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November 24, 2012
NC State coach Tom O'Brien's first full recruiting class enjoyed a victory in their last home game at Carter-Finley Stadium.
The Wolfpack defense came through with three interceptions, including junior cornerback David Amerson returning one 55 yards, to shut down Boston College 27-10 on Saturday. NCSU finished the regular season 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the ACC, and put itself in position for another quality bowl game.
NC State has the third-most wins of the ACC teams eligible for bowl games behind Clemson and Florida State, and the Wolfpack finished 4-1 against Atlantic Division opponents.
NC State's seniors have helped the program win 24 games the last three years, resulting in bowl trips. O'Brien has taken NC State to four bowl games in six years and improved to 5-1 on Senior Day while in Raleigh.
"The seniors went out on a win and got a seventh win, and a winning season," said O'Brien, who improved to 2-4 against his old school. "The kids have done a great job for our program. It's a good finish to a year that has been difficult in some respects, but they fought through everything. It's hard to win nowadays."
The stretch of success is arguably the third greatest in NC State history, with many of the seniors playing key roles against BC. Fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Glennon passed for 230 yards and three touchdowns, including two to classmate Tobais Palmer.
"Hopefully, we get to a pretty good bowl," Glennon said. "This place has been great to me and it was exciting to run out there one last time. It wasn't as emotional as I thought it would be.
"They [the two touchdowns to Palmer] were important for us at the time because it was a close game. He did a good job of getting open and I just threw the ball."
Glennon became the first NCSU quarterback to pass for 30-plus touchdowns in back-to-back seasons, which is an impressive feat considering some of the current and past quarterbacks that have played at the school - Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson, Erik Kramer and Roman Gabriel - to name a few.
"That's pretty neat with all the history here at quarterback, so that's something special," Glennon said. "I didn't think I'd really have any other records with Philip and Russell, so I'll take that one.
"I knew I was capable of doing it but there was a little doubt because you don't know how things will play out. I just worked hard and kept my mind straight."
The offensive line also did a superb job of protecting Glennon, and didn't allow a sack.
"Mike works hard, is a great quarterback and he is smart," NC State senior center Camden Wentz said. "He is disciplined. I'm proud to play with him. I'll look back down the road and tell my kids and my grand kids that I played with a great one. He has a bright future."
Glennon started the scoring for the Wolfpack with a four-yard touchdown pass to redshirt junior wide receiver Quintin Payton, and Amerson performed his magic on his 18th career interception to give NCSU a 14-3 lead with 27 seconds left before halftime.
Boston College challenged the Wolfpack defense physically behind the running of junior running back Rolandan Finch. He tallied 116 yards on 17 carries and had a four-yard touchdown to cut the score to 14-10 with 5:18 left in the third quarter.
NC State responded beautifully to the adversity with an 11-play, 72-yard drive capped by the first of two Palmer touchdowns, which gave the Wolfpack a 20-10 lead with 1:14 left in the third quarter.
NC State redshirt freshman cornerback Juston Burris helped put the game away with his third interception of the season on BC's next offensive play. NC State took over at the BC 28-yard line, and two plays later, Glennon found an open Palmer for a 28-yard score to finish off any Eagles' comeback hopes.
Freshman tailback Shadrach Thornton helped set up the first of Palmer's touchdowns with five rushes for 34 yards and two receptions for 15 during the drive. Thornton gained steam as the game went along and topped 100 rushing yards for the third straight game and fourth of the season. Thornton rushed for 105 yards on 28 carries, and added seven catches for 49, while running behind seniors Wentz, R.J. Mattes,and Andrew Wallace, on the interior of the offensive line.
"We've started six different offensive lines and down to your fourth tailback," O'Brien said. "As I walked out of the locker room, Shadrach came to me and said, 'Coach, this was my worst game ever. Don't worry, I'll be back for the bowl.' The kid is a great kid."
BC quarterback Chase Rettig was sacked twice and harassed periodically throughout the game. He finished 16-of-45 passing for 123 yards, and ended up throwing interceptions to Amerson, Burris and senior free safety Brandan Bishop. The Eagles went 3 of 15 on third downs and failed twice on fourth downs.
"We tried to dominate up front," said NCSU redshirt junior defensive end Darryl Cato- Bishop, who had five tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack. "The DBs did a great job on the back end and we did our job on the front. When we get pressure on the quarterback, it makes it easier on the secondary."
Amerson helped limit BC star junior wide receiver Alex Amidon to three catches for 35 yards, but Finch did get loose on the ground at times.
"I'm really happy for the defense," O'Brien said. "Basically, they gave up a one 48-yard drive where we punted it short for a touchdown. For them to come back the way that they played [after allowing 62 to Clemson last week], is really good.
"It's always big when you intercept the ball. He [Amerson] is a dynamic guy when he has the ball in his hands to make the score. He did a great job."
Boston College finished 2-10 overall and 1-7 in the ACC and face an uncertain future with coach Frank Spaziani.
"It's hard before and after the game [to coach against Spaziani], but once the game starts, it doesn't matter," said O'Brien about his former defensive coordinator. "We are on the sideline and too old to play each other. The good thing is that I don't know any of their players. None of them are there that I recruited or been around."
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