North Carolina State at Boston College

Sports Xchange

November 08, 2017 at 3:17 pm.

GAME SNAPSHOT
KICKOFF: Saturday, noon ET
SITE: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
TV: ABC/ESPN2 (reverse mirror)
SERIES: Boston College leads 8-4. The Eagles won 21-14 in 2016.
RANKINGS: North Carolina State No. 23

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wolfpack

–QB Ryan Finley continues to show a high degree of efficiency, though his first interception in 339 passes (dating to last season) came against Notre Dame and then he was picked off twice more against Clemson. In his second season with the Wolfpack, the transfer from Boise State has thrown 33 touchdowns in an N.C. State uniform.

–TE/FB Jaylen Samuels has scored 12 touchdowns this season, including two against Clemson. He’s considered one of the country’s most versatile players as he has gained 480 receiving yards and 248 rushing yards this season.

–WR Kelvin Harmon has four games with more than 100 receiving yards this season plus 97 yards against Notre Dame. He’s coming off an eight-catch, 155-yard effort against Clemson, marking the sophomore’s career high for receiving yards.

EAGLES

–QB Anthony Brown didn’t have a great game against Florida State, going just 6-of-20 for 54 yards as he continues to miss open receivers. But this leadership is strong as he makes his way through his redshirt freshman season.

–RB AJ Dillon, a freshman, has already become a special player in this program. He ran for 149 yards on 33 carries in the rout of Florida State and has run for 512 yards during the three-game winning streak and has three 100-yard games this season.

–WR Jeff Smith didn’t catch a pass in the FSU victory, but he threw his second touchdown pass of the season, a 34-yarder to Kobay White. The former quarterback has developed into a legitimate passing threat for trick plays, and he also had a 26-yard run in the win.

–DE/LB Harold Landry is rated as one of the best defensive players in the country but he continues to battle an ankle injury and missed the Florida State game, limited to patrolling the sideline in a walking boot. It was the first game he’s missed at BC and his status this week is questionable.

KEYS
TO THE GAME

No. 23 North Carolina State may have slipped three spots in the College Football Playoff rankings after back-to-back losses to Notre Dame and Clemson, but the Wolfpack still has goals in place as it hits the road to take on Boston College on Saturday.

“We’re playing for so many things,” Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said. “We’re playing for the opportunity that if we win our next three games we’ll have a chance to win 10. That means a lot to our team.”

But the Wolfpack (6-3,4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) will go into the game against the Eagles (5-4, 3-3 ACC) still feeling the sting of a 38-31 loss to Clemson that might have decided the ACC’s Atlantic Division title. Kickoff is noon ET at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, with a “reverse mirror” telecast with ABC/ESPN2.

N.C. State still has a chance at securing a spot in the ACC Championship Game, but that would require Clemson to lose at home to Florida State this week and the Wolfpack to win its final three regular-season games. A trip to Wake Forest and home game against North Carolina remain after the contest with the Eagles.

“The season isn’t over year,” receiver Jakobi Meyers said. “We’re going to keep pushing.”

N.C. State has experienced some slippage on defense in back-to-back losses to national powers, starting with a road setback at Notre Dame, but Doeren is more concerned with the old adage about not letting one loss turn into two.

“More than anything, it’s about trying to get a winning taste back in our mouth as a football team,” Doeren said. “I was proud of how our team fought. There were a lot of ups and downs. I think there were a lot of positives from both of those games.”

Boston College has been troublesome for the Wolfpack in the past and is a hot team.

The Eagles are coming off an open date and have shown some spark in the past month, ripping off three consecutive victories to climb within a victory of bowl eligibility.

“I told the team just let’s put blinders on, we’re in a one-game season, here, period, end,” Eagles coach Steve Addazio said. “So that’s what I think. And I hope that’s what our team thinks, you know.

“Because I think that’s the trap this time of year, especially. I think the season always presents different traps, but a lot of teams start all of a sudden looking at what’s next week or three weeks or what could happen here and what could happen there. That’s just a trap to me.”

N.C. State’s offense often has trouble against Boston College and the Wolfpack is a little banged up on that side with running back Nyheim Hines trying to recover from an ankle injury and versatile back Jaylen Samuels missing plays after he was dinged up against Clemson.

Hines had a total of 10 carries for 40 yards in the past two weeks after three consecutive games of more than 100 rushing yards.

The Eagles manhandled Florida State 35-3 before their bye week, beating the Seminoles for the first time since 2009 and becoming the first team to hold FSU without a touchdown since 2008 and the first to keep the ‘Noles under 10 points since ’09.

N.C. State quarterback Ryan Finley, who threw two interceptions last week, has thrown for 15 touchdowns and is 40th nationally in passing efficiency, with a rating of 141.8.

The Wolfpack’s defensive front is considered the strength of the team, although Clemson cut through for 224 rushing yards. Defensive end Bradley Chubb, who has 18.5 tackles for loss, including 7.5 sacks, leads the unit.

Boston College completed just seven passes in the Florida State victory, but two of them, one thrown by quarterback Anthony Brown and the other by receiver Jeff Smith, went for touchdowns.

BC is only 107th in the nation in passing (171.1 yards per game) but has developed a fine 1-2 running back combo in AJ Dillon and Jon Hilliman. Dillon rushed for 149 yards against Florida State and 272 against Louisville in a win that started the three-game winning streak.

“The bye week gave us a great opportunity to get some guys feeling better. And rested. Physically, but mentally, as well,” Addazio said. “I think it gave our guys a chance to really get back on top academically, which is huge. I mean that’s a continual — that’s a grind.

“But our guys did a great job of that.”

 

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

THE LOWE DOWN

Week 12 Lowe Down: Miami, Wisconsin carry on.