Facing an opponent with thin depth along the offensive line, N.C. State coaches did what many would do: they went up tempo.
The Wolfpack ran 87 plays (50 passes/37 rushes), up from an average of 70.5 plays from their four previous games (FSU ran 71 plays). The strategy worked, as N.C. State accumulated 359 passing yards and 161 rushing yards, building a 24-7 first-quarter lead and a 38-28 third-quarter lead before eventually succumbing to a 56-41 defeat at the hands of the defending national champions.
Following the game, N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren accused Florida State of the n0t-uncommon tactic of faking injuries to slow the game down. “The tempo we had (in the first quarter) was working until all the crazy fall down things were going on and the clock kept stopping,” Doeren said Saturday. “You know the refs can't do anything about that, but it's horrible the way the tempo gets slow downed by these injuries. We went fast in the first quarter, I guess there were no fake injuries.”
As CBS Sports' Chip Patterson notes, two Seminoles defenders went down during the fourth quarter, Derrick Mitchell and Eddie Goldman. The latter re-aggravated an ankle injury, and the former did not return to the game. That kind of goes above and beyond the point of faking injuries.
When asked about the claim during his Monday press conference, Jimbo Fisher did not take kindly to Doeren's suggestion.
“I accuse him of not knowing what he's talking about,” Fisher told the Orlando Sentinel. “We did not fake injuries, no one fakes injuries. We'll coach Florida State, he can coach North Carolina State.”
I'd say that settles that.
Tuesday AM Update:
Dave Doeren has apologized to Jimbo Fisher and Florida State for claiming the FSU was faking injuries.