In a game of teams with a total of one ACC win between them this season, no one expected elegance. Neither team achieved elegance. And odds-makers, who made North Carolina State a 15+ points favorite, didn’t expect a win by Boston College. But Eagles fans certainly hoped to see their team’s 12-game ACC losing streak end, and those hopes were realized.
With a trick play producing the winning touchdown and a defensive stop in the red zone — both of which were rare this season — BC defeated NC State, 21-14, and finally put a number in the conference win column. I’ve seen reports that it had been 700 days since the last conference win for the Eagles, and I’m not going to count to challenge that.
BC led 10-7 at halftime on the basis of a 24-yard field goal from Mike Knoll and a 60-yard jet sweep by Jeff Smith in which he ran untouched. A 29-yard field goal by Knoll made it 13-7 in the 3rd quarter, but about 90 seconds later and following an NC State interception of Patrick Knowles, the Wolfpack scored a touchdown to make take a 14-13 lead.
With just over 9 minutes left in the game, BC had the ball at its 37. Nine plays later, on the NC State 14, Towles handed off to freshman running back Davon Jones, who then threw a pass to tight end Tommy Sweeney for what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown. Knoll’s kickoff to NC State was returned 56 yards to the BC 42 yard line, with 4:34 remaining. The Wolfpack moved quickly into the red zone and was 1-and-goal at the BC 2. In an offense older BC fans may recall from Dana Bible, who was later the offensive coordinator for this Wolfpack team, NC State ran up the middle twice for a total of -1 yard and then attempted a quite predictable fade throw into the corner of the endzone. BC defensive back Kamrin Moore said later he had anticipated the throw, which he easily intercepted. BC then ran out the clock.
BC had 21 first downs and 386 yards total offense, compared to NC State’s 14 first downs and 338 yards. Towles was 18-of-33 for 204 yards, no touchdowns and 1 interception, for a QB rating of 28.2. NC State quarterback Ryan Finley was about as mediocre, completing 23-of-41 for 307 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Jonathan Hilliman led the Eagles in rushing, with 74 yards.
The Eagles next meet #5 Louisville, in Alumni Stadium, 9 am PT, Saturday, November 5.