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October 11, 2010

Monday morning quarterbacking

NC State once again jumped out to a big lead, but this time there was no relinquishing any of it. The Pack led 24-3 midway through the second quarter and cruised to a 44-17 triumph over struggling Boston College on a warm Saturday afternoon at Carter-Finley Stadium. Now it's time for some Monday Morning Quarterbacking.

Key moment of the game:

NC State led 3-0 after fifth-year senior Josh Czajkowski booted a 40-yard field goal on State's opening drive. Boston College gained only three yards in three plays on its first possession and lined up for a punt.

Boston College's Ryan Quigley however had his boot blocked by what looked to be redshirt sophomore reserve linebacker Colby Jackson on The Wolfpacker photographer Ken Martin's photo. NC State freshman safety D.J. Green recovered the punt in the end zone for a touchdown, giving State a 10-0 lead with 8:04 left in the first quarter, and NC State never looked back.



Three things that worked:

1. Taking care of business
The energy level at Carter-Finley Stadium was noticeably down a decibel or two after last week's high profile showdown with Virginia Tech. Playing against a struggling Boston College team seven days after an emotional defeat to the Hokies could have been tough mentally, but NC State came out and took care of business. They executed a game plan and soundly defeated an inferior opponent.

2. Pass defense
The numbers speak for themselves. The Boston College sophomore quarterback duo of Dave Shinskie and Mike Marscovetra completed just 11 of 32 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions. Boston College's quarterback and receiver combination probably ranks near if not at the bottom of the ACC, but State's defense still did its job.

3. Attacking Boston College's defense
Boston College has a very solid defense that is very good at stopping the run and taking away the vertical passing game. The way to attack them is quick passes, and that's exactly what State did. State used the short passing game to pile up 347 yards passing yards, and redshirt junior quarterback Russell Wilson took advantage of the open spaces in front of him when no one was open to rush for 45 more yards. State finished with 422 yards of total offense, 41 more than Boston College has allowed in any game this season.



Three things that did not work:

1. Defending the run
It was not a huge deal Saturday because Boston College was never in a situation to use the running game as a weapon, but the Eagles' three running backs combined to run 24 times for 109 yards, an average of 4.5 yards per carry.

2. Running the football
Again, not a big deal since NC State never tried to run the football Saturday, but it is worth noting that with State dropping back to pass on probably about 75 percent of the time Saturday, when the running backs did get a carry the longest run from the line of scrimmage was just four yards. State running backs ran 12 times for 28 yards, but on the positive side never got tackled for a loss.

3. Covering Alex Amidon
The Boston College receiver was not even on the Eagles' travel roster handed out to the media before the game. He caught three passes for 102 yards, including the two longest pass plays for Boston College, a 29-yarder from Shinskie and a 67-yard bomb for a touchdown from Marscovetra.



Breaking down the position battles:

NC State's OL vs. Boston College's front seven
Wilson was sacked five times by Boston College, but a few of those seemed to be coverage sacks. The running backs were never hit behind the line of scrimmage. NC State though could have done a better job blocking Boston College sophomore linebacker Luke Kuechley. The tackling machine set a new career high with 20 tackles.

NC State's front seven vs. Boston College's OL
Boston College was supposed to have a solid offensive line, but NC State was able to get to Shinskie and Marscovetra quite a bit, although they were only credited with two sacks. Both quarterbacks took some hard hits, especially Shinskie.

NC State's WR vs. Boston College's DB
NC State did not really test Boston College's defensive backs downfield that much, but the receivers did a very good job getting open and executing NC State's offensive game plan.

NC State's DB vs. Boston College's WR
There were a few times Boston College's wide outs got open, but for the most part NC State had the advantage in this matchup throughout the afternoon.

Quarterbacks
This was the biggest mismatch on the field Saturday. Wilson is an all-ACC quarterback, and neither Shinskie or Marscovetra have shown this year they should be starting for an ACC team.

Running backs
Some in the press box noted that if Boston College had a competent offensive attack that Harris probably could have had a nice afternoon of 20 to 25 carries for over 100 yards, but that was not the case. Still, Boston College's running backs were more effective than State's. Part of that was by design though.

Tight Ends
NC State redshirt junior George Bryan caught four passes for 64 yards, including a big 37-yarder that helped loosen up Boston College's defense. BC's touted Chris Pantele caught just two passes for four yards. Bryan was definitely the best tight end on the field Saturday.

Special teams
State did give up another long kickoff return, and Boston College's Quigley was sensational at times with his punting, but State gets the edge here. The blocked punt for a touchdown was huge. Junior Andy Leffler averaged 42.2 yards per punt in four kicks for NC State, one of the best punting days in years for a State kicker. Czajkowski kicked well, making all three field goals including a new season-long of 44 yards.



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