Last week, the Wolfpack gave up eight touchdowns in three quarters in a 62-48 loss at Clemson. This time, the defense scored as many touchdowns as the opponent did, and the effort clinched a winning season and a bowl game trip for the Wolfpack (7-5, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) for the third consecutive year. Its destination is dependent on other ACC results.
"It's real big for us to get our confidence back," said cornerback David Amerson, who returned a second-quarter interception for a touchdown. "Not that we lost it or anything, but you know what happened last week, giving up all the points that we did."
This week was nothing like last week, except that Mike Glennon kept throwing touchdown passes.
Glennon threw three TDs Saturday, including two to Tobais Palmer in a span of 51 seconds in the third quarter.
Glennon finished 27 of 41 for 245 yards. His season total of 3,648 yards is second on the school's all-time list, behind Philip Rivers and just ahead of Russell Wilson. Glennon is the first player in N.C. State history to record multiple 30-touchdown seasons. He had 31 last season and 30 this year.
"That's something pretty special," Glennon said. "I don't think I have any other records with Philip and Russell, so I'll take that one."
Amerson snagged a pass that deflected off the hands of Boston College receiver Colin Larmond Jr., recording his 18th career pick and darting back for a 55-yard score 27 seconds before halftime. N.C. State improved to 12-2 when Amerson records an interception, including 5-0 this season.
"We did a good job getting pressure on their quarterback," N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien said. "We were hitting him all game."
Rettig was sacked just twice, but he was often on the run, finishing 16 of 45 for 123 yards.
The Wolfpack overcame a shaky offensive performance in the first half — one fumble, six punts — to clinch a third consecutive winning season. With the loss, the Eagles (2-10, 1-7) capped the program's worst season since the 1978 team finished 0-11.
BC's Rolandan Finch (19 carries, 144 yards) scored from 4 yards out with 5:18 left in the third quarter to cut the lead to 14-10, but that was as close as the Eagles would get.
Glennon found Palmer for an 8-yard score on the next drive. Then, after Juston Burris recorded the Wolfpack's third interception of Rettig, Glennon hit Palmer for a 25-yard score and a 27-10 lead.
"They were important for us at the time," Glennon said. "He did a good job getting open, and I just threw him the ball."
The loss potentially marked the end of Frank Spaziani's tenure as Boston College's head coach. The Eagles won 15 games his first two seasons but were just 6-18 since.