The game had a disjointed feel on TV and I sense many of you felt that way. In some markets it started late because of the Miami game. We all sat through the rain. Finally others got cut off by hockey starts. Watching the game back uninterrupted it was much more obvious how much BC controlled the game. Even the early scores weren't telling the whole story. BC moved the ball methodically where NC State kept drives alive off of broken plays and near misses. It was no wonder once things settled that we pulled away. The score could have been more lopsided if not for a few BC mistakes and going easy on them late. The USC game was certainly more exciting, but this might have been the better performance.
Where would this team be without Murphy? He's probably our best runner (or at least the one who is able to make something out of nothing) and he made good throws and decisions in the passing game. I never felt he forced anything. I also only counted two zone reads where he handed off and could have run for daylight on his own. The fumbled exchange with Willis wasn't great but that was more due to a good play NC State made.
Hilliman and Willis both got plenty of touches but neither had a perfect day. I liked Hilliman's toughness and willingness to fight and stiff arm for an extra yard. Now he just needs to make guys miss in traffic, so he can really break something. Willis is pressing. He took a big loss trying to make something out of nothing and the fumble was just a bad play all around. Wofford blocked well. I am glad we got Outlow the ball, but he needs some carries too.
Bordner's drop didn't cost us the game but it was still a play he should have made. He looked okay on the other plays. His blocking was good, as always. Alston showed that he could do more than the jet sweep. Crimmins looked better.
The Offensive line was nearly perfect. (I am pretty sure the breakdowns were by design, which I explain in the next paragraph.) Vardaro didn't show any rust. Silberman had one of his better games. Gallik was good. Betancourt was too.
When your biggest problem with the offense is lack of a killer instinct, you don't have real problems. Every time we could have put this game away (like the end of the first half) or a few of the drives in the second half, we would screw up or stall out. While there is blame to share, I still want Day to make things a little more crisp in our two minute drills. Other than that, it was a good scheme. The shovel passes worked well, especially off of the option. We got Alston more involved and gave Murphy some more direct runs. NC State did blow up a few plays when we purposely left a DLineman unblocked, but I think we will adjust. At Oregon Chip Kelly would often leave a big man unblocked if he was away from the action, yet he got burned with it a few times. BC just needs to be more respectful in future scouting of DTs.
Wujciak played well and really kept after Brissett. He hasn't shown that much of a motor so far this year. Mihalik played well too. Obviously the INT was big, but in general he was doing a good job putting pressure on and helping collapse the pocket. Gutapfel also played one of his better games. Kavalec didn't record a tackle officially but was still involved in many of the collapsed pockets.
Keyes gets much of the media attention -- and played well Saturday -- but Daniels made some big plays too. When he's not asked to do too much in coverage he can be very good in stopping the run and getting to the QB. Both LBs were key in the pressure. Sometimes they came on delays. Sometimes on the edge. But it all worked. When we went with 3 LBs, Strizak also got some snaps (and some in place of Daniels) and looked good.
Johnson made the most of his new position and playing time. He made some nice tackles and was good in coverage. Asprilla tackled well and nearly had an INT. Simmons was very active and played well. Sylvia totally missed on one of Brissett's scrambles. Moore was fine. Brown played a bit more and looked ok.
I thought this was the best example of Brown adjusting in game. They moved the ball early by basically picking apart zones and overloading one side with three receivers to only watch one leak and find a soft spot. Our adjustment seemed to be to bring with just four guys by overloading one side or one gap. It worked for the most part and forced Brissett to start making bad throws and bad decisions. I don't know if the coverage improved (it probably didn't) but the pressure increased enough that it didn't matter. That is how the design is supposed to work. Aside from the whiffs mentioned above, the tackling was better. State doesn't have a good offense but they do have a good QB. We brought pressure and that made all the difference.
Special Teams: C
Knoll was steady on his chip shot and I don't blame Howell for missing the long one. Howell's punts are fine. The kickoffs are a disaster. Part of it is his inability to get them deep with hang, but the other issue is the porous tackling. How can you allow one return of 50 and another of 34? We are lucky that neither changed the game. I am really surprised we haven't figure it out yet and fear what we will do when a team has real playmakers back there like FSU.
Alston's long punt return was great. I am glad his first instinct is not just to fair catch it.
As I mentioned in my first postgame reaction, I think Addazio passed a few test with this game. The first was bouncing back on the road following a loss. The second was dealing with the delays and coming out as the more dominant team. Now if he can get the Special Teams fixed and improve the two minute drill, we would really be on to something.
We are now at the midway point of the season sitting at 4-2. The record was very predictable, but our style of play and development speaks to more than that. We should be 5-1 and look like we will be better than the six wins that many of us projected. I am very encouraged by how this season is playing out and hope that we finish the second half as strong as the first.