CFN Analysis - NC St Beats Up UofL In Belk
Posted Dec 27, 2011

CFN Breakdown & Instant Analysis on the 2011 Belk Bowl

CFN Analysis   

NC St 31 ... Louisville 24

By Pete Fiutak

- The Louisville offensive line needs to pay for a day spa package for Teddy Bridgewater. The freshman quarterback took a major pasting and kept on fighting. It's not like his toughness was in question before, but he should command the team's full respect going into the offseason. He'll need the time off to recover.

- The NC State five sacks are just the beginning of the story. The defensive front camped out in the backfield with Audie Cole battering Bridgewater and the D ended up making play after play behind the line.

- The three picks from Bridgewater are forgivable. He had to try to make things happen in the comeback attempt.

- Tom O'Brien in bowl games is magnificent, and he has the right to be a bit cocky going into next year. He returns a loaded team with a defense that should be special. The receiving corps will be a work in progress, but quarterback Mike Glennon has proven he can be a leader who can come up with wins.

- He needs his offensive line to generate more of a push for the running game, though. The Cardinal defensive front didn't get moved around.

- It was a strange end coaching-wise. Charlie Strong blew it by attempting an onside kick with over three minutes to play – even though his defense was getting the job done and he had two time-outs in his pocket – and then O'Brien returned the favor by going for it on fourth down when the ground game hadn't come up with anything all game long. In the end, the Wolfpack defense bailed out the bad coaching move.

- The Cardinal defense is going to be serious next year. Remember, the line started three underclassmen, both outside linebackers are back, and the entire secondary returns. This D should be enough to dominate the Big East.

- And by then, Bridgewater should be 100%.

By Richard Cirminiello 

A big chunk of the country learned this evening what the ACC already knew—NC State CB David Amerson is a rising superstar on defense. Oh, not only is the well-sized sophomore dynamite in coverage, but he also knows what to do with the ball in his hands. His second-half pick six from 64 yards out was a thing of beauty, the type of navigation you'd expect to see from an All-American punt returner.

I love the throws and the reads of NC State QB Mike Glennon, who has the right skill set—mentally and physically—to be one of the game's breakout stars in 2012. Very quietly, the junior finished his first season as a starter with 31 touchdown passes and a dozen picks. With a little more support, he could have NFL GMs swooning by this time next year.

The wiry frame. The poise at such a tender age. The prior stint at Miami Northwestern. Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater was plenty tough in Charlotte, but I can help but see the second coming of Jacory Harris. I hope for the Cardinals' sake that the similarities between the passers are merely a coincidence.

Charlie Strong has a nice thing going at Louisville. Now all the second-year head coach needs is an influx of talent, preferably on both lines. The Cards got to this point with hard work, good coaching and determination, but reaching another level of success will require a lot more seasoning and some better ingredients.

The Wolfpack defense, much as it's done all year, harassed an opponent for all 60 minutes of its Belk Bowl victory. Coordinator Mike Archer called a great game, turning loose the speed of Terrell Manning, Audie Cole and the rest of an attacking D that was too frenetic and assertive for the youthful Cardinals attack.

This was a huge win for embattled NC State's Tom O'Brien. Actually, the entire second half of the season was a relief for the head coach, who desperately needed to carry some momentum into 2012. His Pack finished 6-2, including wins over Clemson and rival North Carolina, and loses just nine seniors to graduation.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee

- The clock management employed by Charlie Strong and Tom O'Brien would make the 2009 version of Les Miles very proud. Guys, what are you doing?

- Teddy Bridgewater is one tough kid. The Louisville quarterback got hit all night - sometimes very hard - but hung tough all night. You saw the maturation of Bridgewater tonight. The guy is going to be a stud.

- Did Louisville block anybody yet? Nope? Well, at some point, it has to happen, right?

- If you didn't know N.C. State defensive back David Amerson before, you do now. Amerson set the ACC record for interceptions in a season (12) with a pick six in the third quarter, and then added lucky No. 13 on a Hail Mary late in the fourth quarter.

- Wolfpack quarterback Mike Glennon has been solid all season, and he went out with a bang against the Cardinals. Glennon lived in Russell Wilson's shadow in Raleigh, but it was nice to see him finally make a name for himself late in the 2011 campaign.

- Were these thoughts too long? Don't blame CFN. Charlie Strong should have called timeout earlier, but inexplicably, he didn't.

By Russ Mitchell

- Next year Louisville is going to try something new and play with five offensive linemen.

- Staying with that, if you think Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson took a beating this season and kept getting back up, may I introduce you to Cardinal freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. I recommend you get to know him quickly…with that offensive line, there's no guarantee how long he'll be around.

- Shame on you, Roberto Durán.

- So much for the defensive battle we were expecting. So much for Louisville's banged up defensive line returning healthy to put pressure on NCSU quarterback Mike Gleason.

