NC State drops third straight in embarrassing fashion to Boston College

Eagles exit Carter-Finley with first ACC win after 12 straight losses in conference.

Rob Kinnan—USA Today Sports
Boston College Eagles tight end Tommy Sweeney (89) celebrates the game-winning touchdown with teammates during the second half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Carter Finley Stadium. Boston College won 21-14.

RALEIGH — It was bound to happen. NC State fans just hoped it wouldn’t come against them. Especially not during Homecoming weekend.Boston College finally earned an ACC win after 12 straight losses in the conference in a 21-14 win over the Wolfpack. In fact, the Eagles were winless in both football and men’s basketball in ACC play in the previous 598 days before Saturday’s victory in Carter-Finley Stadium.Both teams are now 4-4 on the season, with NC State dropping to 1-3 in ACC play and BC moving to 1-4.”We’ve got to play a lot better,” NC State coach Dave Doeren said. “We knew coming into this game they were a good defense and we had to maximize our opportunities. When we could score we needed to, but we didn’t do that enough.”Bra’Lon Cherry and Kelvin Harmon were the two bright spots for the Pack with a combined eight catches for 185 yards. Unfortunately, Ryan Finley finished the game with two more interceptions for his third straight game with multiple picks.Cherry accounted for the lone offensive touchdown for NC State in the first half on a 79-yard reception. Prior to the catch, Cherry’s longest reception of the season was a 22-yarder against ECU. He also accounted for just 56 yards in the previous five games.Outside of Cherry’s 105 receiving yards in the first half, the Pack had just 89 yards on offense. It also compiled a total of 59 penalty yards on four penalties through the first two quarters, with three going against the defense and another nullifying Jaylen Samuel’s only touch of the first half.Meanwhile, Boston College didn’t find much success offensively in the first half, but responded to Cherry’s massive touchdown with a 60-yard rushing TD by Jeff Smith. On the other side, BC shut down the NC State rushing attack, holding the Pack to just 31 total yards on the ground.”It’s next to impossible to be a good offense when you have 23 yards rushing,” Doeren said, taking away eight yards from his team’s performance. “I don’t care who you play, it’s impossible.”Coming off a field goal by BC to put the Eagles up 13-7 to start the second half, Finley threw a nearly perfect pass that hit off Matt Dayes’ fingertips into Ty Schwab’s hands for a Boston College interception. On the very next play, Josh Jones picked off Patrick Towles at the Eagles’ 23-yard line. That play was followed by a ridiculous 23-yard catch by Kelvin Harmon for his fourth touchdown of the season, tying Samuels for the most on the team.Harmon’s touchdown put NC State up 14-13, where the score would stand heading into the fourth quarter. On the first drive of the fourth quarter, Stephen Louis caught a 53-yard pass from Finley that was ruled a touchdown by an official before it was nullified by an ineligible player downfield call.Penalties were a theme for the Wolfpack, with seven on the afternoon going for 89 total yards, but that one was costly. It was a sloppy afternoon overall, one that will haunt Doeren after losing his third conference game of the season in embarrassing fashion to Boston College.”When you have a huge play that comes back, that’s a killer play,” Doeren said. “That’s what we’ve talked about since January. We have to be an opportunistic team that capitalizes on moments. We can’t beat ourselves and win big games. Or win any games. There’s examples of that everywhere. It beat us. It did.”Boston College took advantage of NC State’s miscues to take the lead on a running back pass in the end zone with 4:43 remaining in the game.After two huge plays by Nyheim Hines — a 56-yard return and 32-yard reception — Finley then threw his second interception to allow BC one final drive with 1:35 remaining. That allowed the Eagles to run down the clock for its first ACC win in nearly two years and send NC State to three straight losses.The loss to Boston College is an all-time low for the program under Doeren. But with Florida State coming to town next Saturday, the road doesn’t get any easier. While the same players are on the roster from the close loss to Clemson, Doeren isn’t sure how to fix the sinking ship.”We’ve got to get them back to that point,” Doeren said. “Those guys are still in that locker room, but we have to be a team that takes opportunities and capitalizes on those opportunities and doesn’t beat itself. … Those things can’t happen. They can’t.”