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Morris leads Miami to 44-37 win over N.C. State

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N.C. State's Brandan Bishop (30) reacts after tipping a pass that was caught for a 13-yard touchdown by Miami's Rashawn Scott. ETHAN HYMAN

MIAMI — A frustrated and perplexed Tom O'Brien searched for answers after N.C. State's 44-37 road loss to Miami on Saturday.

After all, N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon threw for 440 yards and O'Brien's older team out-rushed a younger Miami team, in the throes of NCAA investigation and a rebuilding project, 224 to 85.

But in the end, a series of defensive miscues, offensive errors and mental vacations cost the Wolfpack (3-2) its opener for the fifth time in six seasons under O'Brien.

"I don't know, in 38 years I've never been involved with a team that made this many mistakes," O'Brien soberly admitted.

One of the ACC's least penalized team a year ago? Flagged 14 times, for 100 yards, in Saturday's conference opener. One of the country's best teams in turnover margin a year ago? Saturday's equation was six giveaways to only one takeaway.

O'Brien, the former Marine who has built his coaching career on discipline, took the blame for his veteran team's problems.

"When we lose, it's on me," O'Brien said. "I've got to do a better job and it's going to start with me."

Miami quarterback Stephen Morris was more than willing to accept the kindness of N.C. State's defense, which was plagued by offsides penalties, missed tackles and blown coverages.

Morris put his name in front of Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar and Vinny Testaverde in the school record book with 566 passing yards and five touchdowns.  The last score, from 62 yards out to receiver Phillip Dorsett, came with 18 seconds left.

Morris threw for touchdowns of 14, 24, 76, 13 and 62 yards. N.C. State cornerback David Amerson, who had rebounded from a tough outing in the opener against Tennessee with three interceptions in the past three games, was in coverage on all five touchdown passes.

Miami's sixth score, a 4-yard touchdown run by Duke Johnson, was set up after Amerson jumped offsides on a field goal attempt.

"We've got guys that are turning around and, you know, you're supposed to be covering a guy," N.C. State safety Brandan Bishop said. "You can't just let him run by you and do it over and over and over again. It's frustrating. It's really, really frustrating."

Despite all of the mistakes, and problems with Morris, Dorsett (7 catches, 191 yards, 2 TDs) and Rashawn Scott (6 catches, 180 yards, 2 TDs), N.C. State still had a chance to win the game.

The Wolfpack, which trailed 23-7 in the first half, tied the game at 37 with 1:58 after scoring 10 straight points.

Glennon finished a 13-play, 97-yard drive — which included a pair of fourth-down conversions — with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Rashard Smith to make it 37-34 at 5:43 in the fourth quarter.

Then after a rare stop by the defense, N.C. State kicker Niklas Sade, who missed an extra point earlier in the fourth quarter, nailed a 50-yard field goal to even the game at 37.

Miami (4-1), which improved to 3-0 in the ACC despite giving up 105 points in those three games, actually punted the ball away on its next possession, leaving 63 seconds until overtime.

With the ball on its own 3-yard line, N.C. State was content to run out the clock and take its chances in overtime. Since Miami's kicker had already missed three field goals, including a 19-yarder, that seemed like the safe play.

But on first down, freshman running back Shadrach Thornton (87 rushing yards) busted a routine run for 20 yards. Given the extra room to work, Glennon decided to take a shot down field to Tobais Palmer, but Palmer broke off the route and Miami corner Thomas Finnie ended up with an interception at the Miami 39-yard line.

"It was a bad mistake by me," Glennon said.

The turnover was compounded when Morris eluded N.C. State's pass rush and Dorsett got behind Amerson for a 62-yard touchdown.

Miami's players celebrated. N.C. State's could watch in disbelief, and wonder where it went wrong.

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Huh?

I didn' see this one, but maybe State was looking ahead to the primetime game against FSU?

I sorta checked in on the game on my phone in the end and two plays baffled me:

  • Miami kicks off and State starts with the ball on like the 2 or 3 yard line?
  • Miami scores on a 62 yard pass play with 18 seconds left?

Amerson

Point shaving?

