Alright, listen, I know you and I both expected State to lose at Clemson. The stage was set for an ultimate letdown.
BUT WHAT IN ALL THAT IS HOLY WAS THAT?
Passes completed: 4
Total yards: 156
I don't need fancy statistical metrics to tell me that is loser football.
We knew the defense was terrible, but where did the offense go? That was putrid and frankly makes me wonder where State is going to find two wins to become bowl eligible. Was there anything positive? Or a better question may be which thing from the game was the least negative?
So, we both predicted a fairly big defeat. And, like you said, we both expected the freshman quarterback to terrorize State's defense.
What neither of us predicted was the offense going full Wake Forest on us. To answer your first question, I have no idea what happened other than Clemson just being way more dominant at the line of scrimmage than the Pack expected and the staff having no game plan for how to counter it. Plan B was simply 'oh, crap, this is gonna be ugly'.
And it was. Doeren and his staff have talked pretty regularly about how the thing holding State back in the past was winning on the road. And he was largely correct - Tom O'Brien lost to some terrible teams on the road and it downgraded a few very promising seasons. Doeren wanted to change that culture and right now its either taking longer than it should or whatever he's doing isn't working. The Pack has one road win, out of conference, and has lost by an average of 24.6 points per game in his five road conference games.
But, ultimately, the Pack has to move on quickly. The Clemson game was always penciled in as a loss, even if the coaches would never admit something like that, but the Boston College game is perhaps the most important game so far of the Doeren era.
That's right, I just said that - and before I justify it - do you agree or disagree?
The Boston College game is absolutely important for Doeren and Co. for a variety of reasons. It would be Doeren's first ACC win....which I really want to laugh at but can't because of the tears. It would be a win over a solid program that absolutely shredded State last year. Let's face it, right now, approximately 0 of State's 4 wins this season have been over competent teams. Another reason is it gets them to 5 wins, which is one short of bowl eligibility with Syracuse and Wake Forest left on the schedule. After last season, getting to a bowl is a monumental accomplishment.
But really avoiding 0-11 in the ACC would be great. Tom O'Brien couldn't win on the road. Dave Doeren can't win in the ACC. So there's that right now. Let's just win an ACC game and take care of the road games later.
So what about the opponents this weekend? I don't know what to make of BC, really. They've been up and down. They post the best rushing offense in the league, which is scary given NC State's propensity to just kinda let teams do that. They actually outpace NC State in terms of yards per game, which I would've never guessed. And they don't really give up much on defense. So this is probably going to be a very frustrating game for State fans. I don't have all the advanced metrics on hand. Can you school me on where we can find any hope of a victory, if there is any?
I'm not sure whether you agreed or disagreed with me, but you laid out all of my reasons pretty well so I don't feel like I need to add to what you said. But yeah, losing this game puts the Pack in a hole both when it comes to getting to a bowl game and general perception of the program under Doeren. Win the game, and things seem on the right track - lose it and the progress shown from the first five games starts to erode quickly.
As for Boston College, the main thing for the Pack defensively (as Steven has already pointed out), will be trying to slow down the running game. Their out of nowhere win over USC, which still makes no damn sense, was the result of simply running over them with Tyler Murphy and the gang. Murphy ran for nearly 200 yards in that game but his passing stats - 5/13 for 54 yards and a pick. Make that guy throw.
Obviously, easier said than done as far as the Pack defense goes. Boston College will run some misdirection and some option, though they aren't exclusively an option team. Regardless, I don't love the Pack's defense having to go up against a team that will throw the kitchen sink at them as far as running plays.
For the Pack offense, its just going to be recovering from last week. The Eagles have a good defense, but its not great, as both real opponents they've played (Pitt and USC) have hung 30 on them. The Pack just needs to pass protect Brissett and get its passing game on schedule again and they'll put up points. I think, unfortunately, the defense's ability to stop or at least turn over the Eagles will be the deciding factor.
I agree with you 100%. Win this game and we can breathe easier. Lose this game and we're back on our way to hell in a hand basket. And unfortunately, I think the rest of the year we'll be counting on the offense to outgun the other team. Wake Forest being the lone exception, we'll just need the defense to get in the way a little bit.
I'm not terribly confident in this game. The one positive is that it's at home, so that should bode well and BC's defensive line is nowhere close to as dominant as Clemson's. I think the offense gets back on track and the defense does just enough to keep us ahead. State wins 35-31 in a game where you're just wanting someone to hold you and reassure you that things will be OK.
I think that BC will simply run all over the defense, and that the offense will make one or two mistakes and that will be enough.
31-24, Boston College