For the second time this season, Boston College football came into a game as the underdog at home, and for the second time this season, they emerged victorious. Many expected NC State to steal an easy road win against an injured BC team, but a potent rushing attack enabled the Eagles to earn a 45-24 victory.
Backup quarterback Dennis Grosel made his first career start, as the Eagles were without starting quarterback Anthony Brown, who sustained a season-ending injury last week against Louisville.
Grosel played a small role, as the focal point of the Boston College offense was the rushing attack. AJ Dillon looked to be in All-ACC form, tallying a tremendous 223 yards and finding the end zone three times, all from within the 10-yard line.
While expectations for Dillon are consistently high, David Bailey proved to be a fantastic weapon as well, gaining 182 rushing yards on 16 carries and scoring twice. Two of Bailey's carries ran for 48-yards and 54-yards in the second quarter.
Bailey showed balance and poise on both of his touchdown runs, breaking tackles and juking multiple defenders.
Tight end Hunter Long was a vital part of the passing game, accounting for 84 of Grosel’s 103 passing yards. With Grosel now getting first-team reps in practice, this connection may be beginning to blossom.
While much of the focus in the game was on the stellar offensive play, the defense also performed admirably, holding the Wolfpack to ten points in the first three quarters. Though two more touchdowns were allowed in the fourth quarter, both of them were scored after the Eagles already secured the game.
BC only managed two sacks, but the defensive line consistently won at the point of attack, applying constant pressure. After a BC punt gave NC State possession at their own 1-yard line, the pressure on QB Devin Leary forced him to attempt a quick pass on third down. BC’s Jason Maitre jumped the route and picked the ball off, returning it eight yards to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead.
Saturday’s win improved the Eagles' record to 4-3, but they face a tough road ahead with a road tilt against Clemson next Saturday. With only one home advantage in their remaining five games and two of the road games against teams ranked within the top 10, the Eagles could be staring down the barrel of their first losing season since their miserable 3-9 2015 season.
While BC was never expected to beat Clemson in Death Valley, next week may be a must-win for head coach Steve Addazio if he hopes to remain in Chestnut Hill next year.
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