Grading the 'Noles: FSU 34 - N.C. State 0

Many of you really enjoyed this column last week, so it will become a regular feature. We take the goals from the game preview and evaluate how FSU fared. This week we take a look at FSU's dominance over the N.C. State Wolfpack.

I hope this will help people keep perspective on the 'Noles.

The defense was tremendous, so we'll start there.

N.C. State was beginning to turn the corner as an offense. Instead, FSU knocked the 'Pack off the road. FSU got the shutout, but even the "0" doesn't do this performance justice.

-Limit N.C. State to less than 5.25 yards/play before garbage time

2.88? Are you kidding me? That is 57% better than the next-closest defensive performance against this offense.

-Allow no more than four plays of 25+ yards

Less than four? Try ZERO. Not only did FSU not allow any plays over 25 yards, FSU allowed none over 20. This, to an offense that loves to go downfield. The coverage was excellent and the defensive line provided constant pressure.

-Hold N.C. State to no more than 50% TDs in the red zone

Incomplete (but not through any fault of the defense). N.C. State never entered the red zone.

-Force two turnovers
Pre-Garbage Time
NCSU FSU
Score 0 24
Plays 56 62
Yards/Play  2.88 5.77
Field Position Own 21 Own 38

FSU forced three turnovers. And while one wasn't exactly "forced," we know that fumble recoveries are a random endeavor. Goal still met. 

This was FSU's best defensive performance in a long, long time. When will people appreciate this defense for the elite unit that it is? Probably never, because idiots [editor's note: some took offense to my use of the word "idiot."] the misinformed still want to blame the defense for the Wake loss when in fact the offense was the culprit with five turnovers, a safety, and a shanked punt. 

Let's talk offense

It was a disappointing effort.

Jimbo Fisher cost his team at least ten points by choosing to not take the safe play (going on 4th and short from midfield). Three times FSU had a great opportunity to keep the drive alive and keep the football. Three times Jimbo quit on the drive. This is potentially very concerning because it could mean that Fisher doesn't understand the value of field position. It's something we'll need to monitor.

FSU should have scored a lot more, given the great field position produced by the defense and the special teams.

Anyway, to the goals.

-At least 6.3 yards/play before garbage time

5.77 won't get it done. Not at home against N.C. State. I thought I was pretty conservative with this goal, and the offense still missed it.

Don't let the full-game numbers fool you. The late-game bomb drive looks great, but it was in garbage time and N.C. State was not at all expecting FSU to throw. 

-66%+ touchdowns in the red-zone

Perfect. Three trips and three scores.

-No more than 1 turnover

1, which was solely as a result of Rodney Smith not being tough. 

-No more than 1 operational penalty (false start, lining up wrong, illegal motion)

FSU had two false starts (Jacob Fahrenkrug and Bobby Hart).

As for the special teams, FSU had a great return, but probably should have had a turnover. I'll review that again in film review, which this week will run Tuesday.

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