Opportunity dropped

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State tailback Toney Baker and receiver Jay Smith are going to want to bury this game film in a time capsule that doesn't open for a long, long time.

Obviously there was more to this game than two plays -- it's hardly as if South Carolina put forth a flawless performance -- but the plays that will be tough for fans in Raleigh to forget will be Baker's fumble, and Smith's dropped pass in the end zone that hit him square in the numbers. It's those kinds of mistakes that make it tough to remember Rashard Smith's electric 31-yard return that gave the Pack great field position for a comeback.

Instead, NC State lost 7-3 to South Carolina, dropping its third straight season opener under coach Tom O'Brien. In turn, the ACC got off to an ugly, nationally televised 0-1 start in its nonconference play.

Fortunately for the conference, it's only Thursday.