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November 15, 2013

NC State's offense searching for answers, points

NC State enters the Boston College uncertain as to who will be the starting quarterback, but the objective remains the same for whoever is under center.

NC State offensive coordinator Matt Canada knows the season-long bugaboo of doing well in the red zone is a must for NC State to win Saturday in Chestnut Hill, Mass. The Wolfpack have 10 touchdowns in 28 trips in the red zone for 36 percent. Conversely, opponents have converted 23 of 28 for 82 percent.

"Everybody is tired of hearing that we are close or almost there," Canada said. "We aren't scoring enough points, and that is the bottom line."

NC State's offensive line has improved running the football and will get their chance to pave the way, whether fifth-year senior Brandon Mitchell, who is "questionable" with an undisclosed injury, or redshirt junior Pete Thomas is under center against BC.

"They've made great improvement, probably the biggest improvement we've seen," said Canada on the offensive line play. "They are getting better and working hard. We've had to change some spots due to certain situations [injuries], but they answered the bell."

Boston College's defense has allowed 28.1 points, 164.3 rushing yards and 270.6 passing yards per game this season. Senior linebackers Kevin Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto, and defensive end Kasim Edebali lead the way. Pierre-Louis and Divitto are one-two in the ACC with 81 tackles and 80 tackles respectively, and both have two sacks, while Pierre-Louis has an interception returned for a touchdowns.

Edebali is the best of the defensive lineman. He has 43 tackles and team-high's with 11.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. The native of Germany has become a force off the edge.

"They are very aggressive on defense and get after you," Canada said. "They are a very physical outfit, playing hard and don't beat themselves. Up front they are good and have a great scheme. They play hard."

New Mexico State did gash BC's secondary, but the Aggies lost 48-34 last Saturday in Las Cruces, N.M. Senior quarterback Andrew McDonald went 41-of-55 passing for 375 yards, three touchdowns and one interception for NMSU.

"We are always trying to see what we can do well and see what we can do from people," Canada said. "We have to focus on us and how to finish a game, and win a game."

Canada has a few ties to Boston College's coaching staff. Canada and BC head coach Steve Addazio worked together at Indiana in 2004. Canada was the quarterbacks coach and Addazio the offensive coordinator.

"They are a very good football team and you definitely can see what they are trying to do, and they are doing it well," Canada said. "[2004] was a long time ago. Steve has done a great job. He went down to Florida [as offensive coordinator] and had a great career there. He did a great job at Temple and now at BC [as a head coach]. He has been successful everywhere he has been."

Canada also knows Boston College offensive line coach Justin Frye, who played for the Hoosiers from 2002-2006, and was a graduate assistant at IU in 2007-2008.

"You watch their O-Line, Justin is doing a great job of coaching," Canada said. "I'm really happy for Justin. He has worked his way up, and you look at that line, they are running the football."

Some of the NC State players have also gone against Boston College defensive coordinator Don Brown's defenses off and on since 2009. Brown previously coached at UConn from 2011-2012, with NCSU safeties and co-special teams coordinator Clayton White, and Brown was at Maryland from 2009-2010.

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