A convincing win over a tough defensive squad in Boston College makes for good grades in this week's reviews. In one of the Pack's more impressive outings, the team made up for a few notable absences.
The stats may not say so, but this was one of Jacoby Brissett's most impressive performances. He only completed 14 of 27 passes, but several of those were deep balls that were dropped or close to big plays. He had one bomb for a touchdown and one pick, but that turned out to be a blessing on fourth down after avoiding a big sack. He has been an impressive game manager with the ability to create big plays on occasion.
The true running backs did not see much time, but did well in their appearances. Dakwa Nichols had 5 carries for 17 yards against the number one defense, including a nice 12 yard run. Reggie Gallaspy had a 35 yard touchdown on his first touch bit struggled afterward to gain any yards. Going forward, it is nice that they got some experience against a legitimate opponent.
This group was boom-or-bust, win big plays interspersed with a few drops. Obviously the biggest play was the 83 yard touchdown from Maurice Trowell, who looks like a huge asset to the program going forward. Jumichael Ramos has been quiet lately, and used his one catch to set up a Pack touchdown on a leaping grab inside the red zone. Bra'lon Cherry made a shifty 33 yard play to help set up the field goal that essentially sealed the game. Nyheim Hines showed big play potential without breaking anything big.
This is the first game without any tight end receptions after a game in which David Grinnage starred. It was disappointing not to see them used as a threat, but their blocking did help the offense.
Samuels did not have a big statistical game, but he was a huge part of the win, as he had to step in as the lead back I'm addition to his normal duties. His first run was over 20 yards, but after that he was just churning out yards in addition to his touchdown. He had 7 receptions, but they were for short gains. It was not his fault he did not have an explosive game, but he did his job admirably.
The line was a big part of the Wolfpack's success against the number one rated defense. Samuels' first run was uncontested for the first 20 yards and Gallaspy's touchdown was made simple by great blocking. Pass protection was decent considering the opponent. Overall, racking up over 100 yards more than the Eagles' allow on average has to be considered a success.
Once again, the line was pretty solid and created pressure against a young, inexperienced quarterback. Of the four turnovers created by the defense, the front four were directly responsible for one, but also created the pressure for at least two of the interceptions. Bradley Chubb was named co-ACC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance, and the rest of the line put up big numbers.
Obviously when holding a team to 8 points and less than 300 yards, the linebackers are a major part of that success. While they were not responsible for any of ten turnovers, they were stout against the run and quick to close on the shorts passes that BC made a habit of utilizing. Airius Moore seemed to have his name called quite a few times.
Finally. For the first time this season the defensive backs created more than two turnovers. With three interceptions, the Pack took advantage of some poor throws from John Fadule under pressure. Josh Jones, who had been demoted in the last few games, had a nice pick, and Juston Burris and Hakim Jones took advantage of some poorly thrown passes. They still allowed a lot of catches, but did not get beat deep, which had been a slight problem this season.
Another "finally!" from the Pack, with Kyle Bambard making his lone field goal attempt. Early in the game, they passed up a field goal chance due to the uncertainty at kicker, but he did make the attempt he had. AJ Cole was solid again, but there were no big plays in the return game.