Raleigh, NC- North Carolina State (6-3, 2-3 ACC) entered Saturday’s game with Boston College (3-7, 0-7 ACC) without running back Matt Dayes, but that didn’t slow them down as they cruised to an easy 24-8 win over the Eagles.
The star of the day, without question, was the play of the Wolfpack defense. Boston College isn’t an offensive juggernaut, but the defensive shutdown was impressive nonetheless. The Eagles were not able to establish anything in the ground game, rushing 34 times for 28 yards for an average of 0.8 yards per carry.
NC State’s secondary rebounded well off of the Clemson game, picking off Boston College quarterback John Fadule three times. Justin Burris got in on the action first with an interception late in the second quarter, and Hakim and Josh Jones both had picks in the third quarter. The guys on the back end can thank the big boys up front for applying constant pressure on the Eagles’ quarterback all evening.
The first quarter started and ended without any fireworks, but the Wolfpack would change that on their first drive of the second quarter when Jacoby Brissett hit Maurice Trowell for an 83 yard touchdown strike to give NC State a 7-0 lead.
On NC State’s next possession, Brissett would again connect deep downfield, this time with Jumichael Ramos to set up Jaylen Samuels for a 5 yard touchdown run to put the Wolfpack up 14-0.
Not much was going well for Boston College offensively, which meant their defense had to spend a lot of time on the field. On the Wolfpack’s first possession of the second half, freshman Reggie Gallaspy took it to the house on a 35 yard touchdown run to give NC State a comfortable 21-0 lead. The Wolfpack would add a field goal by Kyle Bambard late in the game, and the Eagles scored a “for pride” touchdown late to make it 24-8.
Cause for concern:
Dropped passes downfield: For the past two seasons I’ve given Brissett a hard time for not being an accurate passer downfield. Saturday, the senior quarterback was hitting his receivers with pinpoint accuracy on the deep ball, but he didn’t receive much help when it came to them hauling the passes in. Three times receivers weren’t able to corral deep passes that were right in their hands.
Special Teams: Early in the game, NC State coach Dave Doeren was faced with a fourth-and-2 at the Eagles’ 23 yard line (a 40 yard field goal attempt), but elected to go for the first down. Brissett was picked off inside the five yard line, and the Wolfpack walked away with no points. The inconsistency of freshman placekicker Kyle Bambard (4-for-10) has become an achilles heel, and Doeren’s team needs to be able to capitalize on field goals of 40 yards and under moving forward.
Numbers don’t lie:
139: Boston College entered the game with the nation’s best defense- giving up 64.2 yards rushing per game. NC State used a running back by committee approach to more than double that average with 139 yards rushing. Without talented running back Matt Dayes, NC State will need to rely on the team approach to get the job done against Florida State, Syracuse and North Carolina.
0.8: NC State’s defense allowed a measly 0.8 yards per rush Saturday. The defense was also responsible for 11 TFLs. The funny thing is, Boston College was still running play action late in the game.
6: The Wolfpack defensive sacked Boston College quarterback Fadule six times, and had him under duress when he wasn’t being taken down.
NC State travels to Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium to take on No. 16 Florida State. The defense will have their hands full trying to contain running back Dalvin Cook. If NC State wants to be taken seriously, they’re going to have to beat a team of significance this year. They get two chances in their last three games, at Florida State Saturday and November 28 when the University of North Carolina visits Carter-Finley Stadium.