RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina State is thriving on its home field. Now the 17th-ranked Wolfpack will host Boston College on Saturday with a chance to set a new program record for consecutive home wins.
N.C. State (7-2, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won 16 straight games at Carter-Finley Stadium dating to a 2020 loss to Miami. That is tied for the program record set from 1972-75 under Lou Holtz.
Coach Dave Doeren has repeatedly noted the value of a rowdy home atmosphere this season. It mattered in last weekend's win against then-ranked Wake Forest.
The Demon Deacons have long been successful in avoiding self-inflicted mistakes like penalties. But they were flagged five times for false starts and surrendered four sacks while dealing with a talented veteran defense backed by a loud crowd, a factor coach Dave Clawson cited this week.
“When the fans are cheering loudly in a positive fashion for their team, just understand what that does to the psyche of a young person," Doeren said. It's awesome for our team to have that kind of backing."
The fact the Wolfpack even reached this point is a testament to the team's resilience, both in handling the loss of preseason league player of the year Devin Leary to a season-ending injury and in regrouping from big second-half deficits. N.C. State rallied from double-figure deficits in the third quarter last month to beat Florida State (17-3) and Virginia Tech (21-3), the latter being led by first-year passer MJ Morris.
Boston College (2-7, 1-5) arrives having lost four straight games overall and all four of its road games this season, with each of the road losses coming by at least 10 points. The Eagles also have yet to score more than 15 points on the road this year.
“Our attitudes are great,” BC coach Jeff Hafley said. "We're going to go compete our butts off, and I know that. I'm excited about it.”
BC QB Phil Jurkovec missed last week's loss to Duke due to injury. Second-year passer Emmett Morehead got the start and threw for 330 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.
Hafley said Jurkovec wasn't practicing earlier this week.
“Will we get him back? I'm not sure, but that's where we're at right now," Hafley said.
With the Wake Forest game, Morris became the Wolfpack's first true freshman starter at QB since Philip Rivers in 2000. He has responded with composure in leading the Virginia Tech comeback and then against the Demon Deacons.
Morris has thrown six touchdown passes with no interceptions in his last two outings.
“We're excited about what he's doing, but at the same time, I think setting him up (well) is important," Doeren said. "What does he do best, where is he most confident? And to be honest, it's no different than when you have a three-year starter. You still want to do what the guy feels most confident with."
Christopher Dunn has ensured N.C. State's stalled drives still net points.
Dunn has made all 18 of his field goals and 24 of his extra-point kicks, making him one of five kickers nationally yet to miss. He kicked three field goals against Wake Forest, including a 51-yarder in the 30-21 win.
N.C. State's defense has led the way all season, but especially in locking down Florida State after halftime in that comeback win and in keeping the pressure on Wake Forest star quarterback Sam Hartman last week.
That unit is surrendering a league-low 17.8 points per game and faces an offense ranked 12th in the league in scoring (18.8).
Whoever starts at QB for the Eagles will have a top target in Zay Flowers, who is tied for the ACC lead with eight touchdown catches this year.
The fourth-year receiver has three 100-yard games this season, highlighted by a 151-yard, two-score effort in a loss to Louisville. He is 12th in the Bowl Subdivision ranks with 6.7 grabs per game and is in the top 20 in receiving yards (87.9).
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap
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