MCLAMB: The Storm Remains

NC State's homecoming loss to Boston College gives Dave Doeren's naysayers a greater platform to speak their mind. The team has to focus on the remaining games to reach their goals but the window is closing.

The storm NC State played in versus Notre Dame three weeks ago was epic but it may be nothing compared to this.

In a season where the stated goal was to go undefeated at home, in the 50th anniversary of the home field no less, the Wolfpack could not muster enough offense against a team that had not won a league game since 2014.

NC State's 21-14 defeat to Boston College is both vexing and redundant. Eerily similar in some ways to the homecoming loss to Virginia in 2012 that put Tom O'Brien's coaching tenure in jeopardy, the defeat to Boston College will give depth to the growing number of people calling for Dave Doeren's job.

When the Eagles got into the red zone late in the fourth quarter with a chance to take the lead, the play calling got creative. When NC State responded by driving to the 10-yard line in its quest to tie, Matt Dayes -- who finished with 19 rushes for 45 yards -- was given back-to-back carries up the middle. The consecutive gains of two yards left the Wolfpack facing a third and goal from the six and needing a play. Boston College accommodated and a pass interference penalty put the ball on the 2-yard line with four chances to tie.

NC State could not take advantage. Two more running plays were followed by an interception in the end zone that sealed the Wolfpack's fate.

The conundrum that is finding a way to get the ball to Jaylen Samuels resurfaced Saturday. One catch in only three targeted passes, especially considering NC State threw the ball 41 times and only rushed for 31 yards in the contest, seems bizarre. Boston College has a terrific run defense but an offense with Samuels, Nyheim Hines and Kelvin Harmon ought to present enough problems to do at home to the Eagles what every ACC team had done to them this season and last.

The quantity of penalties was not nearly as much as what happened to NC State in Greenville or Clemson and had the Wolfpack scored the touchdown in the final two minutes there is no guarantee they would have won in overtime -- unlike the missed field goal down in Death Valley that would have handed the Pack and Doeren the marquee win they crave.

Doeren got off on the wrong foot with many people when he issued his "challenge" to fans after winning his opening game at NC State. He has been climbing uphill ever since.

The losses in 2013 should never been held against Doeren but the cannot be washed away and those he think he is not the man for the job will have no intention of dismissing that season from his resume.

The 7-6 record in 2015 made last season a lost opportunity in some aspects but still means that NC State had won 15 games in the previous two campaigns combined.

A young Boston College team, devoid of top recruits unlike NC State, winning a homecoming game in Raleigh in front of a significant number of empty seats on what was a gorgeous afternoon is going to be hard to talk away. The Wolfpack used big plays to take the lead but could not put the Eagles away.

Had NC State beat Clemson only to lose to Boston College it would have essentially been a return to form to the previous times when the Wolfpack would conjure magic and beat a great team only to inexplicably lose to an also-ran, often at home, later in the season. It was that exact type of loss that led to Doeren being hired.

Had the Wolfpack not been its own worse enemy at East Carolina and at Clemson a loss to Boston College would simply be cause for concern and not a cry for upheaval. That did not happen. The chance to exceed expectations for this season still exists but the window is closing.

The Wolfpack are at a crossroads for this season and potentially for the near future of the program. NC State enters the final month of the regular season needing a pair of wins to be bowl eligible and also have to find a way to generate enthusiasm in a sea of disillusion. The doubters of Doeren have been loud and Saturday gives them a greater platform to state their views.

More people will now listen but the Wolfpack cannot. NC State needs to have a sense of urgency over the next four weeks. Without it, the storm will continue to grow over the offseason whether changes are made or not.


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