NC State coach Tom O’Brien pointed to 10 plays that were the difference in last week’s 35-21 loss to Tennessee: Five on defense “that accounted for half the yardage,” and four interceptions and one fumble on offense.
“Those 10 plays dictated the final,” O’Brien said.
How the team responds this week will dictate whether or not the Wolfpack stand a chance on the road against an unranked Connecticut team. There are several teams in the ACC that need to show some resiliency this week, starting with NC State. The Pack had an opportunity to represent the ACC against the SEC on Friday night in a nationally televised game, but made too many mistakes in a 35-21 loss. Maryland beat William & Mary 7-6, but it wasn’t pretty. The Terps and NC State combined for eight turnovers in Week 1.
O’Brien said his team has been focused the past two mornings, but that they have to be even better the rest of the week.
“Every loss concerns me,” O’Brien said. “You have to be concerned right now that we had a chance to do something and we didn’t make it work.”
They’re not the only ones. Boston College lost a tough game to Miami, and Georgia Tech is trying to recover from its 20-17 Monday night loss to Virginia Tech in a game that gave the Hokies the early lead in the Coastal Division standings. The Jackets shouldn’t have much of a problem at home against FCS opponent Presbyterian.
“We’re coming off a very tough, physical football game, a game that was really kind of gut-wrenching for an opening-season game,” said Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson. “… It’s going to be a bounce-back game for us to see how we can handle a little adversity, come home, settle in and see if we can’t play a lot better than we played on Monday night.”
Overall, it was a good opening week for the Coastal Division, but the Atlantic Division has more to prove in Week 2, with losses by Boston College and NC State, and near-misses from Wake Forest and Maryland.
Expectations were higher for the Pack, but the Terps looked about as you might expect, considering 10 potential starters missed the game, including quarterback C.J. Brown, who suffered a season-ending knee injury this preseason. Maryland played 12 true freshmen in its opener, including starting quarterback Perry Hills. Seven players made their first career starts against the Tribe, and the Terps have 14 true freshmen listed on their two-deep depth chart this week, the third most of any team in the FBS behind Colorado (16) and Texas (15).
“We’re a very young team on offense,” Edsall said. “… We just have to make sure we don’t try and do too much, and we do enough to just be able to go out and execute better.”
Better than last year.
Maryland was humbled at home in 2011 with a 38-7 loss to the Owls, who are now in the Big East. It was a surprising upset, as Maryland entered the game 6-0 against Temple. Edsall said the coaches and players remember what happened, but that they have to focus on who they are this year and “go about their business.”
“I think the biggest thing is, that was last year,” Edsall said. “I talked about last year’s game and we have to play a whole lot better than we did a year ago.”
And last week.