Point shaving

No way Amerson is doing that, but is he the real deal?
This kid is not what the scouts think, but what the heck Sports getting watered down and hype believed rules the day. Budwiesier and Coors don't care about these kids and if it sells then by all means Profit

Ugh

That's all I could text to my son at the end of the game. No further explanation needed.

I only saw the fourth quarter. State obviously beat themselves. Before the game, I felt the offense would be fine and it was up to the defense to stop Miami. The improvement in the running game is remarkable, but the untimely penalties are horrible. That's mental, not physical.

Same goes for the defense. They did well against the run, but put absolutely no pressure on Moore, who scared the crap out of me. The linebackers were supposed to be the weakness of this team. Not so. The defensive backs were supposed to be the strength. Not so.

I get that the secondary can have problems when the QB has all day. But this group doesn't cover anyone. That last TD was inexcusable. The next to last was bad luck, but good teams make plays. State's secondary has not made plays that an elite group is supposed to make.

As far as Amerson is concerned, he needs to quit reading press clippings (the old ones about how great he is) and get his head in the game. Otherwise, he is going to turn into just another talent that people wonder what happened to.

Very disappointing loss.

Somewhat Cooler

I've somewhat cooled off from that embarrassment of yesterday. However, in an effort to get warmed up for my usual morning run, I'll go over a couple things that happened or didn't yesterday that confound the *bleep* out of me. 

First of all, what the hell is Amerson's problem? He was personally responsible for at least 4 Miami TD's yesterday. I don't get it. How can someone be that far out to lunch on multiple plays? Amerson needs to shut his twitter account down and spend the rest of this season living in the film room. Pathetic. 

Speaking of twitter...My buddy sent me this tweet at the end of the game: "Amerson just got a disassociation letter from Erik Leak. #Pack(ed)up" 

Secondly, how in the hell is the Wolfpack not in a prevent defense at the end of the game? It's not like Miami's kicker was on fire. He was 0-4 on the day. It wasn't a surprise to anyone at home what Miami was going to do at the end, so what the hell was the Wolfpack coaching staff thinking? They WEREN'T. 

Thirdly, I've already said it, but I'll say it again, the penalties. Penalties. Penalties. Penalties. Yesterday's game has to be the most penalties in a game ever for a TOB team. It was like watching the NCSU vs OSU game in Raleigh 8 years ago. Awful. The worst had to have been Amerson's offside that led to another Miami TD. Geez. 

The turnovers are part of the game. The only one that really burns my biscuits is the one at the end of the game. I guess it was a miscommunication between Glennon and the receiver. But that one hurt. 

Welp, in my preseason prognostication I picked State to lose to Miami. I detest being correct witht that pick, especially the way it came about. 

Oh well...on to FSU...the one friggin' game I can make it to this year...

Sloppy game

Yeah, I can't decide which game was sloppier, this one or '09 against Clemson (or was it '08?) Remember that one, when our punter actually punted the ball backwards?

One (or) two simple reasons

Overconfidence (with no basis in reality) or, most likely, lack of mental preparedness or discipline. The second doesn't make sense to me, given TOB's reputation, but there is no denying the results. Pretty much everything you mentioned is the result of someone not having his head in the game. Inexcuseable at that level, especially if you want to compete for a championship.

I'll add one more example to the mix. That last Miami kickoff that was about to go into the end zone. Why doesn't the returner (Palmer, I think) let it go into the end zone and down it instead of fielding it and losing precious seconds and 20 yards of field position. It would still be a miracle for Mike to pull a miracle, but it is that kind of boneheaded decision-making that cost the Pack this game. Until these guys get mentally prepared for every game, they will be a 6-6 to 7-5 team, 8-4 in a good year. Mid-level bowl.

Nobody can guarantee wins, but they can and should guarantee effort and mental preparedness. If you can't or won't, stop talking about championships.

Switch

My buddy asked me this last night: "Do you think it'd behoove the Wolfpack to switch Amerson from CB to FS? He doesn't have the speed for a CB. He's greedy on the pick, and has thus been toasted several times this year. I don't really know what to do, but I do know what they're doing (or not) isn't what works." 

