Quick hits and notes from NC State's 38-24 loss to Vanderbilt in front of 55,801 mostly Vandy fans for the Music City Bowl at LP Field in Nasvhille, Tenn., Monday afternoon.
Turnovers, turnover, turnovers (and two more)
How does one team outgain another 424-225 yet still lose by two touchdowns, a margin that may have actually been closer than how the game felt for most of the second half?
The answer is simple: turnovers. Specifically NC State had five and the Commodores did not have any. This came against a Vanderbilt defense that had forced just 13 turnovers all season. NCSU was 0-5 this year when they turned it over more than twice in the game. The only contest they lost in the other eight games where they had two or fewer giveaways was against Clemson.
The minus-five turnovers margin tied for the worst of the season, matching the margin in the last-minute loss at Miami Sept. 29.
On a side note, the 225 yards gained by Vanderbilt was their lowest output of the season and the second fewest allowed in a game by a Wolfpack defense.
Penalties, penalties, penalties (and six more)
NC State also had nine penalties for 90 yards in the game compared to just two flags for Vanderbilt, which were a pair of five-yarders. Saturday was the second highest penalty yards piled up in a game for NCSU this year, behind only that aforementioned Miami contest when they had a staggering 14 flags for 100 yards.
The 80-yards difference between NC State and Vanderbilt matched the separation between the Pack and Canes in Miami for the largest all year.
Seniors close out
This was certainly not the way that NC State wanted to send out its senior class. In particular, fifth-year senior Mike Glennon will probably want to forget throwing three interceptions, all of them costly. But Glennon did complete 35 of 53 passes for 383 yards and a touchdown.
That was the second best passing performance in a bowl game in NC State history behind Philip Rivers' 475 yards in the 2003 Tangerine Bowl win against Kansas. Glennon also attempted the most passes in a bowl game for a Wolfpacker.
That gave Glennon 4,031 passing yards and 31 touchdowns in 2012. That is the second most passing yards in a year behind the 4,491 Rivers had in 2003. Glennon had four of the 20 best single-game passing performances in Pack history during the year, but unfortunately for the Wolfpack they went 0-4 in those games.
Glennon closed his career with 7,411 passing yards, the fourth best mark behind Rivers, Russell Wilson and Jamie Barnette in NCSU history. His 63 touchdown tosses are third most behind Rivers and Wilson. Glennon threw for 31 touchdowns in each of his two seasons as a starter, tying Wilson's 2009 campaign for the second most in a single season at State.
Glennon's five games of over 300 yards gave him eight for his career, also the third most in State history behind Rivers (19) and Wilson (12).
Glennon's classmate, fifth-year senior Tobais Palmer, who was the first player to commit to Tom O'Brien in his first full recruiting class at NCSU, had eight catches for 111 yards and scored on a 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Palmer became the first NC State player to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in a season since former cornerback and NFL player Lamont Reid did it twice in 2002. Palmer had 1,130 kickoff return yards this year, passing current Buffalo Bills receiver T.J. Graham for the most in a single season at NC State. Graham had 1,028 yards in 2008.
Palmer finished the year with 1,971 all-purpose yards, just eight yards shy of Torry Holt's mark in 1998 for the school record.
Fifth-year senior safety Earl Wolff had nine tackles to give him 400 for his career, making him just the fifth NC State defensive player and the first defensive back to reach that tackle milestone in his career.
Other noteworthy stats
Redshirt junior linebacker Rickey Dowdy had one of his best games of the season. He finished with seven tackles, including three for a loss. The 16.5 tackles for a loss this year, which is the eighth best in a single season for NCSU.
Redshirt sophomore receiver Bryan Underwood had a very quiet afternoon with just one five-yard catch. He finished the year with 44 catches for 620 yards and 10 touchdowns. The scoring total is the second best for a sophomore at NCSU behind Koren Robinson's 13 in 2000.
What the loss means
NC State closed its season at 7-6. They fall to 14-12-1 all-time in bowl games, and this was the first loss in three postseason contests located in Tennessee. The loss also snapped a two-game bowl winning-streak for the Wolfpack.
NCSU went 0-2 on a neutral location 2-5 away from Carter-Finley Stadium.