BC Eagles Will Soar vs Battle-Weary Wolfpack

Rainman M.

Thursday, November 9, 2017 2:28 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 2:28 PM UTC

Boston College (5-4) plays its final home game of the season Saturday at noon ET against No. 23 NC State (6-3) with the aim of achieving bowl eligibility. The Wolfpack are favored by a field goal.

Free NCAAF Pick: Boston College +3Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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NC State Wolfpack at Boston College Eagles

Defensively, NC State relies most on its front 7, speared by defensive linemen with ambition to make the NFL. In the past two weeks, NC State has been gashed by the physical running attack of Notre Dame and Clemson for a combined 542 rush yards. Clemson alone has overwhelmed opponents. Teams are 1-7 ATS the week after facing Clemson. Last season, NC State faced Notre Dame and Clemson in consecutive weeks, then lost 54-13 on the road to Louisville.

Boston College is run-first: 60% of its plays have been runs. The Eagles rely on a physical pair of bruisers, AJ Dillon and Jon Hillman, who can wear down NC State's run defense. The Eagles are 4-0 ATS when rushing for 200+ yards, which they have done in 4 out of their last 5 games. Dillon has been Boston College's most important producer. The Eagles are 0-3 ATS as dogs of 14 points or fewer when Dillon has less than 20 carries. They are 4-0 ATS and SU when Dillon runs more than 20 times. 

Expect another high workload from the former Michigan commit, who is largely responsible for BC's 6-0 ATS run. Dillon is a north-south running back whose 240-pound size and strength make him difficult to bring down.  His grinding gains allow Boston College to control time of possession and wear down the opponent. In their past 3 games, in each of which Dillon has run 20+ times, BC averages 33:06 of possession, which would place it in the Top 15 nationally.

The Wolfpack rely on a balanced offense whose key contributors have struggled. After throwing zero interceptions the first seven games, quarterback Ryan Finley has thrown 3 in the past 2 weeks. Boston College ranks 4th in opposing QB rating and 9th in interceptions per game and can prolong Finley's struggles.  Kamrin Moore and Isaac Yiadom are BC's physical, NFL-caliber cornerbacks.

NC State's rush attack is led by the reeling Nyheim Hines, who has been struggling with his health and managed only 40 rush yards in the past 2 games. Boston College's poor rush statistics derive from its early-season struggles with injury. Their run defense suffered a meltdown in terms of maintaining assignments and securing gap integrity in Week 3 against Notre Dame, whose rushing attack managed several big gains. But the new defensive personnel has adjusted to its new level of responsibility. Most lately, the Eagles have held Virginia Tech to 2.3 yards per carry, Virginia to 3.7 YPC and Florida State to 2.2 YPC. The longest run that they've allowed in those games was 23.


The Verdict 

A fresh Boston College off a bye week can earn bowl eligibility at home against a reeling Wolfpack team that comes off physical battles against top-ranked teams, including an emotionally frustrating loss against Clemson. BC's top-ranked pass defense won't allow Finley to contribute to an offensive balance, while Hines can't carry his team, either, against an improved BC run defense. The Eagles' physical rush attack won't give NC State's defense a chance to recover.

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