RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A receiver rushed for a touchdown. A running back threw for a score. Boston College tried anything and everything to finally end its long ACC losing streak.
Running back Davon Jones threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Sweeney on a trick play with 4:43 left, and BC earned its first Atlantic Coast Conference victory since 2014 by beating North Carolina State 21-14 on Saturday.
Coach Steve Addazio said he “told them (at halftime) on both sides of the ball, we’re going after them with everything we’ve got.
“We’ve all got each other’s back,” he added. “Let’s just let it hang out. Let’s roll. We’re rolling. … We went on the offensive and rolled it out there.”
Receiver Jeff Smith rushed 60 yards for a touchdown for BC’s first touchdown and Patrick Towles was 18 of 33 for 204 yards to help the Eagles (4-4, 1-4) snap a 12-game league losing streak and win a conference game for the first time since defeating Syracuse 23 months ago.
“I know it’s one game … but we took a step,” Addazio said. “An important step.”
What’s statistically the worst offense in the ACC outgained N.C. State 386-338, held a 168-31 advantage in yards rushing and used some trickery to take the lead for good.
Towles took a shotgun snap and handed off to Jones, who headed toward the right side before stopping and tossing to Sweeney. Towles then hit Sweeney for the 2-point conversion that made it a seven-point game.
The Wolfpack had a first-and-goal at the BC 2 before Kamrin Moore picked off Ryan Finley’s fade pass to Stephen Louis in the end zone with 1:35 to play and the Eagles ran out the clock.
Finley finished with a career-best 307 yards passing with two touchdowns — a 79-yard catch-and-run to Bra’Lon Cherry, and a 23-yard score to Kelvin Harmon — but threw two interceptions for N.C. State (4-4, 1-3), which has lost three straight.
“There were plays that we could have made but didn’t. There were calls that we could have done better and didn’t,” Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said.
Boston College: The streak is over. The Eagles kept finding ways to lose conference games, following up last year’s 0-for-the-ACC with four league losses this year — two by blowout, two much closer. This was unquestionably a step forward for a program trying to claw back to relevance in a top-heavy division.
Addazio said of the effects of losing on his young team: “It’s been a haul on them. But it’ll make us stronger.”
N.C. State: There’s no sugarcoating this one for the Wolfpack, who looked nothing like the team that came within a missed field goal of upsetting No. 3 Clemson. Instead it felt like a carryover from a 54-13 loss at No. 5 Louisville.
“We’re just letting that (Clemson) game haunt us,” defensive end Bradley Chubb said. “Everybody’s still thinking in the past, not trying to move forward, and we’ve just got to move forward.
“We can’t let that one game keep beating us,” Chubb added. “Once we get past that one game, the sky’s the limit.”
So now N.C. State will have to pull at least one significant upset to earn bowl eligibility. The Wolfpack still must face No. 12 Florida State, No. 21 North Carolina and a Miami team that earlier this month was in the top 10.
The Wolfpack can’t be happy about its complete inability to get the ball to its best player. Jaylen Samuels had one catch for eight yards and was targeted just three times.
ANOTHER KEY STAT
N.C. State couldn’t get anything going on the ground, finishing with 31 yards rushing a week after setting a season low with 14 yards on the ground against the Cardinals. The Wolfpack didn’t crack positive rushing yards in this one until there were about 6 minutes left in the third quarter.
Boston College: Plays host to No. 5 Louisville on Saturday.
N.C. State: Gets its last chance to knock off a ranked Atlantic Division opponent Saturday when No. 12 Florida State visits.
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