You know the drill.
Florida State faced an opponent who whipped them up front, dominated the line of scrimmage and raced out to an insurmountable lead before coasting to an easy victory.
However, we actually have some things to talk about on this edition of film review, seeing as sophomore quarterback James Blackman saw his first real action of the 2018 season. There were some positive things to take away from Blackman’s first start, as well as some negative things.
Plus, there is a video of a puppy at the end of every play break down!
The play: (11:59 - 1st) Reggie Gallaspy II run for 22 yds to the FlaSt 10 for a 1ST down
This play set up NC State’s first score of the game and set the tone for the ease at which the Wolfpack were able to move the ball against FSU.
On 4th and 1, NC State lines up in a heavy formation with running back Gallaspy dotting the I-formation. The receiver on the field side comes in motion across the formation, forcing Asante Samuel Jr. to flip his responsibilities to be the deep safety instead of man-to-man against the receiver. Watch how Stanford Samuels signals on the other side that he has coverage.
Of course, this in turn means that the field side is wide open. NC State has an extra offensive linemen on its left side and the Wolfpack crash down on the snap, opening up a hole for the back. Brian Burns is washed out of the play and NC State gets a key block in the second level against A.J. Westbrook to create a hole big enough for a freight train to run through.
From there, it’s open space for Gallaspy who is tracked down by Samuel Jr., who saves a touchdown.
Look at those puppies. So cute.
The play: (9:40 - 2nd) James Blackman pass complete to Tamorrion Terry for 40 yds to the NCSt 35 for a 1ST down
The play immediately following this was Terry’s long touchdown catch, but this play does a great job of showing his skillset as a downfield receiver.
NC State brings a five-man rush which FSU’s offensive line (shockingly) picks up and creates a clean pocket for Blackman. Arthur Williams does a nice job of picking up the defender on a stunt.
The Wolfpack are running man coverage across the board, meaning Terry has a one-on-one matchup with the cornerback at the top of the screen. Blackman looks his way for the downfield pass and lobs one in his direction.
To be fair, the pass is a little underthrown but Terry does a fantastic job of looking back for the ball and getting his hands underneath it. Watch how the NC State defender actually swats at his arms as well. That’s incredible concentration by the freshman receiver.
You silly puppies, you can’t run a lemonade stand!
The play: (3:42 - 2nd) James Blackman pass intercepted Larrell Murchison return for no gain to the FlaSt 32
This play was perhaps Blackman’s only bad decision in the game.
Facing a 3rd and 5, DJ Matthews comes in motion across the formation. NC State brings a four-man rush initially, but the defensive lineman lined up over Williams drops back into coverage at the last second, either by design or because he sees Blackman’s eyes lock onto Matthews.
Matthews is running a short slant across the middle, a great play design in concept because McKitty has the attention of the defender in that zone which frees up Matthews. This play would have worked if not for the defensive lineman dropping into coverage.
Blackman forces the ball to Matthews, not seeing the lineman dropping. From there, it’s an easy interception for NC State. You can see that Blackman was looking in Matthews’ direction the entire time.
Look at that pupper go!
The play: (13:07 - 3rd) Cam Akers run for a loss of 3 yards to the FlaSt 31
Going for it on 4th down was absolutely the right call here. You’re down 27-14 and NC State is moving the ball at will against your defense.
FSU lines up in a heavy formation, or at least the heaviest the ’Noles can get under Taggart’s offense. McKitty is in at tight end, as well as Gabe Nabers in an H-back role.
Ontaria Wilson comes in motion across the formation, attempting to get the NC State defenders flowing away from the actual direction of the play. Unfortunately, a Wolfpack lineman is able to split the gap between center Alec Eberle and left guard Mike Arnold almost immediately. He’s literally in the backfield before Cam Akers has the ball.
Nabers completely misses the linebacker who is crashing down in the gap vacated by Arnold. That linebacker gets the easy tackle for loss on Akers on fourth down, forcing a turnover.
This play was doomed from the start, not because it was a bad play call from Walt Bell but because NC State’s front seven absolutely whipped FSU’s offensive line and blockers on this play. Had Arnold got a block on the linemen and had Nabers even chipped the linebacker, perhaps this play might have succeeded.
Look at how happy this puppy is! He slid back down the slide!
The play: (4:38 - 3rd) Finley, Ryan pass incomplete to Harmon, Kelvin, PENALTY FLORIDAST pass interference 15 yards to the FLORIDAST10, NO PLAY, 1ST DOWN NCSTATE.
The NCAA rule book starts like this when defining defensive pass interference:
Defensive pass interference is contact beyond the neutral zone by a [defensive] player whose intent to impede an eligible opponent is obvious and could prevent the opponent the opportunity of receiving a catchable forward pass. When in question, a legal forward pass is catchable.
Let’s break this down. Kelvin Harmon easily gets off the jam from Samuels and races downfield on a go route. At about 10-yards down the field, Finley lofts the ball into the air for him.
Harmon puts a stiff arm on Samuels in an attempt to break free, to which Samuels responds by batting his arm away. It’s at this point that Harmon makes a leap for the ball, which he misses with one hand.
The sideline ref, seeing Samuels bat down the receiver’s hand and Harmon going up for the ball while only using one hand, automatically throws the flag.
Was this defensive pass interference? Maybe, but probably not. The very next play is another defensive pass interference call on Samuel Jr., followed by an NC State touchdown. Sometimes things swing your way, sometimes they don’t.
This puppy stole the football! Maybe Florida State can give him/her a football scholarship?