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Cincinnati embarrasses the Wolfpack 44-14

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N.C. State's Audie Cole (42) and N.C. State's Brandan Bishop (30) walk off the field after Cincinnati's Zach Collaros scored on them during the first half. ETHAN HYMAN - ehyman@newsobserver.com

CINCINNATI — If it could go wrong for N.C. State on Thursday night, it did.

Cincinnati turned the national showcase game on ESPN against the Wolfpack into a national embarrassment with a 44-14 bludgeoning at Nippert Stadium.

N.C. State (2-2) was hoping for a bounce-back from a loss in its first game against a major Division I opponent this season, instead it took a step back with a barrage of turnovers and mental miscues.

The stat to best sum up N.C. State's performance? Minus-26 rushing yards, compared to 242 for the Bearcats (3-1).

Four games into what was supposed to be a successful season for the Wolfpack, it has a pair of home wins over lower-level Division I teams and road losses to teams that went 3-9 (Wake Forest) and 4-8 (Cincinnati) a year ago.

Everything was going right for the Bearcats, who even got a 76-yard punt in the first half and two dropped interceptions by State's defense. Running back Isaiah Pead led the Bearcats with 167 rushing yards and a touchdown (he also caught a touchdown).

Only an 87-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mike Glennon to receiver T.J. Graham, salvaged an otherwise untenable first half for the Wolfpack, which turned the ball over three times and trailed 21-0 before Graham's first home run.

Glennon (25-36, 334 yards) and Graham (seven catches, 176 yards) connected on a 49-yard touchdown in the third quarter but there was not enough in between for the Wolfpack to repeat last year's 30-19 win in Raleigh.

When the teams met a year ago on ESPN's national game in September, it was State that emerged with a momentum-building win in a 9-4 season. The defensive improvement, and execution, that marked State's successful 2010 season was a distant memory on Thursday night.

The Bearcats rolled up 505 total yards of offense, and, like Wake Forest did on Sept. 10, jumped on early defensive mistakes to build a big early lead.

Pead scored from 2 yards out for Cincinnati's first touchdown, which was set up by safety Drew Frey's interception of Glennon.

Quarterback Zach Collaros hit receiver Kenbrell Thompkins on a 44-yard pass down the left sideline in a breakdown in pass coverage on the Bearcats' second scoring drive. A roughing-the-passer penalty on defensive end Darryl Cato-Bishop on third down, inside State's 20-yard line, was also a key play on the drive, which ended with a 13-yard touchdown scramble by Collaros.

A feeling of helplessness set in for State in the second quarter, with defensive end Brian Slay injuring his right ankle. The Wolfpack defense was already missing three starters — including defensive end Jeff Rieskamp who was expected to play but missed his third straight game with a shoulder injury — needed walk-on Jacob Kahut to plug a hole on the defensive front.

Cincinnati made it 21-0 after an interception by linebacker JK Schaffer. Collaros capped a 12-play drive with a 10-yard touchdown run.

The Wolfpack couldn't respond on offense, with Glennon throwing interceptions, Graham fumbling and a running game going backwards (minus-21 yards in the first half).

State finally made a positive play at 5:41 in the second when cornerback David Amerson intercepted Collaros at the State 4-yard line.

The Pack got a quick strike when Glennon hit Graham on an out route and Graham broke away from corner Camerron Cheatham and out-sprinted the UC defense, about 70 yards, to the end zone.

The Bearcats still had time to tack on a 26-yard field goal from Tony Miliano before the end of the second quarter for a 24-7 halftime advantage.

It was 34-7 before Glennon and Graham found the end zone again but Cincinnati scored the next 10 points to complete the blowout.

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The problem

Simple- TOB.

For a guy who is supposed to be so well-organized and disciplined, his team is the exact opposite. Where to start?

