In the week leading up to what amounted to be arguably the biggest game of the season for NC State, quarterback Mike Glennon sat down with offensive coordinator Dana Bible and watched film of last year’s humbling 34-0 loss to Florida State in Tallahassee.
It was a lesson learned in what not to do.
Last October, Glennon completed 19 of 34 pass attempts for 130 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions against the Noles.
What a difference a year can make.
Glennon couldn’t have done much more to help the offense in last Saturday’s upset of the Seminoles. With 16 seconds remaining, Glennon found Bryan Underwood for a 2-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to beat the Noles 17-16 and take control of the Atlantic Division race. While much of the focus in the aftermath of the upset has centered on what Florida State didn’t do, not enough credit has been given to what the Wolfpack were able to accomplish, and it all started with their quarterback and his quick release in the face of heavy pressure from one of the ACC’s best defensive lines.
“Michael did a great job Saturday night,” NC State coach Tom O’Brien said. “The difference between a year ago playing Florida State to Saturday night was night and day. Last year he took sacks, didn’t get rid of the ball on time. I think he knew that he was much better on time, didn’t take sacks, threw the ball away, kept himself and us out of long-yardage situations with the exception of one time when he did take a sack. He made three straight fourth-down conversions there on that last drive … he did a great job.”
Especially on fourth down in the fourth quarter. Glennon converted a fourth-and-2. A fourth-and-10 from the 14-yard line. And the game-winning play on fourth-and-goal. The drive ended when Glennon found Underwood alone in the end zone. It was a dramatic turnaround from the shutout the Pack endured last year in Tallahassee.
“It was a learning experience,” O’Brien said. “He went back and studied the tapes from last year. One thing he and Coach Bible, point of emphasis this week going into the game was you can’t hold the ball forever. You’ve got to get the back foot down, you’ve got to make a decision, you’ve got to throw it. As the game progressed, everything he was coached to do was working. He continued to do it.”
Expect him to do more of it in the second half of the season.