NC State (5-3) vs. Boston College (3-6) 12:30 pm
Boston College is 3-2 since 2010 against NC State and have won the three contests by an average of 12.3 points per game. The Eagles have won the last two games by an average of 16.5 points per game.
The Wolfpack are coming off of an emotional home loss to the top ranked Clemson Tigers in Raleigh 56-41. NC State played with the Tigers toe to toe and trailed at the half 26-20. However, in the second half the Wolfpack could not convert inside the red zone late in the game which hurt their chances to pull off the upset. On the year, NC State is averaging 35.9 points per game and is very balanced rushing for 201 yards per game along with throwing for 206 passing yards per game through the air. Led by senior quarterback Jacoby Brissett, the offense has been explosive at times and will look to put pressure on a solid Boston College defense this Saturday in Chesnut Hill. Brissett has completed 65.5% of his passes for 1,586 yards with 13 touchdowns and one interception. Brissett is a dual threat quarterback that keeps his eyes down the field when he breaks contain and can make plays by improvising outside the pocket. He will need to be patient this weekend against an aggressive Eagles defense that will bring pressure and cannot force throws into coverage this weekend. Running back Matthew Dayes, who leads the team in rushing with 865 yards with 12 touchdowns is questionable for this game with an injury suffered against Clemson and this could effect the offensive game plan heading into this game. NC State likes to utilize fly sweeps with their wide receivers and look for Jaylen Samuels to be a factor on Saturday. Samuels leads the team with 42 receptions for 429 yards with 5 touchdowns along with 208 rushing yards with 6 touchdowns on the ground this year. NC State will need to utilize the short to intermediate passing attack against Boston College and Brissett cannot hold the ball while surveying the field as the Eagles have an excellent pass rush. NC State’s offensive line has allowed 22 sacks and will need to step up this weekend to allow Brissett time in the pocket.
Defensively, the Wolfpack are allowing 21.1 points per game and are very good in stopping the run yielding 123 rushing yards per game to their opponents. NC State did allow over 600 yards of total offense to Clemson last week and will face a more methodical ball control attack this weekend against Boston College. NC State is giving up 173 passing yards per game and has been able to generate a pass rush on opposing quarterbacks recording 21 sacks on the season. Linebacker Airius Moore leads the team with 46 total tackles and is a fast player that can run sideline to sideline. NC State is +2 in turnover margin and will look to force mistakes by the Boston College quarterbacks (Flutie, Smith or Fudale). The defensive game plan will look to play the run and force Boston College to throw over the top of the secondary. Look for NC State to mix up coverage and force the Eagles make plays down the field in the passing game.
The Eagles are struggling offensively this year due to the inexperience at the quarterback position. Last week in the home loss to Virginia tech 26-10, Troy Flutie left after one pass and gave way to freshman John Fudale. Fudale completed 8 of 20 passes for 143 yards with one interception and looked inconsistent early in the first half. However, in the second half he seemed to gain confidence and the team played well offensively in fourth quarter against the Hokies. On the season, the Eagles are averaging 18.3 points per game and have had a run first mentality rushing for 167 yards per game. Running back Tyler Rouse was injured last week and his status is uncertain for this game. Rouse leads the Eagles with 255 rushing yards, however, backup Myles Willis is available and has rushed for 243 yards averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Boston College is so dependent on the running game and is not built to play from behind. It will be critical for the Eagles to score first to dictate the tempo of this game and take the pressure off of their quarterbacks. Boston College is averaging 108 passing yards per game and must be able take chances early on to loosen up the Wolfpack front seven. In order to win this game, the Eagles must pass on first and second down off of play action which will neutralize the NC State defense and create running lanes for the backs later in the game. Wide receiver Thadd Smith has shown glimpses of his big play ability and leads the team with 10 receptions for 198 yards with one touchdown. Boston College must throw caution to the wind this weekend and open up the offense to stretch the Wolfpack defense which could lead to big plays in the play action passing game.
The strength of the team has been the defense which is allowing 13.3 points per game to their opponents. Boston College is excellent at shutting down the run and is yielding 64 rushing yards per game along with giving up 159 passing yards per game. The Eagles love to utilize blitz schemes and have had great success at sacking the quarterback this season. On the year, the Eagles have recorded 29 sacks through 9 games and will look to put pressure on Jacoby Brissett this Saturday. Linebackers Matt Milano and Steven Daniles are blue collar players that are the heart and soul of the unit. Both players have a combined 12.5 sacks on the year and will look to force turnovers against the Wolfpack to give their offense field position. Boston College is +2 in turnover margin and will need to win the turnover battle at home to pull off the upset. In order to get the victory, the Eagles must continue to play aggressive and bring pressure from the edge to keep Brissett in the pocket. Brissett struggled late in the game against Clemson when forced to throw in the pocket and has a tendency to hold onto the ball too long in waiting for receivers to break open. If Boston College force slow methodical drives and keep the big plays to a minimum, they will be in a position to get the victory.
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Joseph Lisi a former ABC Sports college football researcher, is the owner of www.GOFORTHE2.COM. He is a member if the FWAA (Football Writers Association Of America),Maxwell Football Club and is currently the content editor atwww.2FiveSports.com.He contributes regularly to www.Sid-Rosenberg.com and has been a featured guest every Tuesday night from 10:30-11:30pm EST on Yahoo Sports Radio With Ken Thomson(www.sportsxradio.com).
Joe has been featured on the FNTSY Sports Network and The Sid Rosenberg Sports Radio Show 640AM Sports (South Florida). You can follow him on Twitter: @Goforthe2.
Joe has a weekly radio show on www.blogtalkradio.com with former Georgia Bulldogs WR Corey Allen called: