For anyone who either watched the game live, or watched the highlights on SportsCenter afterward, you know what happened down in Atlanta last night. The NC State Wolfpack, looking to deliver a big win for the program and the ACC, were manhandled by the SEC‘s Tennessee Volunteers in primetime. And despite a final score that may tell you otherwise, this one was never even close. And that’s a problem.
You see, for all the hype that the Wolfpack had received, it was all based on two constants: QB Mike Glennon would play at a similar (if not better) level than he had during last year’s stretch run, and star corner David Amerson would blanket any receiver that came near him. Neither of these things came true last night, and in fact, they were patently false.
After one quarter last night, you’d think that Glennon was the QB looking to finally deliver on his talents, while Tennessee passer Tyler Bray was receiving dark horse Heisman nods. Locked in from the first snap, the Vols’ quarterback executed well and simply looked better. For all the fanfare about former UT receiver Da’Rick Rogers‘ dismissal, it didn’t much matter for Bray, who still ended up with 333 yards passing. Most shocking, however, was the way in which he victimized Amerson. For a defender who likes to take risks to go for a big pick, it would make sense for the junior to be exposed by a veteran QB like Bray. But, for a guy that usually plays pretty tight coverage and knows how to put himself in position to make a play without allowing for the deep ball, Friday night’s performance appeared embarrassing. You could see the frustration on Amerson’s face, and the shock on everyone else’s. This defense, and it’s leader, have been shown to be vulnerable here in the first game, and the Tennessee blueprint will surely be employed by many of the Pack’s opponents going forward.