Georgia Tech fans thought if they could get past NC State, the team would cruise to a 6-1 record going into their match-up in Death Valley on October 23rd.
Now, Tech fans aren't sure they can keep Wake Forest and Virginia from lighting up the scoreboard.
Wolfpack quarterback Russell Wilson was outstanding today, throwing for 368 yards and scoring four times (three passing, one rushing) in the 45-28 victory. NC State had over 500 yards of total offense against the much maligned Georgia Tech defense.
The Georgia Tech defense played fairly well in the first half, creating turnovers, forcing punts and holding the Wolfpack to only one touchdown. But they couldn't keep it going as NC State drove down the field with ease in the second half.
The NC State defense held the Georgia Tech offense in check for most of the day, only giving up three touchdowns to the high-powered Yellow Jacket offense.Nesbitt was miserable throwing the ball and the offensive line was getting pushed back all day long.
NC State tried their best to keep Georgia Tech in the game, missing a couple of field goals in the first half and Wilson's interception in the second half to Tarrant that went to the house. But the Georgia Tech offense could not capitalize, especially in the first half.
A few observations
First and foremost, Russell Wilson is a stud. He had another great game and could be on his way to ACC player of the year. He is accurate, athletic, possesses a strong arm, and has pretty good receivers.
-Nesbitt looked terrible throwing the ball. His receivers and pass protection aren't very good but he missed a couple of wide open throws again, which has been pretty standard this year. Which leads me to my next point....
-Tech sorely misses Demaryius Thomas. Stephen Hill has not lived up to the hype yet and the other receivers aren't very talented. Nesbitt doesn't have Thomas to bail him out anymore.
-Al Groh's 3-4 defense regressed as the game went on. Fans thought there would be improvements out of the defense at this point in the season but it's the same story. Missed tackles, blown assignments, no penetration from the defensive line, etc.
-You can't put all of the blame on the defense. The Georgia Tech offense could not do anything in the first half, punting or turning the ball over on their first five drives of the game. After the defense forced Wilson to fumble on their first drive, the offense went three and out. A touchdown on that drive could have set the tone for the entire game.
-The NC State defense is pretty good. They did a great job getting penetration into the Georgia Tech backfield to disrupt the timing of the option plays. Anthony Allen never got going and the Wolfpack took away the pitch for the most part.
-Georgia Tech A-back BJ Bostic looks very good with the ball in his hands. He looks like he could be a big play threat and a guy who can make defenders miss.
Overall, it was one of the most forgettable home losses in recent memory. It was a valiant effort to get the game back to within three points in the fourth quarter, but the defense could not stop NC State in the second half.
Unless there are dramatic improvements on the defensive side of the ball, a return trip to the ACC championship game looks unlikely. With trips to Clemson, Virginia Tech, Georgia, and a home game against Miami, a seven win season looks like a definite possibility.