10 Things I Learned Vs. NCSU

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Chris Long and the Hoos had to be frustrated with the loss.

Leaving Raleigh, there certainly was a “what could have been” feeling for the Hoos. Some opportunities were left on the field, some balls bounced the wrong way, some penalty flags were thrown at the worst possible moment … and the seven-game winning streak ended as a result.

Watching the game live and looking back at it afterward, I was struck by how strange a feeling the game had, and how strange some of the stats were in the end. Looking at the game stats, had I not known the final score, it would not have surprised me one bit to see UVa lose by three touchdowns. And yet, the opportunity was there at the end to sneak out with a win. In the end, that leaves a lot to break down after the game.

1. The end of the run. The winning streak was going to end eventually. No informed observer of this year’s team could have any illusions otherwise. After all, a team that plays with this little margin for error is going to have a game where the bounces do not go its way, where a big play here or there go the other way, where a penalty or two come at just the wrong moment, where an injury or two catches up with the team. That was this week in spades.

Plus, as I discussed on the boards last week, this was a week in which the lousy bye schedule – our late bye and our opponents’ fortune of the bye close to the Virginia game – really haunted us. The Hoos were playing for the ninth straight week, the second in a row on the road. The team was beat up, and coming off a very emotionally draining win against Maryland. This team still was “there” on game day, still ready to give all it could give, but the situation was far from ideal.

And the bye schedule for the opponent made the situation even a bit worse for the Cavs as, for the third straight week, UVa was facing a team that had benefited from a recent midseason bye. For UConn and Maryland, that bye came the week before the match-up against the Hoos. For NCSU, the bye came two weeks ago, but Tom O’Brien was able to use the bye to focus the team