  1. Horrible performance by the O-Line. Much, if not all, of the problems with the offense are right here. Coaching up this unit is supposed to be one of TOB's strengths. Yet, as a unit, they are terrible. I don't buy that it is lack of talent. Robert Crisp was one of the mostly highly sought-after recruits in his class and he can't crack the starting lineup. The problem is conditioning (including strength), preparation and attitude. That is on the coaches generally, TOB in particular.
  2. Lack of improvement on defense. Despite the injuries on the D-Line, which definitely have an impact, the defense simply looks lost and demoralized. I am not a good X and O guy, but even I can see that players are out of position and too easily fooled. They just scramble around and hope for the best, making mental mistakes and missing tackles along the way. That is when they are not being penalized for stupid mistakes like the late hit that kept Cincy's drive going for the second (I think) TD. If the defensive coaches are preparing these guys for their opponent, it is not obvious to me.
  3. Lack of intensity and drive. It was obvious to anyone watching that Wake and Cincy came ready to play and State didn't. The difference in energy level was stark. For all the crap spewed by the typical announcer, successful football comes down to two things-intensity and fundamentals. You have to want it more than your opponent. And you have to do the basics well-blocking and tackling. Bundle solid execution with controlled intersity and you win. A lot. I see none of this in this current Pack team.

I have seen some posts elsewhere suggesting that TOB has lost this team. One example cited was when Glennon came off the field after one of many 3 and outs and walked past TOB, who was trying to say something to him. At least one poster suggested that the atmosphere was the same last year, but that RW and Nate Irving bridged the gap and provided the necessary leadership to overcome the problem. Can't say if this is true, but I have to admit that it seems plausible to me.

I hate to say this, but I get the feeling that TOB has lost his drive and is counting down to retirement. If I am right, we have a problem, because I don't know that TOB is planning to retire any time soon. One thing I do know, this team looks like the football version of the Pack's basketball team last year. Listen to TOB's press conferences and the tone is eerily similar to Sid PCs last year. How this year's hoops season is going to turn out is yet to be determined, but it has been refreshing to listen to a coach speak with passion about his program. If TOB doesn't (or can't) demonstrate that same passion for Wolfpack football, it's time for a change. 

 

    

Wow

Usually I give up on a coach/team way before JPD does!

I really don't think it's time to panic.  And I disagree with the notion that TOB has lost this team.  One 5 second clip on the sidelines of Glennon walking past the coach means nothing to me.  Glennon was understandably frustrated; he had a bad game on national television as did the rest of the team.

 

Is this team just like Amato's last team?  or Sid's last bball team?

I don't think so.  It looks more like TOB's 2009 team.  TOB has control of the team, he just isn't producing a winning team.  Looks like a 5/6 win season to me right now.  But I will say this:  do not underestimate the impact of all the injuries on D right now, and don't underestimate the impact of all these players returning in a few weeks.  This team will look completely different come mid-October.  7 wins is still very possible, so I hope the team isn't giving up like many of our fans already have (not a shot at you JPD -- you are one of the best and most loyal fans).

We need all the help we can get next week against GT, and I hope you keep the streak alive JPD!  I know almost everyone will be predicting an UGLY blowout, but just like every underdog in every game ever played, State will at least have a chance.  They need to keep that in mind this week during practice.

 

As far as TOB needing to have passion, I think he has all the passion we need in our football team.  Many people say that the man is boring and dull, but I disagree.  Sure, there aren't going to be many exciting interviews and press conferences when the team is playing like $hit, but go back and look at TOB's commentary over the years, especially in big games and against UNC.  Despite what people say, I do see TOB showing emotion on the sidelines from time to time.  Personally, I like having a coach that can compose himself even in the heat of the fire.  I don't want a guy that's got veins popping out of his neck every 5 minutes as he's yelling at and spitting on his players.  Remember all that "passion" that Amato had?  No thanks.

You're simply putting on a good face here

The team sucks and you know it. Just give up on your team like Yar8pack has.

Prediction

Here's a thought for ya. In the upcoming game between State and GT, GT will only convert about 8 third down plays. Think about it.

