NC State sees potential home-winning streak record thwarted by Boston College

The Wolfpack came up short on Senior Night

Boston College wide receiver Joseph Griffin Jr., left, hauls in a pass for a touchdown against North Carolina State cornerback Derrek Pitts Jr. (24) in the final moments of the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Raleigh, N.C. (Chris Seward / AP Photo)

RALEIGH — The stage was set for a record-setting night Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium as NC State went for its 17th straight home win.

It was Senior Night, the team was coming off of a big win over Wake Forest, the offense finally seemed to be clicking and the opponent was a two-win Boston College team. 

It looked like smooth sailing to win No. 17.

Instead, the Wolfpack lost in heartbreaking fashion.

Behind by six with a fourth-and-6 from the 10-yard line with 23 seconds to go, Eagles quarterback Emmett Morehead stepped back, looked and fired toward receiver Joe Griffin at the 2-yard line. Griffin reached for the ball but the Wolfpack defense got there and the pass fell incomplete to seemingly seal a win.

But a streak of yellow came flying in from the sideline — defensive pass interference.

Veteran linebacker Drake Thomas, who had been leading the charge all night for the defense with two sacks and three tackles for loss, arrived too early, making contact with the Boston College receiver.

“I thought Drake made a fantastic play,” said NC State coach Dave Doeren. “Disappointed that a flag was thrown on a play like that. I thought it was a bang-bang play to win the game. I don’t know how you throw that flag. A really disappointing call by that official.”

Linebacker Payton Wilson was a bit more direct than his coach.

“It was a bad call.”

The Eagles went on to score on the following play, and the Wolfpack didn’t have enough time left to mount a last-second comeback, losing 21-20.

While it came down to the defense at the end, it was the Wolfpack’s offense that failed NC State.

The Wolfpack had four turnovers of their own and also managed to score just three points off three Eagles giveaways.

“If you turn the ball over three times and you can’t convert on third down (2 of 12), it’s hard to find a rhythm,” Doeren said.

The start was actually great for NC State, which blew up each of the Eagles’ first two drives with big sacks and scored on its first two possessions with big chunk plays in both.

But the Wolfpack’s game started to slip, with the offense leaving points on the field after being handed excellent field position off of huge stops and takeaways.

“I feel like we kind of didn’t play to our full ability,” said freshman quarterback MJ Morris. “We slowed down a lot. In the first half we played really fast and then we slowed down a bit. I feel like they got some momentum and they just ran away with it.”

Nearly half of the Wolfpack’s total offensive yards (335) came on their first two drives of the game (156). 

NC State rushed for 200 yards, but the passing game managed just nine passing yards in the second half.

Morris, who looked like the Wolfpack’s savior the last two weeks, looked every bit a true freshman in the second half against BC, fumbling twice and throwing an interception.

“I will say I probably wasn’t playing my best game,” Morris said. “I probably will say that, but I feel like I did play with a lot of heart. There were some mistakes I made that I wish I hadn’t made, but everybody’s not perfect and everybody is going to make mistakes. Now it’s about how you go from that.”

The loss not only snapped the Wolfpack’s home winning streak, but it also served as a disappointing final game at Carter-Finley Stadium for several NC State seniors.

“A lot of us were really excited to leave Carter-Finley with a win, and it’s just tough that we couldn’t get it done,” Wilson said. “I hurt for everyone, but at the end of the day, we’ve got two more games to go out there and give it our all in.”

One silver lining was kicker Christopher Dunn, who set the ACC record for most career field goals made with 89. He is also six points away from sole possession of the ACC career scoring title.

The Wolfpack have two games left on its ACC season schedule, starting with a trip to Louisville next Saturday.