After a disappointing loss to Clemson a week earlier, NC State responded Saturday with an impressive 24-8 road win over Boston College. Pack Pride takes a look back at the Wolfpack’s sixth win of the year.
In A Nutshell
Give NC State credit for accomplishing what no other Wolfpack team has done since Boston College joined the ACC. Chestnut Hill has been a virtual house of horrors for State but they came out and set the tone early with big plays on offense and a stifling defense. The Pack avoided the head-scratching defensive collapses that dogged them in earlier losses to Virginia Tech and Louisville.
State protected the ball, took shots down the field and were rewarded with a much needed conference victory.
Game Ball To Canada
Give offensive coordinator Matt Canada and running back’s coach Des Kitchings a ton of credit for preparing NC State’s offense after losing their top two running backs. No one ever expected State to be in a position where they would have to use Jaylen Samuels and Nyheim Hines in the backfield but the Pack got them ready on short notice.
I thought the Pack’s offensive game plan was brilliant, and it was no easy task to go to BC against the nation’s top rated defense and have success. State did a tremendous job of mixing things up by taking big shots down the field while manufacturing enough of a run game to keep the Eagles honest defensively.
Deep Game Was Good, Could Have Been Better
The Pack knew it couldn’t just line up and beat Boston College physically so taking shots down the field was a very smart gameplan. Jacoby Brissett hit Maurice Trowell (who is quickly becoming State’s deep threat) on a 83 yard touchdown strike.
On the Pack’s next drive Brissett connected with JuMichael Ramos for a 33 yard completion that set up the Wolfpack’s second touchdown. Give Brissett credit for having the confidence to target Ramos on a 50-50 ball and trusting him to make a play. That’s something State hasn’t done a lot of but will need to headed forward. Up 14-0 this game was all but over at that point.
While those two deep passes were impressive, State missed on three deep balls to Ramos, Hines and Alston that could’ve completely put the game out of reach. None of three were routine catches but they could’ve been made after perfectly thrown passes from Brissett. Hopefully at the very least it will give Brissett the confidence to go back to it in the final three games.
Let’s be honest, Boston College is horrible on offense and started a fourth string walk-on at quarterback. State should have dominated this game and to their credit, did just that. That hasn’t been the case in a couple of State’s losses this year.
The only way I could see BC threatening State was if they were able to establish themselves at the line of scrimmage and run the football. The Pack ultimately dominated the trenches, holding the Eagles to a measly 28 yards on 34 carries. State actually generated 59 negative yards with their run defense and that put Boston College in a terrible spot offensively with an inexperienced QB.
Jones Has His Best Game Of The Year
With Shawn Boone out, Josh Jones needed to step up and he responded by having his best game of the year. At times this season he’s appeared out of position on several plays but he was active on Saturday with a nice tackle on a BC fourth down attempt and sack on another play.
Happy For Bambard
PK Kyle Bambard has taken his lumps this year but it was great to see him connect on a 37 yard field goal against Boston College. Hopefully this will help him turn the corner with three huge games remaining on NC State’s schedule.
Cole Continues His Outstanding Play
It’s hard to recall a freshman punter that’s been better than A.J. Cole. He was solid again on Saturday- averaging 43.6 yards on nine punts including a 72 yard rocket launch. He put four kicks inside the 20 and three that were 50+ yards.
Sympathy For BC Fans
Boston College’s stadium appeared to be about half full (maybe) but if I had to listen to whatever that music was they blared in between plays I’d likely have stayed at home too.
In the preseason the majority of NC State fans expected the Pack to finish with anywhere from 7-9 wins. Sitting at 6-3 the Wolfpack appears to be on track to match those early expectations. Looking at it objectively, the Syracuse game should be a W while State will be a long shot to go on the road and beat Florida State. The final game against UNC will be a toss up with the Heels coming to Carter-Finley Stadium.
Personally, seven wins is good but eight will show growth from 2014 with a bowl game and a shot at nine wins on the horizon.
I still feel like State will kick itself when 2015 ends for the losses to Louisville and Virginia Tech.