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The morning after with Omega: barely beating BC edition

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Hard fought road win against a solid opponent? Let’s go with that.

North Carolina State v Boston College
It’s not that hard, Drink. Run behind those dudes.
Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

NC State has just one nine-win season in the last 15 years, including this TBD season, and just one year breaking into double-figure wins in program history. The Wolfpack didn’t get the help they needed from FSU and won’t play for an ACC title, but they can have a historically good season by winning two of their last three games and a truly historic campaign if they win out. Let’s do the latter. Ten wins is a lot of wins.

I’m no mathlete, but you can’t get to 10 without number seven, and State got out of its own way just enough at improving, ever-pesky Boston College to notch its seventh win on a cold Saturday in Chestnut Hill. A never-ending stream of missed field goals and botched trickerations conspired to give BC a 14-10 lead late, but back-to-back long runs from Jaylen Samuels and Nyheim Hines put the Pack up 17-14; the defense, with a little help from the Eagles’ own inept special teams, did the rest.

That little two-game slide is history (if only its memory was distant). Anyway, here’s your good, bad, and ugly from game 10:

The good:

· Bradley Chubb recorded eight tackles, including four for a loss. Two and a half of those TFLs were sacks, giving him a program record 26 for his career. Oh, and he forced a fumble. Big man gonna get paid.

· In all, the Wolfpack amassed five sacks and 12 tackles for a loss that covered 48 backwards yards.

· The D held BC to just two scores. The Eagles had averaged 40.3 points in their three-game winning streak that included road wins over Louisville and Virginia and a home win against FSU.

· Blowing a gap assignment to allow a long TD run has replaced giving up a career day to a receiver for the State D, but throw out AJ Dillon’s 66-yard TD scamper and the run-dependent Eagles managed just 3.2 yards per rush. BC was too often off schedule and proved to be a team that cannot hurt you when that’s the case.

· The Eagles managed just 111 yards through the air and hooked up on less than 50% of their throws. Shawn Boone picked Anthony Brown in the end zone to thwart a BC scoring chance and the Pack forced a pair of turnovers.

· Jarius Morehead wasn’t fooled on a halfback pass on 4th and 1 from just outside the 10, breaking it up to preserve a 0-0 tie early. Thanks BC for forgetting you had Dillon, who most likely plows ahead for that yard. (And thanks again for having Dillon on the sidelines when you had three minutes left and just needed a field goal to tie but decided to go with empty sets and chuck your way to a four-and-out.)

· The ground game was successful for State; the Pack ran the ball 41 times for 221 yards and two scores. BC had allowed just 159 yards rushing combined in its last two games.

· Reggie Gallaspy (18 yards), Jaylen Samuels (25), Ryan Finley (36), and Hines (50) all had gashing runs against the Eagles. Of course none were bigger than the back-to-back JaySam and Hines runs that turned a 14-10 deficit into a 17-14 Pack lead that held up.

· It was quite nice to have Hines back at full strength; he rushed 19 times for 110 yards and the game winner. Hines averaged 5.8 yards per carry and added 77 yards on three kick returns.

· The junior speedster is up to 798 rushing yards on the year and is a good bet to give the Pack back-to-back 1,000-yard rushers.

· Kelvin Harmon caught five balls for 68 yards; he’s just 133 yards shy of 1,000 through the air.

· There were good special teams things. Really! Tyrone Riley and Darian Roseboro combined to stuff a punt. Kyle Bambard kind of sort of hit the game winner! Sure, he missed three but the one he made was ultimately the difference. It didn’t hurt that BC botched a snap and never got its potential game-tying attempt in the air.

· After a preposterously pathetic plethora of penalties had a penchant for putting the Pack in a pickle the past two weeks, the Pack were penalized for just a pair in plucking the Eagles.

The bad:

· Finley had an awful day again in cold weather, which, given that the calendar is well in to November, might be an issue going forward. Finley completed just 13 of 32 throws for 146 yards and was picked off.

· It wasn’t all on Finley, as there were more than half a dozen balls that the would-be receiver got a hand on but couldn’t haul in. Pretty much every drop was a contested catch on a less than perfect throw, but the receivers have to help him out more. Stephen Louis did not come down with four potential catches and added injury to insult when he was literally forced from the game due to injury.

· Terronne Prescod left the game, mouth bloodied and possibly missing some teeth, and did not return. Get well soon, Big T.

· State’s now been outscored 65-45 in the third quarter, including 7-0 Saturday, as it continues to have trouble finding the ignition switch after halftime.

· The Pack put up just 10 points in five trips inside the 40, including getting nothing after Chubb’s strip sack and just a field goal after the blocked punt.

· Even if it did yield a touchdown run, the wildcat needs to be put down. And our screen game, both the bubble and tradition dump to the running back, need either a lot more practice or to be scrapped altogether.

· Speaking of play calling, we all love the gadgets when they work, but lately the trick plays have done nothing but put the offense off schedule—or worse. JaySam’s errant lateral to Finley was certainly terrible execution, but even if it had been on target Finley would’ve immediately been swallowed for a loss by three totally not fooled defenders. Just hand it to JaySam and Hines running behind Tony Adams and Will Richardson, two of the best linemen in all of college football, and let them go to work. No need to get cute.

The ugly:

· A delay of game penalty took three points off the board after a 49-yard (!) field goal. One wonders whether Bambard’s fortunes change had that play stood. Maybe Doeren made the right call sending him out to try it again from 54; certainly he needed to show confidence in him. Of course he missed and then the misses kept coming. Bambard finished just 1-for-4 but he was at least coming closer than Carson Wise. The 54-yarder was on target but short and he doinked one off the upright. But that’s why our kicking game is in the ugly category yet again this week. It’s a sad state of affairs when you feel a little better about the kicking situation because the misses were closer…like the difference between an airball and a brick in basketball. Hey, we got upright!

· It’s a shame that as the young secondary has improved in pass coverage, the universe seems to have corrected for this by having the Pack miss a gap assignment and allow a home run on the ground. Notre Dame took advantage of it. Clemson took advantage of it. BC did it, too. It looked like Germaine Pratt freelanced by trying to split two linemen rather than filling the hole, leaving Dillon with a huge lane when Pratt, even though he was in the backfield, didn’t manage to even get a hand on him. Mike Stevens jumped way inside just before the snap and was late reacting and getting outside. I don’t pretend to know what the defensive call is there, but it sure looked like both of those guys were wildly out of position (unless the call was let’s have them go 66 yards untouched). The Clemson game may have had a different result without a football 101 fundamental breakdown, and State was fortunate to overcome it against BC. Got to clean that mess up.

I hope to be writing “9-3, 7-1” in two weeks. And I hope the last “morning after” comes on January 2nd after a Citrus Bowl matchup against a top 15 SEC opponent. Maybe this team finishes ranked 11th, matching its highest final poll position in program history. The ceiling for the team isn’t what it was two weeks ago, but there is still history to be made. The next step should be fun, win or lose. Wake is scoring a lot of points but giving up a lot of points, and it’ll be under the lights in a stadium that sells beer. Sweet, wonderful beer. Let’s turn the place red and take one more step in the direction of what we all hope will be a sustained redefining of NC State football’s place in the national landscape.