As BC prepares for their home finale against NC State, we sat down with thrillis4 of Backing The Pack, SB Nation's NC State blog, to talk about all things Wolfpack.
BC Interruption: NC State goes into every season as the Dark Horse of the ACC. Now they stand at 5-3 (1-3 in the ACC), how are Wolfpack fans feeling about the team so far?
Backing The Pack: It's hard for me to say it hasn't been at least somewhat disappointing, but there's still plenty of opportunity to ultimately have this be a successful season. The losses to both Virginia Tech and Louisville were both winnable games, and it would've been really exciting to be undefeated heading in to the Clemson game. The Pack played very well for most of the game against the Tigers, who in my opinion are one of the best teams in the country. The talent is definitely there for the Pack, but they've had some issues this year taking that step forward at times. I'm curious to see if we'll see this weekend the same team that started strong against Clemson, or the team that struggled against Louisville and VT.
BC Interruption: One of the biggest surprises of the season has to be the emergence of Matthew Dayes as a premier running back in the ACC. BC has an incredible rush defense. What makes Dayes so effective?
Backing The Pack: Simply put, Dayes is one of the hardest runners in the conference. He's been very consistent in his ability to pick up first downs in 3rd down situations, and he's also averaging just a shade over 7 yards per carry on first down runs, which then opens up the offense to be really creative in short yardage plays. If BC is to win on Saturday, one of their main goals will be to stop Dayes on first down.......that is if he plays. He did injure his toe in the loss to Clemson, and did not play in the second half of that game. There hasn't been any update on his status as of yet if he's going to play, so this could end up being a gametime decision. Obviously, if Dayes is unable to play, that's going to make the Pack's offense a lot less dynamic.
BC Interruption: Jacoby Brissett really struggled against Boston College last season. Have you seen an improvement from him over this year?
Backing The Pack: Indeed, Brissett was largely ineffective against BC last year. I believe he has improved, but there are still areas he could be better. He's been outstanding this year in terms of not turning the ball over. He has only thrown one interception all season, which came at the very end of the game against Virginia Tech. I'd still like to see him get better with his downfield passes to force opposing defenses to spread out, which would open up his already tremendous ability to run the read option even more. He's been very good at that this season, so it'll be interesting to see how a potential loss of Dayes affects what the Pack wants to do there.
BC Interruption: NC State has one of the best passing defenses in the country. Talk a little about what makes them so deadly?
Backing The Pack: State's linebackers and defensive line have been sensational this year, there's been no doubt. They've been able to put a lot of pressure on opposing QB's for the most part this season. What's been really frustrating though for State fans is that the defense has struggled mightily lately to force turnovers, which absolutely killed any chance they had to come back against Clemson. Mike Rose, one of the seniors on the defensive line has 7.5 sacks on the season, and as a whole, NC State has forced 21 sacks in their 8 games. State will definitely need to try and force BC into some turnovers early to take control of that game (just for the sake of the fact that State hasn't forced a turnover in over a month).
BC Interruption: Alright prediction time, what have you got?
Backing The Pack: Though road games in the Atlantic Division have been a house of horrors for NC State for awhile, I think the Pack have a great chance to win and to build off of the positives from the Clemson game. This is a tremendously important game for State, as they need all the wins they can get with a game in Tallahassee and a game against UNC still left to play.
Ultimately, I see this being a close game throughout, particularly if Dayes is unable to go, and given some of the Eagles' offensive struggles lately. I'll take the Pack to win, 21-17.