Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports

No. 23 NC State 17, Boston College 14: Win streak ends in tough loss to Wolfpack

Brooks Sutherland
November 11, 2017 - 4:05 pm

CHESTNUT HILL — A fourth straight win was at the grasp of their hands.

Boston College made key stops defensively, freshman running back AJ Dillon rushed for 196 yards, and 23rd-ranked NC State missed three field goals.

But Nyheim Hines’ 50-yard score with 8:22 to play stymied the Eagles of their first win of the year against a ranked opponent. The Wolfpack escaped with a 17-14 win.

BC (5-5, 3-4 ACC) was dealt a brutal blow in the first half, losing starting quarterback Anthony Brown to a knee injury. Brown had to be carried off the field and left the game in crutches. His backup, senior Darius Wade finished the game 8-for-15 for 82 yards and lost a fumble. The Eagles also lost cornerback Kamrin Moore in the game.

“They found a way to win in the end,” said coach Steve Addazio. “The stats are pretty even in the game. Obviously, we lost our starting quarterback. It was a tough deal here today, and we lost Kam Moore, our third captain. I don't know the status of where that is moving forward at this particular time. You know, obviously, doesn't look great. We ran the ball well on offense. We were struggling in the second half throwing the football, and that showed up.”

The loss of Brown made the Eagle offense severely one-dimensional for the rest of the game. Despite its defense earning continual big third-down stops and on many occasions winning the battle of field position, BC found itself finishing the game 1-for-4 in the red zone.

Addazio said the offensive play-calling was altered a little bit following Brown’s injury.

“I mean, yes, to a degree,” he said when asked about changing the game plan with Wade. “We have some things that we think Darius is better for Darius. But, I mean, it's not a revelation or anything like that. Anthony's forte is to get the ball out really quickly.”

Dillon scored BC’s first touchdown when he exploded 66 yards to pay dirt halfway through the second quarter. The true freshman became the all-time leading freshman rusher in program history, and also eclipsed 1,000 yards on the season. Thadd Smith added a 12-yard run which put the Eagles up 14-10 just near the end of the third.

The freshman has carried the ball 30 or more times three out of the last four games since his 272-yard outing against Louisville.

“I mean, I mentioned a couple weeks ago after Louisville, after I had 39 carries, I focused a lot more on my stamina,” Dillon said after the game. “It's still not where it needs to be for my personal, for what I really want. But I feel like the workload, as it is, I was just so focused on getting a win, that I didn't really feel—it was fine. I felt good.”

Aside from Wade’s lost fumble, Brown threw an interception on BC’s first drive inside the red zone after driving the ball 63 yards.

With two games on the schedule, the Eagles are still one win away from earning a bowl bid in back-to-back years. They meet Connecticut at Fenway Park next.

 “I'm proud of our kids,” Addazio said. “I'm not discouraged in any way, shape or form. Everything that we've been excited about was still on clear display against the quality team that we played today. That was as much our game as it was their game. So, what's important right now is to stop talking about that game, quite frankly, and that's the trap. …Here's the reality, Saturday's coming like a freight train, and we're going to be ready for that game.”