Clicking Pack Overwhelms Eagles, 44-17
Oct. 9, 2010
BY TIM PEELER
RALEIGH, N.C. - Not only did NC State click on all cylinders Saturday afternoon in a 44-17 victory over Boston College, the Wolfpack practically hit for the cycle.
Head coach Tom O'Brien's team scored on offense, defense and special teams in front of 56,859 spectators at Carter-Finley Stadium on a picture-perfect autumn afternoon, the first time since a 49-21 win over Texas Tech on Sept. 20, 2003 that all three units scored for the Wolfpack.
Halfway through the season and heading into its final non-conference game, the Pack (5-1 overall, 2-1 ACC) has its best record since the 2002 squad won its first nine games.
It was a strong bounce-back win after last Saturday's 41-30 loss to Virginia Tech.
"It's a little better locker room atmosphere than last week," said O'Brien, who was presented with a game ball along with offensive coordinator Dana Bible by the players following the game. "We gutted this one out. We were heavy-legged. We didn't look like we had a lot of quickness out there.
"Overall, when you score on offense, defense and special teams, it's a pretty good day."
Quarterback Russell Wilson, who matched Philip Rivers' school record with 38 completions in a game, started things off leading the offense to three quick points in the game's first possession. NC State freshman Dontae Johnson then blocked BC's first punt of the day, which was recovered in the end zone by fellow freshman D.J. Green.
It was the Pack's third blocked punt of the season and its second blocked punt for a touchdown.
In the second half, sophomore cornerback C.J. Wilson became the first Wolfpack defensive player to score two touchdowns in the same season on interception returns in 44 years, when he picked off a Dave Shinskie pass and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown. It was one of three interceptions the Wolfpack defense had on the day, with sophomore Brandan Bishop getting the other two.
"Getting big plays like that on defense and special teams definitely matters," Wilson said. "The defense stepped up." The Wolfpack never trailed in the contest, opening with a 40-yard field goal by senior Josh Czajkowski with 9:04 remaining in the first quarter. Johnson ended Boston College's first possession by blocking the punt.
Russell Wilson threw three touchdowns in the game, including a 23-yard scoring play to senior receiver Owen Spencer for Spencer's first touchdown of the season. Wilson has now thrown 16 scoring passes this season, hitting 10 different receivers with touchdown passes.
On the day, Wilson completed 38 of his 51 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns, the fifth time in six games he's thrown for at least 300 yards. He also had two interceptions.
The Wolfpack not only relied on Wilson's throwing arm, but also his scrambling abilities. He was the team's leading rusher with 45 yards on 14 carries. He accounted for most of the Wolfpack's 422 yards of total offense. Boston College managed 99 rushing yards and 173 passing yards on the day.
O'Brien was not concerned that his team was rather one-dimensional, gaining 347 yards through the air and 75 yards on the ground.
"We came in meaning to throw it," O'Brien said. "We may throw it more if we have to. We weren't getting anywhere running the ball. What are you going to do? You are going to throw the ball. Plus, Russell can move around back there. "He can run around and tire the defense out even more."
Cornerback C.J. Wilson gave the Wolfpack a 34-10 advantage when he pulled in his second career interception and returned it 28 yards for the score. Earlier this season at Central Florida, he notched his first career pick and returned it 43 yards for a score.
The last player to return two interceptions for touchdowns in the same season was former All-ACC defensive back (and later NC State assistant coach) Greg Williams, who had two in 1966.
Wilson threw his final scoring pass of the day to Jarvis Williams, a six-yard touchdown pass with 13:37 remaining in the game.
The Wolfpack defense made things hard on Boston College's offense all day long. The Eagles twice advanced into the red zone in the first half, but managed only three points. Place kicker Nate Freese missed a 36-yard field goal attempt on the first trip near the end of the first quarter.
Two plays later, BC linebacker Mark Herzlich intercepted a pass that bounced off the hands of Wolfpack tight end George Bryan and was tackled at the NC State 18-yard line. The Eagles advanced to the 5-yard line but were forced to try another field goal. Freese converted on his second attempt, from 23 yards, to cut the Wolfpack's lead to 10-3.
Wilson hit Owen Spencer over the middle for a 23-yard touchdown pass, boosting the Pack's lead to 17-3. Spencer became the 10th different Wolfpack receiver to catch a touchdown pass this season. Czajkowski kicked his school-record 99th career extra point following the touchdown.
Wilson threw his second touchdown of the game on a five-yard pass to Darrell Davis to give his team a 17-3 lead with 6:38 remaining in the half. Boston College finally found the end zone when receiver Ifeanyi Momah caught a 15-yard pass from Shinskie with 2:21 left.
After Czajkowski nailed a 44-yard field goal with 9.4 seconds remaining in the half, the Wolfpack took a 27-10 advantage into intermission.
Boston College scored its second touchdown of the day on a 67-yard pass from replacement quarterback Mike Marscovetra with 5:43 remaining in the game.
O'Brien and his charges travel to Greenville next Saturday to face East Carolina in a noon game that will be televised by CBS College Sports.
You may contact Tim Peeler at mailto:email@example.com.