No. 24 North Carolina State came so close to a signature victory at home last week and now must regroup in a hurry to avoid another ACC defeat when it visits a surging Boston College team Saturday afternoon. The Wolfpack were within three points early in the fourth quarter and were driving down seven in the final minute against then-No. 5 Clemson before a late interception doomed their chances at an upset and a spot atop the ACC’s Atlantic Division.
There was some rumbling of poor officiating and even an accusation that the Tigers may have cheated with the use of laptops on the sidelines, but N.C. State has been forced to reset and turn its attention to the Eagles. “It’s a team we didn’t play well against last year,” coach Dave Doeren told the media while referencing a 21-14 loss to Boston College in 2016. “They beat us and we didn’t play well. We had had a lot of penalties, took touchdowns off the board on offense and defensively we gave up a halfback pass at the end of the game and a throwback play on a two-point play. They executed well, and we didn‘t.” The Eagles have been executing extremely well of late with three straight wins while averaging 40.3 points. Freshman A.J. Dillon continued his surge with 149 rushing yards and a touchdown in a Friday night win over Florida State prior to a bye week.
TV: Noon ET, ABC. LINE: North Carolina State -3
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (6-3, 4-1 ACC): Junior Ryan Finley is second in the ACC in passing yards (2,519), completions (220) and completion percentage (65.7) after he was 31-for-50 for 338 yards in last week’s loss. His favorite target is sophomore Kelvin Harmon, who is second in the conference with 799 receiving yards, including an average of 124.5 over his last four games. Senior defensive end Bradley Chubb was held without a sack or a share of a sack for just the third time this season against Clemson, but he leads the league with 7.5 on the season and owns two sacks and a forced fumble in two previous games versus Boston College.
ABOUT BOSTON COLLEGE (5-4, 3-3): After sharing the workload early in the season, Dillon has emerged as a true No. 1 back and is averaging 133 yards over a five-game span, during which he has found the end zone six times. Redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Brown has five TD passes against one interception during the winning streak, but he’s completed 30 percent of his passes or less in two of those contests. All-ACC defensive lineman Harold Landry missed the Florida State win with an ankle injury and coach Steve Addazio told reporters this week that Landry’s status was “unclear.”
1. The Eagles lead the series 9-5, including a 6-2 advantage at home.
2. Finley has thrown all three of his interceptions this season in the last two games - both losses.
3. The Eagles entered last year’s meeting with a 12-game ACC losing streak, but they are 4-5 in conference play ever since.
PREDICTION: Boston College 28, North Carolina State 27