Seems high

Some would say they won't convert any, because they will score at will.

maybe

Yep, I thought about that, but our good friend Paul, likes to milk the clock as well. So I figure he would have to throw in a few short yardage gains on a first or second down or two.You know, just to rest his defense.

We'll see

Last time I saw him in person, he coached Navy to its first win over Notre Dame in something like 40 years. I was rooting for him that day. Not this Saturday.

Give up

I haven't given up on the Wolfpack, I just realize there are a lot of problems with this team--hence my extended posts pointing out said problems. If you need a refresher: With the large amount of injuries on this team and the o-line sucking and the d-line needing fresh bodies, I don't really see anything changing any time soon. What you call giving up, I call reeling in expectations and re-evaluating said expectations, a la keepin' it real.

Hell, I predicted a 7-5 finish before the season started. I knew the Wolfpack wouldn't be as good as some foolishly thought, but I dang sure didn't think they'd be this bad.

One thing is for sure, you and surfer haven't given up on NC State. You two lil trolls love it over here. And to think, only one of you supposedly went to unc-ch(eat). Tsk tsk.  

trolling

Hey, it's cheap enterntainment.

Only one of you supposedly went to UNC

In a word, "so."

doubtful

Probably not going to happen. They'll get their injured guys back, start winning a few games and be the next best thing to sliced bread. Remember, all that is needed for a successful season is beating UNC.

The team sucks right now

That doesn't mean they have to continue to suck. I'm thinking if they can get some of these guys back, they'll get better. No one from Campbell should be out there playing on the field for the wolfpack.

Wow indeed

Definitely role-reversal going on here.

As you know max, I won't ever give up on the Pack. The lack of energy and mental toughness that has been lacking this year has me very concerned though. I totally understand being out-manned, but they have been outcoached and looked overwhelmed, which just shouldn't happen year after year.

That said, TOB has more than a week to prepare his team for what is going to be a tough test. This should give us a good idea of whether TOB and the Pack can rebound.

outcoached and overwhelmed

Blame this one on me fellas. Apparently, TOB was reading my earlier posts, talking about the first six games being glorified scrimmages, etc... Sorry about that.

Unfortunately

I spent the weekend at Emerald Isle with all the rain. You, on the oter hand, might have enjoyed it as the waves were bigger than normal.

Your Last Paragraph

A quick summary about the possible demise of interest--This is taken from Statefansnation:

In five years, TOB is 8-16 (.333) on the road with a loss to ECU. Take out last year and he’s 4-13 (.235). He’s 0-11 against division opponents on the road. This while having Russell Wilson at QB for 3 years. He does not fire up his team to perform on the road. And his record is not stellar at home considering some of the cupcakes we play every year. He’s never beaten Clemson or Boston College. He’s beaten FSU, Wake, and Maryland once each. His record against our division is 3-18. 3-18 (.142 winning percentage against our division opponents!)!!! I REPEAT —- 3 wins against division opponents in over 4 years! Thank goodness for Butch (and Russell). 

One correction

He has beaten BC once-last year at home. That doesn't render the entire commentary invalid though. Whether he wants to admit it or not, TOB is in trouble. I hope I am wrong, but I don't see a magical run toward a successful season. This season so far not only has the feel of Sid's last season, but Amato's as well.

There is one thing TOB has going for him. I am making my annual visit to Raleigh for the Ga Tech game. The Pack has never lost with me in attendance. So if they pull off the upset, I am taking the credit.

My bad

I edited the originally lengthy post I took from State Fans Nation a lil too much. I mistakingly took out the part that says TOB has never beaten BC in Mass.

JPD, I didn't know you had any eligibilty left and would be taking the field for the Pack when you visit. :-D Wish I could make it to the game, but I promised my ECU buds I'd be in Greenville for the game against unc. Would like to meet up and share an adult beverage with ya. Safe travels upon your trip.

