's last drive is desperation, we will close here.

Defensive Summary

It was an up and down day for the defense, but not nearly as poor as the score indicates. Special teams and monster plays from Brissett gave State at least half of their points. Giving up two huge runs is a disappointment. Failing to consistently dominate on the LOS is a disappointment. Even with those long runs and Brissett literally carrying his team down the field, Clemson only gave up 100 more yards than its average -- it felt like much more during the game.

Hopefully this was merely a lack of focus and not getting worn down due to poor depth. State was able to run, albeit inconsistently, with most of the damage coming off of big plays on fake wide receiver sweeps. State ran that look all day to try to catch Clemson players following motion and it worked a few times. The loss of Hayes hurt State a lot, the running game was not nearly as strong in the second half.

Brissett was able to make the throws that defensive coordinators bet college quarterbacks can't make and his receivers threw in a few circus catches to boot. Brissett's ability to evade what could have easily been 10 sacks and keep plays alive puts a unique stress on defenses -- especially given that pressure in his face seems to only make him angry. Couple that with the arm strength Brissett has to hit deep throws to the outside and he is special.

With what is at stake, there is no excuse for a lack of focus. A relatively poor performance (by BV standards, not an actual poor performance) was bound to happen, let's hope this week's deceptively decent -- yet still substandard --  performance was an aberration brought forth by a great QB, and that we return to our dominant ways Saturday.

Player Grades

Game Ball: BJ Goodson

All American: None

All ACC: BJ, Kevin Dodd, Mackenzie Alexander

Honorable Mention: Shaq Lawson, Travis Blanks

Solid: Tank, TJ Green, Carlos Watkins, Christian Wilkins, DJ Reader

Less Than Solid: Ben Boulware, Jayron Kearse, Scott Pagano

Past Game Balls: Pagano (Wofford), Boulware (ASU, Louisville), Alexander (ND), O'Daniel (GT), Lawson (BC, Miami).

It hurt to put Boulware and Kearse down there, but they were not up to the usual standard. Pagano was caught with high pad level, getting turned and sealed on the long runs.

FSU this week. Get your orange ponchos before they sell out. If this defense isn't dialed in and angry Saturday, something is wrong. We in the stands must match the intensity on the field.