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Monday morning quarterbacking: Boston College 45, NC State 24

NC State was pounded by Boston College, 45-24, Saturday in Chestnut Hills, Mass.

It’s time for a final look at the contest with some Monday morning quarterbacking.

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Key Moment Of The Game

NC State had two drives in the first half where it could have potentially set a different tone, at least for a little while, and came away with just three points.

The first came after redshirt sophomore quarterback Bailey Hockman had just thrown his pick six to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead. On the strength of a trick play that resulted in a 24-yard pass from redshirt sophomore Thayer Thomas to redshirt freshman Devin Carter, NC State began its first positive drive of the contest.

The Pack eventually reached the BC six-yard line after a 22-yard throw from Hockman to Carter and had first and goal. A pair of runs got NC State to the one-yard line. On third down however, freshman Zonovan Knight was stuffed for a one-yard loss. Then Hockman missed Thomas in the end zone, and NCSU turned it over on downs.

After the defense picked up a three-and-out, NC State had excellent field position at the Boston College 41. Redshirt freshman quarterback Devin Leary came into the game at that point, and his 23-yard pass to Thomas set up a first and 10 at the 16. On the next play, Leary dropped the shotgun snap for a five-yard loss. The next two plays netted only eight yards, and NC State had to settle for a field goal.

At a minimum, the game should have been tied at that point. Instead, NC State trailed 7-3 with 11:51 left before halftime, and it would soon be all downhill from there.

Three Things That Worked

1. Throwing to Devin Carter

During the non-conference slate it looked like Carter might be pushed into a starting role because of the injury to C.J. Riley before he was ready. However, in three ACC games he has started to change that narrative. The redshirt freshman caught six passes for 140 yards vs. the Eagles. In league action, he has 12 receptions for 258 yards.

2. Defending the pass

Eventually Boston College discovered it didn’t need to pass the ball, but when it was trying, sophomore Dennis Grosel was only 6 of 15. He did get a pair of big gains to the tight ends which gave him 103 yards.

3. Kickoff defense

At one point in the second quarter, Boston College kickoff specialist Danny Longman kicked it out of bounds, but offsetting penalties gave him a second chance. He then kicked the next one also out of bounds. Amazingly, those were two of five such kickoffs for Longman, four of which resulted in setting up NC State at its own 35.

It had nothing to do with what NC State was doing, but on a day like Saturday it’s an example of how few things went right.

Three Things That Did Not Work

1. Rush defense

Giving up 439 rushing yards is something that head coach Dave Doeren and defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable would be the first to call unacceptable.

2. Rush offense

Rushing for just 56 total yards, with over half that coming on one run by Jordan Houston late in the fourth quarter, is also unacceptable, especially against one of the worst run defenses in the ACC.

3. Being ready

There were so many sloppy elements to Saturday’s game: dropped passes, nearly three early interceptions in the first quarter (one was caught for a pick six), missed blocks, too many missed tackles to count and even a bad shanked punt.

Position-By-Position Battles

NC State’s offensive line vs. Boston College’s front

NC State gave up 10 tackles for loss and two sacks and was manhandled by Boston College

Boston College’s offensive line vs. NC State’s front

Did you see the game?

NC State’s wide receivers vs. Boston College’s secondary

The result of this battle was good enough for NC State. Carter had a huge game for the Pack, and Thomas also did well (five receptions for 47 yards and two scores). It wasn’t a clear win, though. NC State dropped a few passes, and BC did pile up a good amount of pass breakups (seven), plus a pick six.

Boston College’s wide receivers vs. NC State’s secondary

The Eagles’ receivers caught two passes for 14 yards, both by freshman Zay Flowers. Considering the circumstances, with NC State missing four corners due to injuries, this was a good game for the secondary in pass coverage.

Quarterbacks

Grosel is a nice story, but he had nothing to do with the outcome Saturday. The one hope that emerged from any quarterback that played was Leary, who threw three touchdown passes in the second half and finished with 259 yards passing.

Running backs

Junior AJ Dillon ran 34 times for 223 yards and three scores, and sophomore David Bailey had 16 carries for 181 yards and two long TDs. They were the MVPs of the game, while NC State’s freshmen running backs really struggled.

Tight ends/fullbacks

Boston College redshirt sophomore Hunter Long caught three passes for 84 yards, including a 51-yarder. He outshone his counterpart, redshirt junior Cary Angeline, who had a nice afternoon with three receptions for 55 yards and a score.

Special teams

Aside from one shank, NC State’s specialists were good, and BC missed a field goal in addition to the issues on kickoffs. This was one of the few wins for NC State on the afternoon.

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