GAME NOTES: The NC State Wolfpack will try to bounce back from their first loss of the campaign, as they entertain the Boston College Eagles in ACC play this weekend at Carter-Finley Stadium.
With four straight wins to open the season, NC State was off to its best start since 2002. The Wolfpack even earned a national ranking heading into last weekend's matchup with Virginia Tech. Unfortunately, NC State was unable to prove it was worthy of a Top 25 ranking, dropping a 41-30 decision to the Hokies. The loss dropped the Wolfpack out of the Top 25 and to a level 1-1 in ACC play.
BC meanwhile, closed out its season-opening four-game homestand with a 31-13 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday. That came one week after the team was blanked 19-0 by Virginia Tech in its ACC opener. Now at 2-2 overall, the Eagles are set for a two-game road trip that will conclude at Florida State on October 16th.
The Eagles lead the all-time series with NC State, 5-2, and that includes a 52-20 rout in last season's meeting.
After being blanked by Virginia Tech, BC decided to change QBs and gave true freshman Chase Rettig a chance to make his first career start last weekend. Rettig responded by throwing for 72 yards and a score before leaving early in the second quarter with an ankle injury. Mike Marscovetra, for the fourth straight game, come on in relief, but was sacked five times while throwing for 193 yards and a pair of INTs. Rettig is listed as questionable for this weekend and if he can't go, it would be either Marscovetra or opening day starter Dave Shinskie that would get the call. The offense is obviously in a bit of a flux for the Eagles, so expect RB Montel Harris to shoulder the load. Harris has rushed for 334 yards this season, but was held to just 28 yards on 15 carries in the loss to Notre Dame. The offensive line seems to be the biggest area of concern for the Eagles, who have allowed 13 sacks while rushing for just 87.5 ypg.
Defensively, the Eagles gave up three TDs in the opening quarter to Notre Dame before settling down in a 31-13 loss. BC yielded just 315 total yards in the contest, while coming up with three takeaways. The Eagles have forced 12 turnovers on the season and are giving up just 311.0 total ypg. The unit, however, is surrendering 229.5 of those ypg through the air and opponents are converting 40 percent of the time on third down. LB Luke Kuechly continues to prove his worth to the team, as he leads the way with 51 stops on the year. He was a bright spot last weekend as well, finishing with 14 stops and a fumble recovery.
Quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 362 yards and three TDs, but his three INTs proved costly in a 41-30 loss to Virginia Tech last weekend. The performance obviously consisted of mixed results and it was a bit surprising to see Wilson throw three picks after having just one INT in the first four games. Wilson has still been effective with 1,474 yards and 14 TDs, but he really needs to be more careful protecting the ball going forward. Owen Spencer and Jarvis Williams have been his favorite targets, posting 356 and 312 receiving yards, respectively. Both cracked the century mark in the loss to Virginia Tech, with Spencer catching six passes for 145 yards and Williams finishing with four receptions for 103 yards and a score. The Wolfpack ground attack is averaging a solid 145.0 ypg and is paced by Mustafa Greene, who has rushed for 333 yards and four TDs.
NC State's defense simply crumbled after the intermission last weekend, as the Wolfpack surrendered 34 points in the second half to Virginia Tech. The unit was shredded on the ground, as Virginia Tech rushed for 317 yards on just 37 carries. The Wolfpack are now giving up 164.0 rushing ypg, a number that increased significantly after last weekend's performance. NC State, though, did manage four sacks last weekend, giving this defense an impressive 18 sacks for the year. Audie Cole had two of the sacks, along with seven tackles and three TFLs last weekend, and he tops the roster with four sacks for the year.
The Wolfpack are clearly the better offensive team and that is why they should prevail over a BC club that is in a bit of shambles at the moment.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: NC State 24, Boston College 16
Saturday, October 9th, 12:00 p.m. (et).