Enjoy

Chances are you're gonna see a better game than I will, but you never know. Looking forward to a weekend of football, hanging out with my son. It doesn't get much better than that, except when we are hanging out on a Siesta Key beach, looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. Have fun.

Atlantic Ocean?

Yep, the geography police have arrived. If you are on a Siesta beach and looking out over the water, then that would be the Gulf of Mexico, ;) haha. Unless of course you are really, really tall and facing east, then yes, if you can see water, that would be the Atlantic Ocean. Yeah, I know they are connected, yada, yada, yada. But next time you are down there take a little poll asking the folks around you, "is this the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico?"

Of course, hanging out with your son, it makes no diff., it's all good.

Apparently

You were riding the waves when it was firmly established on this site that the Gulf of Mexico is in fact the Atlantic Ocean. Hence, it is appropriate for Texas to join the ACC.

I believe YAR8Pack was the first to raise this point, after which it was thoroughly vetted by several posters. I am not sure we actually resolved the Gulf vs. Ocean issue, but we certainly proved that posters on this site are intellectual on multiple levels. 

Surfing

If I was, then it was in the Atlantic Ocean, not the North Sea.

cow college!!!!

THE ENTIRE SPORTS PROGRAM IS "PATHETIC".  QUIT EMBARRASING THE ACC AND GO TO THE MID-AMERICAN CONF. IF THEY WILL LET U IN. GO DUKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Nice post

But in a word... is it basketball season yet? Just kidding, been there, done that.

Realistically, there is still a lot of FB yet to be played. It seems like TOB's teams have never really been that good in September and usually improve towards the end of the season. I am sure everyone will be back and they will be in top form come November 5th.

Ha!

Go look at Statefansnation right now.  They changed it to Badgerfansnation.

wow

they have a preview of the South Dakota/Wisky game upon the board !

That's funny to me, but if I were a state fan it would be humiliating and embarrassing.  I couldn't imagine a UNC site changing to Catawbafannation a couple of years back.

Simple assessment of the Pack

IMHO, it's not very difficult to see what's wrong with the Pack right now, but for some reason, I haven't heard a lot of people talking about it.

I've watched all 4 games.  Obviously we just have better athletes as a whole than Liberty and USA, and TOB has done a good job here of making sure not to lose these games against FCS teams (some coaches I can't say the same for).

 

The Wake and Cincy games exposed the crucial flaw of this team to me:

Our decimated D-line coupled with idiotic playcalling.

If I'm counting correctly, we are now down 5 defensive linemen, including the defensive captain.  Last night we had to burn a redshirt and we played a transfer from Campbell, just so we could have somebody play the position.  Sure, this is killing us right now, but injuries should not cause us to be playing this poorly.  The reason for these two bad losses is playcalling.  With our crippled D-line, we obviously aren't getting penetration with our front 4, so we have decided to bring linebackers and DBs on the blitz nearly EVERY freaking play.  But guess what?  We still aren't getting the penetration we need and it's leaving receivers wide open to torch our secondary.  For some reason, we have refused to go away from this gameplan that obviously isn't working.  If State wants to win right now, they have to stop blitzing so much!  Just rush 4 and sometimes 5, and let the LBs and DBs sit back and actually have a chance to cover.  Over and over and over again we are dialing up blitzes and getting embarrassed because of it...even the usually incompetent ESPN announcers were able to pick up on this last night.  STOP BLITZING SO MUCH!  It's not working, and it certainly isn't making up for all our injuries up front.

I know everyone is probably dreading the GT game next weekend, but hey, at least the strategy when playing their unique offense is to not blitz very often.  I'd rather see us get beat on the ground next weekend playing assignment football as opposed to sending futile blitzes and getting torched through the air over and over.

I fully expect the defense to play much better once the starters come back, but for right now, we have to recognize what is working and what isn't.

Rece Davis

Bottomline: When Rece Davis calls out the definition of insanity--i.e. NC State blitzing all the damn time with no result other than getting burnt for big yards, there's a problem.  

