No. 22 NC State's three-game winning streak -- and three game winning streak in Chapel Hill -- came to a screeching halt Saturday with a 48-21 loss to North Carolina.
It was a game in which nothing went right for a Wolfpack, which contributed to its own demise almost as much as the 14th-ranked Tar Heels.
State couldn't stop the run, busted coverages in the secondary, missed tackles, had a touchdown pass in the end zone dropped by a wide open receiver, turned the ball over four times, lost another key player to injury and fell apart in the second half to end any hopes of a comeback.
It was a disastrous performance all the way around. Here's what coach Dave Doeren said about it afterward:
"Obviously if you get into a game and turn the ball over three times, I guess four with the last one and don’t stop the run, it’s going to be a tough day. Carolina’s backs ran hard. We did not tackle well. There’s a lot of things we’ve got to work on. A lot of things.
"I thought Ben (Finley) went in and kind of sparked us in the first half and I was happy to see that. Our plan was to play him in one series in the first half. We didn’t do much in the first (three) series'. He came in and he sparked us so we stayed with him. Then his inexperience showed up.
"I was proud of Bailey (Hockman) going back in and playing the way he did. I thought he did some really good things towards the end of the game throwing the football. It wasn’t the plan. The plan was to have him start and finish the game and to get Ben some game reps because, as you know, he’s one play away from being the quarterback. I thought he did some good things. I thought he did some bad things. He’ll learn a lot from the game today.
"Our team needs a bye week. I’m glad one is coming. Give Carolina credit. I thought they played well. Obviously we’ve got to play better, and we’ve got to coach better."
Why did your defense have such a hard time stopping UNC's ground game?
"Missed tackles more than anything. I think that what happens during the course of a game is you’re fitting things well, then you don’t. As a coordinator you start calling different things to stop it. As a player sometimes you start trying to do someone else’s job. There were some plays in the first half where I just feel like we didn’t get off blocks. We had some guys in the right spots and didn’t get off blocks.
"We definitely missed Tanner (Ingle). We had to move Tyler Baker-Williams during the game to free safety. Devan (Boykin) was struggling tackling. That showed up a lot. It doesn’t matter what you call. If you have unblocked players and they miss the tackle, it’s not going to be a good defense. You’ve got to make tackles."
How disappointing was that, considering how well you defended the run over the past three games?
"It’s very disappointing. It’s been something that we’ve put a lot of time into. We fitted the run well throughout the week in practice, but just didn’t get it done. We didn’t get it done."
How important was it for Hockman's confidence to come back in the game and have some success?
"Very. Like I told Bailey at halftime he didn’t do anything wrong in the first half. I thought he was playing well. He just came out. We had planned on putting Ben in during the fourth series and all of a sudden we run down the field and should have scored.
The interception was a touchdown dropped pass that ended up being an interception. I told Bailey at halftime ‘you’ve done nothing wrong. You’re going to get another opportunity.’ He came in and played really well. I was proud of him.
How important is having a open date to help recover from this?
"It’s critical. We’ve got a lot of injured players right now. Hopefully, we’ll get some of them back down this five-game stretch with four of five being at home. We need to get healthy. Playing six straight, it takes a toll on you, particularly with what we are dealing with from a numbers standpoint."
Can you take anything from the fact that the team kept fighting and scored two late touchdowns?
"One thing about these guys, they're not going to quit. It’s a great group of young men. They’re going to play hard. We just didn’t play good enough to win. We didn’t give ourselves a chance with the turnovers. Like I told them in the locker room, if you don’t stop the run and you turn the football over, it’s a really hard day. That’s what happened today. It wasn’t a lack of effort."
What happened to Ricky Person Jr?
"It’s a concussion. He was on the sideline during the second half. He’ll be in the concussion protocol. Everything else was okay on him. It’s just a matter of how long that takes to clear (protocol)."
Is it a positive that young receivers Anthony Smith, Chris Scott and Andrew Jayne got into the game and made plays?
"That’s really the only positive, that we were able to play a lot of young guys and get them game reps. That helps them in the future. That helps them build confidence. Anthony is very talented. Chris is very talented.
"That will help them confidence wise the next game that they get to play. They are two of the faster guys on our roster. Andrew Jayne is a young tight end who can run. All those things are good. We need to get healthy. You’d really rather play those guys when you’re up, not down."
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