BOSTON — Riding a three-game win streak and a chance to become bowl eligible in front of a Senior Day crowd, the Boston College Eagles paid tribute to their outgoing senior class.
In a game that was back and forth from the get-go, the Eagles (5-5, 3-4 ACC) lost a tough one to No.23 North Carolina State (7-3 ,5-1 ACC), falling 17-14 to snap a two-game losing streak. The loss halted the Eagles’ three-game winning streak. Boston College Head Coach Steve Addazio noted afterward that the Wolfpack rose to the occasion when it mattered most.
“They found a way to win in the end. The stats are pretty even in the game,” he added.
Adding insult to injury, the Eagles may have lost their starting quarterback in the process. Freshman quarterback Anthony Brown left the game early in the second quarter with an apparent ankle injury, on a running play.
After laying on the ground for a couple of minutes, he would get up and be help of the field. After being examine on the sidelines, Brown would be giving crutches to help him go to the locker room and be check out. After the game, Addazio noted the injury changed the way they called the game a bit.
“So we’re going to have to adjust a little bit to this. We’re going to have to make some adjustments moving forward. I don’t know exactly what that’s going to be right now,” he added. “So, you know, we’re going to have to handle that.”
Before the injury, Brown led the team downfield on their opening drive of the game. On a second and long from the Wolfpack 17-yard line, he tossed an interception in the end zone by NC State’s Shawn Boone. On the ensuring drive, the Wolfpack marched back down the field, a 13-play march ended when a 54-yard field goal try by Kyle Bambard would come up a bit short leaving the teams locked in a 0-0 affair.
The second quarter saw the Eagles strike first, with Darius Wade under center for the injured Brown. A second and seven from the Eagle 34-yard line turn into a big play when freshman running back A.J. Dillon ripped a 66-yard run down the left sideline untouched to put the Eagles up 7-0.
For Dillon, it would be part of a heavy workload, toting the ball 36 times for 208 yards, making it his second 200-yard game this season. It would also put him over 1,000 yards for his freshman season year, a BC freshman record.
NC State would answer the quick score by scoring ten unanswered points. The first came by way of wide receiver Jaylen Samuels – operating from the “wildcat” – took a direct snap to tie the game at 7-7, it would finish off an 11-play drive. Just before half, the Wolfpack got the ball back after Eagles’ punter Mike Knoll got his punt blocked by Throne Riley. The special teams play would give Bambard a chance to give his team the lead just before half. From 46 yards, out he would give the Wolfpack a 10-7 halftime lead.
The Eagles retook the lead thanks to a 12 yard touchdown run by Thadd Smith down the left sideline, Smith would leap just inside the pylon to make it a 14-10 lead for Boston College. It would be the only scoring of the third quarter, and would set up what look like a great finish.
In the final quarter, it was North Carolina State that came up with the big play when they needed it. And it also came on the ground. Running back Nyheim Hines took a handoff off the right tackle, turned the corner and was off to the races for a 50-yard score to put the Wolfpack ahead 17-14.
The Eagles would get the ball back with five minutes left to try and pull the game out. They would move the ball downfield to at least try a game-tying field goal. Instead, a bad snap on the field goal attempt would force holder Jeff Smith to try a downfield pass that was incomplete. The Eagles turn the ball over on downs and NC State was able to put the game away.
I mean, it was fairly obvious to see the snap kind of rolled back,” Addazio stated of the game-ending play. “Nothing Jeff could do. It was on the ground, back to the right. He had no chance to put that back up and give us a chance to kick the ball. There was no chance.”
After the game, Coach Addazio second guess himself on a fourth down call right after Brown got injured. It was fourth and one from deep in Wolfpack territory, according to the coach, there were three options. Run the ball, kick a field goal, or the one they settled on – a Jump pass by running back Jon Hillman that fell to the ground. Addazio blame himself for making wrong call. At the time that game was scoreless.
“I mean, yes, the run, but that call is my call,” he added. “The three options were the obvious ones. Obviously, I made the wrong one. We could kick it. We could hand it off to AJ. We had worked all week long on a special. This was our special. It was a jump pass. We felt like they were going to feel really hard on fourth and one. And we thought that Chris Garrison would be wide open in the end zone. Honestly, I was going to kick the field goal, and in my mind I kind of knew what I was dealing with Anthony. I said to myself, we’ve got to score touchdowns. And I made the decision.”
A bigger concern is who will play at quarterback next Saturday night when Boston College makes the short bus trip to play the Connecticut Huskies at Fenway Park. Right now it looks like Wade will get the call. Addazio stated he would have a better idea about Brown’s injury Sunday or Monday.
Boston College will play UConn Saturday night at Fenway Park.
Defense End Bradley Chubb became the all-time sack leader at North Carolina State after recording 2.5 sacks Saturday. He has 26.5 for his career.