That’s how quickly a game can change.
That is what all of ACC Football nation is saying to themselves right now.
If there ever was a chance for an Atlantic Coast Conference team to make a statement against one of the kings that comprise the Southeastern Conference, it was tonight in the Georgia Dome.
But late in the first quarter, 38 seconds decided the ballgame.
That’s time it took the Tennessee Volunteers to put up two touchdowns and a safety to stretch out a 22-7 lead and never looked back dominating the offensive and defensive line to drop the North Carolina State Wolfpack, 35-21.
“It was just a bad loss,” NC State senior S Earl Wolff said. “They ran the ball on us, they threw it on us. We know we’re better than that.”
There is no doubt this one hurts just as much for the ACC as it does for the Wolfpack.
This was suppose to be the game folks left talking about senior QB Mike Glennon. Everyone left talking about his 4 picks and the lackluster play of the offensive line.
This was suppose to be the game folks left amazed at senior CB David Amerson. The 10 NFL scouts who were on the field prior to the game to grade him left with multiple images of Tennessee’s junior college transfer WR Corderrelle Patterson zooming past the preseason All-American.
“It was completely my fault,” Amerson said. “I take all the blame (on both touchdowns scored). They got the best of me today.”
Everyone in Raleigh, North Carolina, still agrees this is a team that is extremely talented including Head Coach Tom O’Brien.
“This can still be a heck of a football team,” O’Brien said. “There’s no reason we can’t go win 11 games.”
NC State played well, but simply not well enough.
Way too many mistakes.
If State is to compete, it cannot give up 5 turnovers a game.
If the ACC and the Wolfpack are to compete with the elite teams in the SEC and BCS, it can never give up 16 points in 38 seconds.
“”We had our opportunity and we didn’t make the most of it,” O’Brien added. “We have to find a way to get ourselves back together, get our minds right and win a football game.”
Those 38 seconds and this loss drops the ACC to 0-6 in the season openers against the SEC.
M. Shannon Smallwood has over 10 years experience in sports broadcasting, journalism and college athletics and currently covers ACC Football for Rant Sports.
Follow him @woodysmalls