Boston College - NC State Matchup

Two teams going in opposite directions will take the field on Saturday night in Raleigh. Boston College is 3-0 and ranked 20th in the country after two thrilling double overtime victories in the past two weeks. North Carolina State, on the other hand, is coming off back-to-back non-conference losses to Akron and Southern Miss. With a victory on Saturday, BC can add a key ACC road victory and possibly move up in the national rankings. For NC State, a win over BC could turn their disappointing season around. Boston College is currently a seven point favorite. Here's a quick look at the matchup:

The Quarterbacks
Matt Ryan -- 61.9% comp, 891 yards, 6 TD, 2 INT
Daniel Evans -- 72.7% comp, 97 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

Top Rushers
L.V. Whitworth -- 191 yards, 4.4 ypc, 1 TD
  Andre Callender -- 136 yards, 4.1 ypc, 0 TD
Andre Brown -- 183 yards, 5.9 ypc, 1 TD
  Toney Baker -- 120 yards, 3.8 ypc, 1 TD

Top Receivers
Kevin Challenger (WR) -- 16 catches, 169 yards, 2 TD
  Tony Gonzalez (WR) -- 15 catches, 165 yards, 3 TD
  Brandon Robinson (WR) -- 10 catches, 168 yards, 0 TD
Anthony Hill (TE) -- 11 catches, 103 yards, 0 TD
  Toney Baker (RB) -- 9 catches, 74 yards, 0 TD
  Donald Bowens (WR) -- 6 catches, 88 yards, 1 TD

Top Defenders
Jolonn Dunbar (LB) -- 25 tackles, 1 forced fumble
  Jamie Silva (FS) -- 24 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 INT
  DeJuan Tribble (CB) -- 17 tackles, 5 passes broken up
Patrick Lowery (LB) -- 29 tackles, 4.5 TFL
  Miguel Scott (S) -- 16 tackles, 1 INT
  DaJuan Morgan (ROV) -- 13 tackles, 1 blocked kick

The Kickers
Ryan Ohliger -- 4/7 FG, 9/11 PAT
John Deraney -- 2/2 FG, 7/7 PAT

The Punters
Johnny Ayers -- 39.9 yards per punt
John Deraney -- 38.5 yards per punt

The Kick Returners
Jeff Smith -- 36.3 per KO return
DeJuan Tribble -- 4.3 per punt return
Darrell Blackman -- 26.8 yards per KO ret
8.0 yards per punt return

Final Analysis

The BC defense has had a rough time this season and NC State could be just what they need to regain their confidence. The Wolfpack is currently ranked 98th in the country in total offense. That ranking looks even worse when you consider that NC State has played Appalachian State, Akron and Southern Miss this season. NC State will be breaking in a new quarterback, Sophomore Daniel Evans, who will be replacing an ineffective Marcus Stone. Evans completed 8 of 11 passes for 97 yards, a TD and an INT last week in mop-up duty at Southern Miss. NC State appears to have a pretty solid running back in sophomore Andre Brown. I say "appears" because Brown rushed for 427 of his 667 yards last season in a two week stretch prior to NC State's game at Chestnut Hill. The Eagles held Brown to 12 yards on 13 carries. This season, Brown rushed for 125 yards against Appalachian State in the opener but has rushed for only 58 yards combined in the past two weeks. NC State lost its top three receivers from a year ago.

Defensively, NC State has not been much better. NC State ranks a mediocre 55th in the nation in total defense and 81st against the run. Last week, Southern Miss bludgeoned the Wolfpack for 261 yards rushing on 52 carries (5.0 yards per rush). The featured running backs for Akron and Southern Miss combined for 298 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns in the past two weeks.

To make matters worse for Chuck Amato, the Wolfpack may have to play without the services of their top kickoff and punt returner Darrell Blackman, who sprained a knee in Saturday's game against Southern Miss. Blackman averaged a lofty 29.1 yards per kickoff return last season.

If Boston College is going to make a run at the ACC Atlantic Division title, this is a game they absolutely have to win. NC State is in total disarray and the Eagles need to take advantage of that. This game will provide a great opportunity for the BC defense to regain its confidence. Most of BC's defensive problems have originated in the secondary. This week, that unit will face a sophomore who has thrown all of 11 passes in his college career. As they say, this is just what the doctor ordered. On the other side of the ball, I expect BC to feature the running game. It will help if the Eagles can take an early lead and pound NC State with the running game the way that Southern Miss did last week. Matt Ryan looked much healthier against BYU than he did against Clemson the week before. Hopefully, he will improve a little more this week and be 100% for the game against Virginia Tech on October 12th. The subplot for this game will be Ryan Ohliger. He and NC State coach Chuck Amato will share the hot seat on Saturday. Both gentlemen are in danger of losing their jobs if things do not improve soon. I think BC will win this game rather easily. No overtimes necessary.

Final Score: Boston College 30 NC State 17

NC State Links
Official Site
Rivals Site
CBS Sportsline
Fox Sports

NC State by the Numbers

Three NC State defensive players were chosen in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft -- Mario Williams (1), Manny Lawson (22) and John McCargo (26).

Darrell Blackman ranked sixth in the nation a year ago in kickoff return average (29.1).

Offense - Run 90 70
Offense - Pass 98 8
Offense - Total 98 38
Defense - Run 60 81
Defense - Pass 119 41
Defense - Total 113 55

Offensive Lines
Avg Height 6'4" 6'5"
Avg Weight 304 305