Understand the point

But, for all that was wrong with the Pack in the game, I am not sure I can blame them for continuing to try to exert pressure by blitzing. Why? Because the alternative is giving a good QB all the time in the world to hit guys who have all the time in the world to get open. Either approach is doomed to failure. The only solution is to get enough guys on the D-Line healthy enough to apply pressure with occasional help from blitzing LBs.

This was happening in both

This was happening in both the Wake and Cincy games.

I understand that you don't want to give a QB all day to throw, but my point is that even when we blitz, the dude has all day to throw!  I honestly think we would have been better off in both games if we called less blitzes as the game went on.

I completely respect your opinion JPD, but I do think that this was one of the major problems in our two losses.  And it's one reason that I think we at least have a shot at GT -- shouldn't be blitzing their option offense anyways.

gt

You have a shot at GT... they are on your schedule.

I would like to see the Pack beat them, but for that to happen both teams would have to change drastically.

Assignment

Containing GT's option attack is all about knowing the assignments and being quick to get set for their hurry up offense, two things the Wolfpack haven't shown the ability to do this year. Lots of studying and soul searching needs to be done this week for the Jacket attack.

GT

Oh yeah, it will definitely be a huge challenge for this team.  I'm sure we will get burnt with the deep pass once or twice, and possibly a long TD run.  I'm just much more comfortable watching the Pack try to stop the run right now as opposed to trying to stop a passing team.  And hey, at least GT's offense will run the clock down, thus shortening the game lol.

I don't know.

The Pack's secondary is probably already having nightmares about Stephen Hill.

Did you see that sideline catch he made in the first half?

Secondary nightmares

I was at the game in Raleigh years ago with my dad, when Calvin Johnson made a ridiculous catch and helped beat us.

 

I did see the catch Hill made on the sideline today.  I also saw the wide open TD that he dropped, and then he proceeded to fake a leg injury haha.

Missed the second half

Switched over to the YSU game, although now that I think about it I could have streamed them both. Oh well.

Also

The DB's look completely lost and out of position ALL THE TIME.  They have absolutely no clue how to run a zone D.

very good

Bottom line: TOB does not have the best FB program in the State. No worries, I won't ever let that one die.

Of course miracles do happen and he could turn things around this year, but I think that is exactly what it will take.

An Extended Quote

This guy says it a whole lot better that anyone I've so far read:  

Quick Thoughts?
- I figured we’d lose. I didn’t think we’d get destroyed.
- Our OL is horrible. They’ve been horrible every year under TOB. We’re in year 5 and these are his players. This was supposed to be his strength. This is the single most telling thing to me that something is seriously wrong.
- We’re so one dimensional on offense because we create zero push on the ground. We also line up a light back behind it that needs space to operate. This is a woefully bad combination. I can’t blame Bible for throwing when we can barely rush to the line of scrimmage.
- The defense is just atrocious. Archer should have never been hired from day 1 and I don’t expect TOB to make a change. We’ll have him until TOB retires. At the same time, I wonder what the heck Tenuta is doing (besides calling blitzes every single play and delayed blitzes on 3rd and long).
- We had virtually zero margin of error last night and had 5-6 major mistakes in the first couple of offensive and defensive series. Our team wasn’t ready to play.
- Our recruiting is awful and it shows on the field. 

-Our strength and conditioning {is} terrible.
- TOB got blasted again. He’s had as many bad losses in his tenure here as MOC. For all that we slam Amato for, I think he only had about five games that he lost by more than 13 points. We might have 5 this season alone.
- We’re in year 5 and despite playing some extremely weak teams in the non-conference, TOB’s record is exactly .500. It feels to me like we’ve hired Dennis Erickson.
- TOB’s NC State teams have been horrible in September and this season is no different. We look like we’re in desperate need of the bye week and a chance to regroup.
- Unless the kids get healthy and things improve drastically, this is going to get really ugly. As of right now, I only see about 3 more winnable games on the schedule (BC, CMU and possibly UVA). End up with a losing season and I think that TOB retires.
 

spot on

Except the part about TOB retiring. Could happen, but seems like he still has a good enough amount of support in West Raleigh. I give him another 2-3 years.

