"I have to make sure they're ready this week to go play," coach Tom O'Brien said of his team. N.C. State must win two of its remaining three games to become bowl eligible, needing to reach the seven-win mark.
"I don't feel like our morale was totally shot after the Florida State game," receiver Jay Smith said, expecting that Wolfpack can maintain the proper mindset after knocking off North Carolina. "You probably won't see us come out flat in any other game this season. ... I don't feel like there's any feeling of relaxation on this team."
At least the Wolfpack players have been saying the right thing as the euphoria of a victory -- not to mention coming by a 13-0 shutout -- against North Carolina exists around them on campus.
"We're moving forward and we're going to take this game just like any other game," linebacker Terrell Manning said.
-- Former N.C. State coach Dick Sheridan reached out to current coach Tom O'Brien after the Wolfpack won its fifth consecutive game against rival North Carolina. Sheridan is the only other N.C. State coach to win that many in a row against the Tar Heels. "He wanted to be the first to wish me good luck on No. 6," O'Brien said a couple of days after his latest conquest of North Carolina.
-- Coach Tom O'Brien returns to the site of his former employment when he takes the Wolfpack to Boston College. O'Brien racked up 42 victories in Alumni Stadium as Boston College's coach, but he's 0-2 there with the Wolfpack. This will be different than those past two visits because in his fifth year at N.C. State it means any players he was most familiar with on the Boston College team have cycled through that program. O'Brien is 1-3 against his former team, with N.C. State winning last year.
SERIES HISTORY: Boston College leads N.C. State 5-3 (last meeting, 2010, 44-17 N.C. State).
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: By moving the ball on the ground, the Wolfpack has used ball-control to its advantage. The passing attack needs a little more firepower because there are stretches that there are a limited number of vertical plays on pass plays. The Wolfpack managed only 164 passing yards on 33 passing attempts against North Carolina.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Coming off a shutout of North Carolina, confidence should be high for this unit. Putting more pressure on opposing quarterbacks is an emphasis and that worked well against the Tar Heels. The Wolfpack has been among the team leaders in interceptions nationally this year and those takeaways have covered some of the other shortcomings for the defense. LB Audie Cole and LB Terrell Manning have been more prominent as their teammates on the defensive line have been more active in distracting blockers.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You just don't come back at the top level without knocking some rust off." -- Coach Tom O'Brien on the team's defensive front returning to improved health and finally starting to make a significant impact.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAME: N.C. State at Boston College, Nov. 12 -- The Wolfpack will have to regain a spark after the emotional conquest of nearby rival North Carolina. Boston College is one of two teams remaining on N.C. State's schedule (Maryland is the other) with a losing record and the Wolfpack needs to win two of its remaining three games to become bowl eligible because it must reach the seven-win mark after defeating two Football Championship Subdivision teams.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Wolfpack will want to keep its rushing attack sharp because that could lead to more avenues for QB Mike Glennon to generate an efficient passing attack. Better protection would help Glennon, who'll want to be sharp against a Boston College team that can only play spoiler at this point.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
LB Audie Cole -- He has been among the top tacklers on the team for three consecutive seasons, yet he's coming off perhaps his most complete game with nine tackles and causing numerous disruptions against North Carolina.
TE George Bryan -- He has more receptions than any tight end in school history with 107. Still, it has been a slow senior season for Bryan, who has pulled in only 14 receptions across the first nine games so the Wolfpack is anticipating a breakout performance at some point.
WR T.J. Graham -- He's just a couple of his average kickoff returns away from setting the ACC career record for kickoff return yardage. The senior needs 55 to break the record, though he had only one return opportunity last week against North Carolina.
-- OG R.J. Mattes is dealing with a lower-body injury suffered in the North Carolina game. But it's possible that he could be available to play at Boston College without missing a game.
-- CB David Amerson is the national leader with nine interceptions this year, establishing a school record after a previous mark stood for 73 years. He's a big reason why N.C. State's defense leads the country with 19 interceptions.
-- LB D.J. Green is out for the season after undergoing surgery that involved a toe. He began the season as a starter at outside linebacker.