What're your thoughts, JPD? 

Also, I know Amerson's played badly, but I don't buy this whole point shaving  chatter. 

BTW, is Max still held up in the Bell Tower? 

Amerson

I don't buy the point shaving story either, but I don't think a position change is the answer either. Amerson's problem is mental, not physical.

Amerson is not on the same page as the rest of the defense. No one but he knows what's going on in his mind. He could be acting selfishly, trying to build his own stats at any cost. Or he could trying to do too much in a misguided effort to carry the defense.

Whatever his reasoning, it's not working. Right now, he is more than the third best defensive back on the team, behind Wolff and Bishop.

Worst!!

Worst pass defense I have ever seen!! Can we trade them to Elon for their defensive backs!!

Pathetic. They do not deserve to go to a bowl this year. And in front of a national TV audience!!

Worry

If the Wolfpack keeps playing like that, I think a bowl game will be the least of their worries.

For all Game of Thrones fans out there: Winter is Coming for House O'Brien.

Beyond Pathetic

Wow. Seems apt that it ends that way. Beyond pathetic outing by NCSU today. Awful. 

I'm scared to think of how many points the Seminoles are going to run up on NCSU next week. Could it be another 77-7 beatdown? Looks that way.

One thing to remember

State usually follows a bad loss with a good win.

Don't count them out next week.

Make that 4

Make that 4 tds Amerson had a role in allowing a score.

Also, 14 penalties!? Really. WTF. Who decided to let Chuck Amato coach'em up?

Count'em

189 yards on 5 plays with Amerson on coverage, according to the article. Plus the offsides play to add to it rounding out his performence. Although projected as the top corner by many, there were the dissenting opinions, which now are validated. "opportunistic Cornerback who's not as good as his stats would lend one to believe" with a third round possible on the horizon. Only Amerson can decide his fate, but for now all I see, is a player that cheats his position on weak competition and folds against the good athlete's. The scouts have to ponder about whom he will be up against in the NFL.

How?

Can they find another way to loose a game?   A missed Ex point?  if they win it won't be their fault!

pack up and go home

3 quarters of embarrassment!   just pack it up and go back to Raleigh

Amerson

Apparently he went back to watching his highlights from last year. He's cost us at least 3 TD's today with sheer stupidity and laziness. Sit. Him. Down.

Team Game

Don't blame it all on Amerson. Remember, it's a team game. For instance, how does a center snap the ball OVER the outstreched arms of a quarterback who is 6'6"? This happened in the Tenn. game and again in tha Miami game. WTF?

TRUE

Plenty of blame to go around. One less penalty, one less fumble, one less missed extra point, one less doink off a helmet into a receivers hands and the Pack is running out the clock instead turning the ball over trying to get into field goal range. Of course, Miami had many missed opportunities as well. One of the wierder games I've seen in a while.

Still, Amerson is supposed to be an All-American. So the expectation is that you don't have to worry about his performance. He clearly has not met expectations so far. I would also suggest that Glennon's lapses are unacceptable for a QB that is expected to be a high draft choice. I believe that bad snap was high but easily catchable. I seems to me that it went through Mike's hands when he took his eye off of it.

Bottom line is that your best players (which include David and Mike) have to make plays when needed. Amerson has not. Mike has, but he also has flubbed more than he should. Both of those guys have to play at a more consistently high level for the Pack to succeed.

Glennon?

Expected to be a high draft choice? I guess so, if you say so.

We'll see

I just checked. He is the # 11 QB on one board. Didn't 't look much further.

I did think he was projected higher than that though.

A lot of times

Seven or eight QB's is the limit most years. #11 might have to wait till Monday or Tueaday to get a call ...

what a mess

Can they do anything else bad? rediculous!!!

groan!

Sit Amerson on the bench!!!

worst first half I have ever seen!

I don't see #1 on the field. Did coach finally see he was doing NOTHING to help? A Prima Donna for sure. We might be better if he did go pro!

Counting our blessings...

We're lucky to still be anywhere near in this game. Miami missed two easy touchdown passes and two field goals. If State somehow finds a way to win I would give the game ball to Miami.

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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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