Not even because the opponents are getting tougher, but because the season is getting tougher to stomach. This game is supposed to mean something, but outside of emotional reasons, it doesn’t. I hope the players can muster up the strength to get up for this rivalry game, because for the fans, it’s going to take some real effort.
Speaking of effort, Boston College needs to see some from their defense this week, as well as all facets of their team. Last week, yardage-wise, they didn’t have a bad week, until you notice that FSU scored 38 points. The Seminoles were able to capitalize off of several BC turnovers to keep getting more and more points on the board, despite only managing 307 total yards against the Eagle defense (180 pass, 127 rush). In fact, Florida State only converted on third downs four of ten times in the game, which is relatively respectable in terms of the BC defense stopping them, and allowed two sacks, which for BC’s defense is a great night. The issue last week is that Florida State’s scoring drives were on shorter-than-usual fields:
• First FSU touchdown: 2-yard drive after BC turnover
• Second FSU touchdown: 56-yard drive
• Third FSU touchdown: 70-yard drive
• Fourth FSU touchdown: 57-yard drive
• FSU field goal: 31-yard drive
• Fifth FSU touchdown: 36-yard drive after BC turnover
Had the Seminoles needed to work for their scores more, yes, the final score might have been closer than a 31-point blowout, but it is also entirely possible that FSU would have gained more than 300 some-odd yards and controlled more clock. They didn’t need to, however, so Boston College’s defense did not give up more yardage.
The average starting field position for Florida State last Thursday was at their own 40-yard line, which is on the special teams but much moreso on the offense, so in a way, you can’t even fault Boston College’s defense. Sure, at the end of the day, they allowed 38 points, but the BC offense all but spotted the Seminoles a few scores, and short of forcing turnovers or FSU making major mistakes on each drive, there was not much they could do. It was not a good effort by this defense, which is now ranked 83rd in FBS in total yardage, but on more than one occasion during that game, they were put in situations where it would be difficult to succeed.
Statistically, on the other hand, NC State’s offense is one of the worst in the ACC and the country; it is barely better than Boston College’s. The Wolfpack have managed 338.89 yards of offense, good for only a 97th-place tie in FBS. (For purposes of comparison, the Eagles are 109th.) In terms of scoring, however, the news is a little better for Wolfpack fans: they’re tied for 75th with an average of 25.89 points per game, aided by a light early schedule where they scored a total of 116 points against Liberty, South Alabama, and Central Michigan (Boston College has only scored 50 more points than that for the entire season to date).
Mike Glennon has taken over the offense with the departure of Russell Wilson, and his overall body of work has been alright. Glennon has thrown 20 touchdown passes in nine games, but has thrown a few picks too many with nine. Still, his team’s +9 turnover margin is best in the ACC. Glennon is completing 60.5% of his passes for the year, which bodes well for him and the Wolfpack against an Eagles pass defense which is rated 86th in college football and frequently resorts to a broad cushion and a prevent package.
Rush offense, though, is a particular negative for the Wolfpack. NC State only manages about 108 yards on the ground this season, which puts them near the bottom of the country. In fact, they have managed by far the fewest rushing touchdowns in the conference with six (the next-lowest number is 10). James Washington leads their team with 636 yards and five touchdowns.
NC State does not get a lot of first downs (17.4; 2nd-to-last in the ACC, ahead of BC), but they don’t need a lot of first downs at times. The Wolfpack have shown signs of having big-play ability, particularly in the air, but they are not by any stretch a big-play team. Three of their passing plays, all of which were touchdowns, netted yardage of no fewer than 65 yards. They also have seven plays this season which went for 40 or more yards, but when taking those out of the equation, one will notice that they really have not done much outside of it. In fact, when reviewing the games NC State has played this year, one notices that their offense has turned the ball over too many times and have had stretches where they’ve played quite poorly, even in some games in which they won.
The bottom line here is that while Boston College’s defense has been very sub-par this year, so has NC State’s offense been. The Wolfpack have, on occasion, gone bombs-away from deep, but for the most part, their successful plays are the short nickel-and-dime types (as you might logically expect). NC State is not going to wow you, but if the Eagles don’t find a way to tighten up their pass coverage and get to the quarterback more consistently (and NC State allows almost as many sacks as FSU has, which means there is a little bit of hope), the Wolfpack may be able to dink and dunk their way down the field.