A lot has already been written about how Boston College (5-5, 3-4 ACC) has had to overcome the loss of five starters to injury throughout the season. However, losing both your quarterback on offense and the leader of your defense by halftime it is a terrible circumstance for any team to overcome, something that is not lost on the Eagles head coach Steve Addazio.
“We’ve been doing this from the beginning of the year. We have not had the smooth sail personnel-wise. We’re trying to accommodate our injuries while we’re playing really good football teams.” Addazio said after the game.
The player that burdened the load on offense for the Eagles was running back AJ Dillon. The true-freshman ran for 196 yards on 36 carries including the game’s first touchdown with 6:10 remaining in the 2nd quarter. He broke free due to stellar blocking in front of him and was able to scamper for a 66-yard touchdown that warmed up the Alumni Stadium crowd.
The big day from Dillon put him at 1,039 yards rushing on the season. He is the first BC player to run for over 1,000-yards since quarterback Tyler Murphy in 2014. Dillon is currently ninth all-time in the ACC in rushing yards by a freshman.
NC State answered Dillon’s score to go into halftime with the lead. Running back Jaylen Samuels extended his hand over the pylon with 2:26 remaining in the first half to tie the game up at 7-7. And, after a blocked punt by Tyrone Riley, NC State kicker Kyle Bambard received the ultimate icing on a kick from Addazio as the BC head coach took all three time-outs. Bambard hit a 41-yard field goal with three seconds left in the first-half.
The NC State defense was able to shut down the BC offense in the second half. They caused backup Darius Wade all sorts of trouble and were able to accumulate five sacks. Defensive end Bradley Chubb had 2.5 sacks and became the Wolfpack’s all-time leader with 26 career sacks passing Mario Williams (25.5).
“It feels amazing. It hasn’t really hit me yet, but I feel like when I get home and lay in my to, it’s going to all come at once. It was definitely something I was for this year,” Chubbs said after the game. “I am glad I finally did it.”
Boston College looked like it turned the game around late in the third quarter when Thadd Smith took a jet sweep 12 yards for a score to make it 14-10 to head in the fourth quarter. However, that is when Chubbs and company really buckled down holding the Eagles to just 73 fourth quarter yards.
Running back Nyheim Hines sealed the game for the Wolfpack with 8:22 left in the game when he 50-yards for a touchdown. Hines finished the day with 16 carries for 110 yards.
Despite the loss, the Boston College defense had a strong showing that kept NC State quarterback at bay limiting the efficient quarterback to just 146 yards on 13 of 32 attempts and an interception.
Defensive end Zack Allen led the defense with nine tackles, a quarterback hit. Ty Schwab had the interception, and Kevin Bletzer picked up a fumble.
The severity of the injuries to both Brown and Moore are unknown at this time, but the feeling is that it is not good. No matter how good of an effort any team puts out, the number of injuries to key positions that the Eagles have had pile up is tough to overcome for any team. And, needing at least a win against either UCONN or Syracuse in the final two games of the season to become bowl eligible Boston College must put these behind them fast.
“We’ve got to deal with what’s been thrown at us, and we can’t allow that to, as I told the team down there, we’ve got no time right now. We can’t wallow in what could have been and what happened. We have to have our complete focus on Saturday because we have legitimate things to overcome right now.” Addazzio said.
Next Saturday Boston College travels down the street to Fenway Park for a game hosted by UCONN a part of the Fenway Gridiron Series. Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. EST.