Scoring was not much of an issue for the Boston College Eagles last weekend against New Mexico State, particularly after Andre Williams finally tore apart their defensive line. The NC State Wolfpack are a step up in competition, though a few State fans might disagree with that assessment with the way they’ve played lately. Does Boston College’s offense have the upper hand in this matchup as well?
Too lazy to go infographic; but the gist of what you’ll see is that the Wolfpack run defense has been tolerable, the points allowed have been a little less tolerable but probably less than what you’d expect given their record, and most of the rest of their defense has been, well, tolerable.
Giving up 48 to Florida State is forgivable — the Eagles did it, too — but 38 against Duke is less so, which is what they did last Saturday. Otherwise, a cursory glance at the ledger shows that NC State hasn’t gotten throttled by too many opponents when the defense is on the field. In fact, as far as yardage goes, the only team that truly torched the Wolfpack was, again, Florida State. To employ a sports cliche, NC State’s not winning these games because they’re not making the plays they need to make. They’ve only gotten their lunches handed to them a few times.
Boston College has had its share of struggles on offense but it would not be fair to say the struggle has been steady. Games like Army and New Mexico State have inflated the offensive figures, but considering that the Eagles weren’t having much of any outbursts against anyone the last few years, we’ll take it.
The only part of the offense that has been viable for the entire year has been the run game, which has been a point of emphasis for Steve Addazio and Ryan Day. Andre Williams is on-track for an historic season, having already broken the single-game record on Saturday. He now holds two program bests — single-game rushing yards and longest touchdown run — and is tied for a third, most rushing touchdowns in a game.
The passing game got the job done last Saturday, but has otherwise taken a back seat. Chase Rettig has been the target of some criticism from the peanut gallery, though it remains quite the immutable truth that he is the best veteran option the Eagles have. Boston College can ride his arm, limited though his throws may be, to bowl eligibility in short order. He is not being called upon to do much, so as long as he can limit mistakes and not actively hurt the team, Boston College will be fine with him under center as the run game does the rest.
The Wolfpack defense is not elite, nor is the Eagles offense. Behind the most productive running back in the nation this season to date, Boston College has at least been able to move the football. The letdown against North Carolina and our false hopes about USC notwithstanding, the Eagles have been competitive in the rest of their games. The Wolfpack don’t look like the kind of team that will get blown out on defense, nor does it seem like the Eagles are going to blow out a conference opponent with this offense, but the Eagles have done plenty on their home field. It’s not a runaway, but they should be able to keep the ball moving and have a respectable afternoon against NC State. Boston College slightly favored.