I think 1 more

He definitely wont get fired this year, even with only 4-5 wins.  Next year though, he will have to win 8+ to keep his job.

retiring

Yep, but I was keying in on the word "retiring", I don't see that happening. Of course it is just semantics if he is "forced to" etc...

Here's a surprise for you.

I think TOB has already checked out. Not officially, but in spirit.

Compare the body language of State's players last night to TOB's. Exactly the same. Shoulders slumped, expressions that screamed "what is the next bad thing that is going to happen to us".

I'll get into what I think the real problem with this team is in a separate post, but suffice it to say that it begins and ends with TOB.

Could be

I never really paid attention to that. Basically, I thought his demeanor was always the same regardless of what was happening, maybe that is a problem too. The announcers kept talking about a lack of leadership and I guess that should all begin w/ TOB.

bowl oppurtuntiy going out the window ...

1-2 to date

only one of the wins over Liberty/USA count towards the eligibility of a bowl game bc they are 1-AA wins.

As ugly as it has been you have to ASSume CMU is a win. 

so there are two wins.

you still need FOUR wins in the ACC to get to the Emerald Bowl out in San Fransisco.  Where are these four wins coming from ?  All of a sudden i'm seeing a ceiling of FIVE wins that count towards bowl eligibility.

Anybody ?

cereal?

I don't know, a box of Lucky Charms?

No, seriously.... a box of Lucky Charms?

Oh, okay, how about CMU, UVA and Boston College. Then add the Terps, because of their uniforms. And, well, throw in UNC (because, "we're NC State, that's what we do here..")?

Yum

This crow is tasty. So much for my 6-0 (or 5-1 even) prediction for the Pack. I honestly thought that the early part of the schedule was soft enough for MG to get comfortable and settle in, but a lack of depth, execution and basic defense from the team as a whole was pretty poor. I only saw some of this game, but what I saw was U-G-L-Y. From the uniforms to the lack of defense. I don't know if Cin is that good, but they sure looked like it. I was really hoping that State would make a game of it and show some fight rep. the ACC, but ole TOB looked flustered and frustrated. Not pretty. Perhaps MG is wishing that he had transfered to Wisc.?

Agree with Will, TOB may have to find a way to beat UNC (not saying it will happen) to save his job (although regardless, I think he has a few more years).

With some returning off the injury list they should bounce back, but improving on last year's 9-4 seems a bit of a stretch at this point.

all aboard!

Tickets! Tickets for the Doom and Gloom ship! Leaving harbor shortly!

Seriously, does anyone see a win in the Wolfpack's future? Looking less and less likely at this point. NCSU is just awful. I don't care if Russell Wilson were still on the team, he couldn't play D or o-line--exactly what the Pack needs. This current team, if it can be called that, looks eerily similar to the junk team that took the field in 2009. Though the 2009 team was way better at this point in the year.

Go Pack. Just go somewhere.

3 more wins

Central Michigan

Boston College

UNC (somehow we will win this game, just to save TOb's job)

The real problem is that there is not enough talent in NC for all 5 D1 program, and Butch Davis signed the best of it over the last couple years.  This left us with no depth.  I actually feel bad for Glennon at this point.  He has no Oline, no running game and terrible receivers.  

Feel bad for Glennon ??

He threw two int's last evening; one of them slid out of his hand and the other was just inexcusable when he couldn't see the defender less than two ft away from the receiver ? He should have thrown a third, but the Natti safety simply dropped it out of sheer shock that Glennon had poorly under thrown the football and with no air underneath it. The guy locks in on whoever he is gonna throw to. Not good. He also can't seem to throw the ball more than about eight yards. Thats just about where all his passes were conpleted to.

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About the blogger

Joe Giglio covers the ACC for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1997.
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