Hey, they can't all be beautiful. Not like the Miami game that was only half ugly. But to beat columnists and commentators to the punch, FSU can't play like that against a good team and have any chance of winning.
Too many flags, missed assignments, questionable play calls, plus bumbled execution, abysmal tackling, confused coaches ("Hey, Jimbo, did ya know that was our last time out?")...whew, and that's only a short list.
But let's look a little closer and discover the bright spots in this cow pie:
Half the number of penalties. FSU finished with only six (though it sure looked like more), about half of their 9.80 average of the first five games. N.C. State actually had one more flag (7 for 70 yards).
Ponder passed the test. Despite some big drops and often poor protection, FSU showed it can move the ball through the air, finishing with 254 yards and a TD.
Special teams didn't disappoint. First, they kept the rush from harassing Gano, giving him time to nail four field goals. Second, they allowed no huge kick returns, like the kind that helped the Canes get back in the game.
Antone's encore. In a TD romp similar to his instant classic at Miami, Smith made like a pinball, bouncing off defenders, breaking tackles and refusing to be denied.
Best of all? Though they started flat and dug themselves a hole, despite all the mistakes and frustrating penalties, the jacked up crowd and upset-minded Pack, the Noles refused to lose. And that's something that probably wouldn't have happened in 2006 and '07. Chalk it up as another Can-Do confidence builder for a young team in search of an identity.