So I wanted to get some happy thoughts out because, naturally, I saw a good amount of negativity following the game on the Twitterverse and elsewhere. In all honesty, I saw more positive in this game than negative I think, despite the result.
1. Our run game is legit. Jerome Smith and PTG need to be the focal point of the offense. (Note to George McDonald: this does not mean that every first down play must be a run up the middle.) Hunt could stand to run a bit more. Whether tucking and going when nobody is open or through designed runs. The more a defense worries about him running the more it will help our weak receiving options.
2. Our run D looks legit. Clemson isn't a big running team; I get that. But they are a decent running team and they have run a lot this year, and we did a nice job against them in that regard. This is an aspect of our team that I think will help us become bowl eligible this season. Not counting FSU, everyone we have left on the schedule either leans on their run game or has a fairly balanced offense that could easily suffer if the run game is stopped. At this point I am happy to face teams that like to run the ball.
2a. While our secondary is a big, big concern at this point they are at least opportunistic. We intercepted Boyd twice and we were the first to do that this season. No other QB we face is as good Boyd and only FSU's pass offense is close to as deadly. I like our chances against our schedule to shut down the run, pressure the QB and force some questionable passes. We are still going to give up some big pass plays; I think we should resign ourselves to that fact. But if we can grab an interception or two at the same time, we can offset those plays somewhat. That will hinge on our D-line and linebackers more than our secondary I believe and I see the former as strengths.
3. Fire. This is a team that won't quit on games. Against Clemson it meant we made some plays and kept the game from getting north of 50 points. Against NCState or Georgia Tech (for example) it could mean fighting and winning a game in a hostile environment.
To have a shot in this game we needed to basically play perfect on both sides of the ball. We didn't play close to a perfect game and yet for a good bit of the second half it looked like we could make it an interesting game. There might just be a better team in here than we want to believe after a game like this. We need 4 wins to get to a bowl game. After Maryland was exposed this weekend I am confident in saying we have 6 winnable games left on this schedule. I'm sure we won't win all six, but I don't think anybody except FSU is so good that we should count them as an automatic loss.