- While we're at it, so much for NCSU playing offense in the second half. After a dominating first thirty minutes, the Wolfpack combined for just 117 yards of offense and a field goal in the second stanza (the touchdown was a 65 yard interception return by the future NFL millionaire, David Amerson).

- No truth to the rumor that Bridgewater asked coach Charlie Strong to suit up and play Left Tackle for him.

- We give Strong credit for the fake punt and first onside kick in the third quarter. The second onside kick in the fourth made me wonder if he'd just sucked down an ice cold Slurpee too quickly. I thought to myself, self, no way we're going to see a bigger bonehead coaching move this bowl season.

- Until Tom O'Brien inexplicably went for it on fourth down and two from the Cards 33 with 1:35 to play, when Louisville needed a touchdown to tie.

- Who thinks NSCU would look good playing in the SEC East?

Follow me on Twitter @RussMitchellCFB

By Terry Johnson
Please follow me on Twitter @TPJCollFootball

- For all of the criticism that Tom O'Brien has endured throughout his tenure in Raleigh, no one can criticize his preparation for bowl games. After tonight's win, O'Brien has a career record of 8-2 in bowl games.

- Mike Glennon earned the game ball tonight by completing 21 of 33 passes for 263 yards and 3 TDs. While many criticized the O'Brien's decision to release Russell Wilson, Glennon's play this season made this choice a "win-win" situation for everyone.

- The turning point in this game came in the third quarter. With Louisville on the move, David Amerson made a spectacular interception and returned it 64 yards for a TD. This pick gave the Wolfpack an insurmountable 31-10 lead.

- Why was Louisville throwing the ball near Amerson, considering that he has more picks than most teams in the FBS?

- The Wolfpack front seven deserves a lot of the credit for the interceptions. NC State sacked Teddy Bridgewater five times, including twice in the final series with the Cardinals threatening to tie the game. Even when they did not get the sack, they still managed to hit Bridgewater hard.

- Despite all of the hits that Bridgewater took tonight, he still hit 24 of 43 passes for 273 yards. Under Shawn Watson's tutelage, he should develop into one of the top QB's in the Big East next season.

- Louisville fans had better enjoy having Charlie Strong on the sidelines while he is still there. After NC State jumped ahead by 21 points, Strong pulled out all of the stops to keep the Cardinals in the game. Faced with a fourth and 5 in their own territory, he called a fake punt, which caught NC State completely off-guard and set up a TD to cut the lead to 31-17. On the ensuing kickoff, Louisville flawlessly executed an onside kick. Even though the Cardinals failed to convert this recovery into points, Strong deserves a lot of credit for taking the practice time to work on special teams. It is this type of attention to detail that will land him a job at a big-time program one day.

Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN

-Ohh..Tom O'Brien--were you trying to make this game exciting? Up by seven points with just under two minutes to go, you go for it on fourth down near midfield and play career roulette by not playing the filed position game. Despite the brain cramp, It worked out in your favor, but coaching 101 says you punt that ball away and make the opposing offense go the length of the field..

- Nevertheless, congrats to NC State for winning four of its last five--one of them over a very solid Clemson team.

- Keep an eye out for NC State in 2012. If it can replace the starting QB--and that's a big if, then the team should be solid enough to make some noise in the Atlantic Division. Clemson will be good again, and FSU might finally realize that it has more talent than anyone in the league, but the Wolfpack are ending the season with momentum and have a veteran club coming back. Maybe football can become popular again on Tobacco road?

- The game ball goes to TJ Graham of NC State. On a day when running the ball was clearly not working or the priority, he provided the needed spark on the receiving end of Mike Glennon's solid efforts. The 6'0", 180 lb. senior finished with seven receptions for 115 yards (16.4 avg.), and 2 TDs.

- You have to believe that the future is bright for Louisville freshman QB Teddy Bridgewater. Sure the three picks this game won't do him any favors in garnering respect from the national media, but the kid certainly possesses the moxie and talent to continue to improve on his freshman campaign.

- It's hard to understand why NC State can't become a better program than it is. It sits in one of the most populous states--a state where there is not a bona-fide college football power. With UNC getting ready to fall into a coma, and with Duke, and Wake Forest being who they are, the baton is there to run with if the Wolfpack can build on the Tom O'Brien era and lock down the state in recruiting while nabbing a few out of state blue chippers. There have been flashes, but there needs to be a couple of getting-over-the-hump years consecutively. Just ask Chuck Amato..

- Okay Big East, you're on trial here and so far the prosecution is lighting you up. It was another reputational hit type of year because of the mediocrity during the regular season, you've gone out and recruited nearly anyone with a football program to join the league--geography be damned, and it won't be enough to bank on the new kid in school--Boise State being the flag bearer. You need to start winning--yesterday before the BCS comes to its senses and pulls the automatic qualifier for the league.