The North Carolina State Wolfpack laid an egg against the Louisville Cardinals in a 54-13 defeat last weekend. This performance was especially disheartening after their near-upset of the Clemson Tigers two Saturdays ago.
The Boston College Eagles are looking to snap a 12-game Atlantic Coast Conference losing streak as they’re mired in last place in the Atlantic Division. The winner of this week’s game regains some success that was achieved in the early part of the season.
Here are five matchups to watch in the NC State/Boston College game:
BC QB Towles vs. NC State Defense
The Eagles’ quarterback situation has been far from perfect, Kentucky transfer Patrick Towles is suffering through a very frustrating season as he has thrown for only 942 yards with seven TDs and four interceptions. The biggest criticism of Towles has been that he rushes through his progressions on passing downs. Towles is trying to complete a pass into too small of a window, instead of waiting a second longer to see if a receiver separates himself from a defender.
Wolfpack RB Dayes vs. The Eagles Defense
It’s important for the Wolfpack that running back Matthew Dayes become an offensive catalyst because it discourages the Eagles from using a nine-in-the-box alignment at the line of scrimmage. Dayes make defenders miss or simply runs over them as 51 percent of his rushing yards have come after contact. If Dayes cannot effectively run the football, then NC State will have a more difficult time winning.
The Eagles Front Four vs. The Wolfpack Offensive Line
The BC defense is the pride of the team, despite being outscored 133-30 in their last three conference games. Currently, the Eagles are ranked fourth in the nation defensively, and defensive end Harold Landry is making a name for himself as an impact player. Their defensive scheme bears more responsibility on the linemen to control the line of scrimmage and put pressure in the backfield. DT Truman Gutapfel must attract a double-team, which allows Landry to use an inside stunt to sack the quarterback or shutdown the running game.
NC State QB Ryan Finley vs. BC Defense
NC State quarterback Ryan Finley has fitted nicely into a difficult situation; the Boise State graduate transfer is fourth nationally in completion (72.4) percentage. The key for the Wolfpack defeating BC is if Finley can get the ball out quickly into the flat or near the sidelines. The Eagles defensive secondary is very aware that NC State loves to throw screens and other short passes, but they disguise their coverages very well, which makes it tough for opposing quarterbacks to identify the hot route that attacks the weak spot in the defense. NC State will counter by spacing out the slot defenders, which should open the middle of the field. If center screens aren’t available, don’t be surprised if Finley attacks the corners to the outside on deep routes.
Addazio’s Goals vs. Clubhouse Doubts
Boston College head coach Steve Addazio continually battles the psyche of his roster to focus better on improving and finishing the 2016 campaign strong. He understands that defeating NC State is the type of signature victory that puts his snakebitten program back on the road to respectability. BC will also be Louisville’s final tuneup before their much anticipated game against Houston on November 17th. The struggle for Addazio has been trying to convince the entire locker room to buy into his philosophy that one game doesn’t define a career or season. He firmly believes the hardships from this year will be beneficial in 2017.