NC State was brilliant on third down, converting 10-of-15 offensively while allowing Boston College just one conversion all game, which helped the Pack amass massive advantages in total yards (533-318), first downs (34-12), and time of possession (41:30-18:30). Those advantages were made particularly important since the Pack alternated their dominance with the types of miscues that normally doom a football team, namely four turnovers, a blocked punt, and a blocked field goal. This one should’ve been a blowout against a pretty decent BC bunch of dudes, but the Pack were lucky to escape with a 28-23 win.
Nearly blowing a 28-3 lead will drive a man to drink, which brings us to this week’s Boston-area-brewery mixed six.
First beer—Cambridge Brewing Company’s Working Class Hero: This ice cold American Saison goes out to the Band of Brothers, the unsung heroes of the trenches whose praises need to get sung. Ryan Finley has attempted 187 passes this season. He’s been sacked twice. BC came into the game fourth in the nation with an average of 3.6 sacks per game. That average is going to suffer a bit since they didn’t get to Finley once. Houston (one sack allowed all season) is the only team to have allowed fewer sacks than the BoBs. Hopefully Finley took Tyler Jones, Terronne Prescod, Garrett Bradbury, Joshua Fedd-Jackson, Justin Witt, and Joe Sculthorpe (a capable sixth man) out to dinner.
Second beer—Lamplighter Brewing Co.’s Blitzen: It would be easy to get blitzed knocking back this Belgian-style pale ale (8.8% ABV). Germaine Pratt sacked Anthony Brown on a blitz as part of a huge performance for the senior linebacker. He tallied 13 total tackles and thwarted a goal to go situation by snatching the ball from Ben Glines from amidst a scrum, getting credit for a forced fumble and recovery. (Glines, you’ll note, was the tool that threw up the Wolf sign to taunt the crowd after he scored to bring BC within 12. Dude, you’re down 12; hand the ball to the ref.)
Pratt how has 49 tackles on the season, 20 more than anyone else on the team. He’s notched a pair of sacks and a team-high five QB hurries even though he rarely blitzes. And his arms are chiseled from granite.
Third beer—Mystic Brewery’s Illegal Dance Moves: This hazy double IPA’s ABV (9%) will make you want to dance like no one’s watching. Unfortunately, the dudes in stripes have seen the Pack making illegal moves a little too much this season (an average of 51.8 yards lost in penalties per game). On a day that left so much to clean up with turnovers and special teams woes, at least State was solid in the penalty department, getting flagged just once for five yards. The nearly blemish-free game on the penalty front will move the Pack from middle of the pack in penalties to a top 25 team in terms of yardage lost to the dreaded flag. They’ll need to continue that discipline to keep climbing in the top 25 that matters most.
Fourth beer—Trillium Brewing’s Dialed In: I’m going to double up on double IPAs like Finley doubled up on first half INTs. He completed 11 of his first 13 passes, but he wasn’t exactly dialed in, as two of those were caught by the wrong team, including a particularly harmful pick with State knocking on the door of a score. A couple early picks might have shattered a less experienced QB’s confidence, but Finley got dialed in, recovering to throw for 308 yards and a pair of scores. It was Finley’s 14th 300-yard game. He needs five more to match Philip Rivers for the most ever for an NC State signal caller.
Fifth beer—Lamplighter Brewing Co.’s Birds of a Feather: Sorry not sorry IPA haters; the beer marketing geniuses just have a penchant for naming IPAs in a way I can use! Kelvin Harmon and Reggie Gallaspy were birds of a feather in that they both went over 100 yards on the game. Harmon hauled in nine balls for 128 yards, including a 34-yard score. It was Harmon’s third 100-yard game of the season and 10th of his career. Gallaspy had 104 yards on 25 carries; it was the first time he’s eclipsed the century mark. He bulled his way to a pair of scores, giving him seven on the season. No one else has more than two. Jakobi Meyers (10 catches, 99 yards, TD) just missed out on the 100-yard parade.
Sixth beer—Lamplighter Brewing Co.’s Oktoberfest: I was tempted to reach for a Sam Adams Light here as it’s the essence of everything wrong with beer (if you’re watching your calories, drink liquor; if you’re drinking beer, drink real beer). Four turnovers and multiple special teams gaffes were…ah I just don’t want to relive it any more than I want to drink a Sammy Light. So, let’s be in the moment. It’s October (whether the weather wants to recognize it or not). We’re 5-0 for the first time since 2002. All goals are intact. The team seems healthy. We have two weeks to prepare for Clemson. We’ll likely be ranked in the teens for that game. Primetime is a possibility. It’s going to be a really long two weeks. I miss you already, football.
Parting shot—Chattooga Bell Farm’s Block and Tackle whiskey: Ah bye week. Time for coach-speak on getting back to fundamentals like blocking and tackling. Since his first season in Raleigh, which I’ve decided to strike from the annals of history, Dave Doeren is 5-1 after an off week, including 4-1 on the road (if you include the Florence-cancelled game as a bye week). He’s nearly always found a formula to keep it close against Clemson. (Bryan Underwood never stepped out!) I’m going to need some whiskey to tamp down my nerves while we wait for these long two weeks to pass. This will be the most important Wolfpack football game in 16 years.