Baylon Spector talked to reporters following a devastating loss at Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday.
After missing Clemson’s 14-8 win over Georgia Tech due to knee inflammation, Spector was back in the starting lineup and was forced to play an important role from the get-go. James Skalski went down with a shoulder injury pretty early on and while he embraced a coaching role from the sideline, he was unable to return to the game.
Clemson’s defense, led in part by Spector, was fragile and mistake-prone during Saturday’s 27-21 loss to NC State. Spector made a crucial error.
The veteran linebacker jumped offsides on a crucial third down with 40 seconds remaining in the game. Luckily, it wasn’t the deciding factor in Saturday’s game as NC State’s kicker missed a game-winning 39-yard field goal as time expired.
“Yeah, we did,” Spector said when asked about Clemson’s uncharacteristic penalties during the team’s 27-21 loss Saturday. “Just undisciplined in a lot of areas, especially in that key situation. That was on me. Just a bonehead mistake. I own up to it. Thankfully, we got another chance right there, but definitely a bonehead mistake by me.”
Clemson was penalized 13 times for 94 yards. A lot of the calls were due to offsides penalties and undisciplined football.
Spector was called for the offsides penalty and a late hit on NC State running back Zonovan Knight, a questionable personal foul call at that. That drive, of course, led to the Wolfpack taking their first lead of the game, 14-7 with 5:10 remaining in the third quarter.
Spector was asked why those offsides penalties continued to transpire throughout Saturday’s contest and he wasn’t able to provide an answer, but obviously, the Tigers still have to go back and watch the film.
“I just know that we got to be better in those situations,” he said. “Obviously, they had a lot of third-down conversions and a lot of those were from unidisciplinary plays by us. But, we just got to continue to get better, continue to fix those mistakes and we’ll correct them.”
A lot of Clemon’s mistakes came without two of its best players in the lineup — Skalski and Bryan Bresee. The Tigers are already without Tyler Davis for the next 7-8 weeks, only for Bresee to go down in a heap of pain with an apparent knee injury during the third quarter.
Bresee sat on the bench with a towel over his head and an ice pack on his knee. His body language said what he couldn’t. And while Clemson, nor Spector, used those injuries as an excuse, the Tigers were still missing some key cogs in the middle of the field.
“It’s tough. Jamie obviously does a great job coming in there, passionate about getting the calls in, getting people where they’re supposed to be lined up,” Spector said. “Bryan is Bryan. He’s very disruptive, obviously going to be a great player. Praying for him, because he’s hurting right now, I know that. So is Jamie. I know they both wish they could be out there. I wish they could be too.
“It’s tough, but LaVonta [Bentley], Kane [Patterson] and Keith [Maguire] all came in and they’re supposed to step up and do their job. Proud of those guys to come in, step up and make plays and call the plays like they should.”