Dave Doeren's NC State Wolfpack will look to rebound from the ugliest loss during Doeren's tenure Saturday when they host the Boston College Eagles. To sum up last week's "game" just take a look at the stat sheet. 35 Yards passing, -3 turnover margin, and 2.7 yards per play. Now that the two toughest opponents in the ACC are in the rearview, Jacoby Brissett and company can focus on getting back on track against Boston College.
The series with BC hasn't been too kind to the Pack since the Eagles joined the ACC. State is just 3-6 in those games, but the silver lining for State fans has to be all three victories are at home. Like many series in college football, the home team has dominated this one, with BC being a perfect 5-0 in Chestnut Hill.
NC State's offense will want to dictate tempo while maintaining balance. The Pack average 234 yards passing per game, offset by 212 yards rushing per contest. As we saw last week, the ability to stay on schedule killed the Pack. It was 3rd down and long every drive of the first half until Brissett was able to hit Shadrach Thornton for a first down with just over five minutes left in the first half. When you manage just two first downs without penalty in a half, you're going to have a bad time. That's exactly what Doeren's team did last week, and it's precisely why they got demolished in Death Valley.
When NC State has the ball
Dave Doeren said last week it's his job to better prepare the players to play. Let's see if his team answers the call this week, especially the offensive line. When State has been successful this year, the offensive line has opened holes for the running backs. BC allows 111.2 rushing yards per game, and those stats are aided by games against Maine, Pitt, and UMass. If the O-line opens holes for Shadrach Thornton and Matt Dayes, the Pack should have success.
Jacoby Brissett has proven to be a valuable asset to the team this year, and he needs to put last week's struggles behind him. Jacoby's just two weeks removed from carving up Florida State's defense for 359 yards and three scores. Boston College's pass rush is anchored by senor Brian Mihalik who has 2.5 sacks on the season. The Eagles are led by linebacker Josh Keyes' three sacks. BC's defense surrenders an average 5.2 yards per play, meaning the Wolfpack should have some success moving the ball in this game.
When Boston College has the ball
Boston College has one of the better rushing attacks in the country, averaging a remarkable 316 yards per game. The Eagles have found paydirt 16 times on the ground and average 6.0 yards per carry. State's defense allows 4.7 yards per carry and have given up 10 touchdowns on the ground this year. The defensive line, particularly Monty Nelson and Thomas Teal, will have to step up their game significantly to slow down the Eagles and quarterback Tyler Murphy.
Speaking of Murphy, the former Florida Gator has really brought the BC offense to life. Steve Addazio's team is now utilizing a read-option offense that has left opponents scratching their head. Murphy has already rushed for 579 yards and 6 touchdowns. Tailback Jon Hilliman has piled on another 369 yards and 6 scores. Boston College relies on the rushing attack due to a lack of weapons and Murphy's limited throwing ability. If the Wolfpack can play disciplined assignment football, they will stand a shot to come out of this game with a victory.
Three keys to winning
- Run the ball effectively: If it sounds simple, good, because it really is. If you get dominated at the LOS like the Pack did last week at Clemson, you won't win any games.
- Stay on schedule: This goes hand-in-hand with running the ball. The Wolfpack don't want Jacoby Brissett forced to convert 3rd & 7+ all day long as he had to do at Clemson. That's a recipe for a long day.
- Make Murphy pass it: The BC quarterback has tossed 6 INTs in just 101 pass attempts. Make him beat you with his arm, I like the Pack's chances if they can slow down the run.