Don Brown's Adjustments: Watching the beginning of this game didn't you get the feeling that this was going to be another game where the defense was going to struggle? On the opening drive BC had the Pack held to a third and long, and what happens? Brissett scoots for 9 yards and the first down. After two drives where Brissett and Co. moved the ball at will and put up 14 points, BC's defense awoke. The secondary played exceptionally well (though there were a few non calls on PI/holding I saw), and the pressure on Brissett gave him fits. Coming into this game, N.C. State was averaging over 40 points a game, BC held them to 14, and a whopping zero in the final three quarters.
Ryan Day's Gameplan: Credit where credit is due: the play action pass was exceptional the first two drives. N.C. State bought it every time, and Tyler Murphy threw it in the vicinity of where his wide open receivers were standing. This gave BC two quick touchdowns. What was really interesting to watch was the wide variety of calls he made both on the ground and in the air. He moved around Sherm Allston and made the Wolfpack account for him anytime he touched the field. And when the weather got sloppy, Day adjusted and kept the game on the ground. True, some of the drives died, but that will be addressed below.
The Defense (A Whole Bunch of Dudes): After the first two scores, as mentioned above, the Wolfpack did little to nothing offensively. These guys went out there and made play after play, including but not limited to: Brian Mihalik's interception to start the second half, Connor Wujciak's sack on 4th down to end the game, Josh Keyes' sack of Brissett two series earlier that led to a fumble recovered by Steven Daniels. Big hits, big stops all around. One question remains though. How many passes can be thrown right into Manny Asprilla's breadbox that he just drops? Another brutal one yesterday.
Tyler Murphy: I said this on Twitter last night, but man is he a joy to watch. When he drops back and flaps his arms, you almost wait for him to take the ball to the house. He did this TWICE last night. When he gets in space and gets into second gear he is nearly impossible to catch, especially when defenses pinch in with their corners to try and stop the run. He is 13th in the country in rushing, and there is no QB within 200 yards of his 711 rushing yards. Still didn't think his passing was great, and there was still one "Oh god not again" pass, but it was effective when it was needed. Much was made of the Battle of the Gator QB's, but after the final whistle blew it was clear who won it. And he was wearing the maroon and gold.
Sherm Alston (The Little Man Strikes Back): Back from his sabbatical, Alston was all over the field for the Eagles, touching the ball 9 times, and using his movement to cause trouble for the Pack. Just having him out there and move in motion was enough to make the defense to adjust.
The Offensive Line: Wasn't it refreshing to see Bobby Vardaro back on the field? He made a huge difference on multiple plays, and opened up big holes on the runs. Plus there was another big number the entire line can hang in their locker room. ZERO. As in sacks. On the 19 drop backs, Murphy wasn't sacked once. Through 6 games, BC has allowed seven sacks, which is good for 22nd in the country. Not bad, not bad at all.
First Two Drives On Defense: It looked like Colorado St. Part Deux. Missed tackles, Brissett was allowed to hit receivers underneath, and just sloppy all around. It looked grim to start.
The Rain Delay: Has there ever been a game that has felt like it went on longer than this one? Well, probably, but this still felt painfully slow. Add in a 58 minute thunder delay and a 3:30 game didn't finish until nearly 8 o'clock. If you want to look at the glass half full, the rain delay effectively knocked out home advantage for the Pack as it looked like there was about 200 people that decided to stay and watch the end of the game, and given the placement of the mics most sounded like they were Boston College fans.
Josh Bordner's Drop: BC could have put the Pack away early if Bordner grabs that ball and takes it to the house. But like we have seen for the past two seasons, he drops the ball and kills the drive.
Inability to Put The Pack Down: BC had multiple chances to put away N.C. State, but they struggled to put up points time and time again. They controlled the clock, which was important, but after the defense did their job, the offense couldn't get the ball in the end zone (until the final Murphy TD). When you are playing against Clemson and Louisville you have to get six. BC had four trips into the red zone on Saturday, and scored one touchdown in those four trips. Going to need to do better.
The Kicking Game: There were a few things about the kicking game that was incredibly frustrating. First, BC's squib kicking didn't seem to be as effective as it had been in past weeks. Secondly, BC was hesitant to try and kick attempt it seemed, and for some reason tried a 52 yard field goal with Alex Howell. I get some of this had to do with handling Mike Knoll with kid gloves. And of course we had another extra point failure, which would have ended the game a lot earlier. Honest question, why does BC struggle so much with extra points?
The Sequence At The End Of The First Half: If you want to get on Steve Addazio for anything yesterday, this would have to be the sequence of plays and blunders that killed a great drive to end the first half. BC had the ball on the 15 yard line with about a minute left, and inexplicably Addazio didn't call a time out and let the clock drain to about 15 seconds. BC had two time outs remaining and was moving the ball effectively, why sit on it and trust your kickers? Made no sense. Then to make the situation worse, they came out of the timeout and got nailed for a delay of game penalty. After an incomplete pass to Charlie Callinan, Seth Betancourt got called for a stupid personal foul penalty that effectively pushed BC out of field goal range. It was just a terrible sequence of plays, much of which could have been avoided if they were more aggressive in the red zone.
Jacoby Brissett And His Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day: I am as guilty as anyone into buying into his hype. He looked fantastic against Florida State and was putting up some gawdy numbers. But he looked completely lost yesterday. Instead of trying to go short on BC he spent most of the day trying to launch passes down the field. He missed more than 50% of his passes, and of course he did this, which might be my favorite GIF of the year. (H/T Grant)