NC State falls to BC 14-10
North Carolina's failure to beat a struggling team has left it in a no-lose situation.
The Wolfpack lost to Boston College 14-10 on Saturday, and need to upset No. 9 Clemson and beat Maryland in their final two games to become bowl eligible for the second straight season.
''We have a big week ahead of us,'' said quarterback Mike Glennon, who fourth-down pass from BC's 27-yard line in the closing minutes was batted down. ''We're playing one of the best teams in the country and we know we have to win out, so we just have to improve in all the aspects, finishing drives on offense, and get ready. Backs against the wall now. We know it and we're ready to step up to the task.''
Glennon led his team to a third-quarter touchdown that cut an 11-point halftime deficit down to 14-10. But he then threw a fourth-quarter interception in the BC end zone before his fourth-down try was knocked down by defensive end Max Holloway with 1:10 remaining.
''We couldn't put the ball in the end zone,'' said O'Brien, whose defense held the Eagles (3-7, 2-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) to minus-2 yards of total offense in the second half. ''We just couldn't make a play against their defense when we had to. That's what it came down to.''
O'Brien also felt it came down to a lack of leadership on his young team, which fell to 5-5 and 2-4 in the conference.
''We have to be able to play consistent week in and week out,'' he said. ''You just can't play a half. I mean, we played a half of football today.''
Starting quarterback Chase Rettig threw for a touchdown, backup Josh Bordner ran for a score for BC.
Eagles linebacker Luke Kuechly finished with 18 tackles - nine in the final 13 minutes - for his 32nd straight game with double digits in tackles. He entered the game leading the nation with 150 after leading the nation with 183 last year.
''I think it was one of those things where I kind of figured out what was going on and where they were trying to attack us,'' said Kuechly, who missed two plays early in the third after injuring his right elbow. ''It took a while to figure it out, but I finally got going.''
The Eagles are suffering through their worst season since going 4-7 in 1998 under O'Brien - now in his fifth season as head coach at North Carolina State.
Rettig completed 9 of 13 attempts for 118 yards, and Andre Williams carried 18 times for 61 yards.
Glennon was 28 of 40 for 220 yards, and James Washington had a 3-yard TD run for the Wolfpack.
Wolfpack corner back David Amerson extended a school-record with his NCAA-leading 10th interception in the first half.
On the drive before its last one, North Carolina State started at its own 18 with 13 1/2 minutes left and marched down to the Eagles' 23 before Donnie Fletcher picked off Glennon's pass in the end zone.
''We drove down the field numerous times in this game, but we never could punch it in,'' tight end George Bryant said. ''That's just a credit to them and we're going to go back to work and get things right.''
Boston College took the opening kickoff and marched right down the field in five plays, grabbing a 7-0 lead when backup quarterback Bordner scored on a 3-yard run off an option play. The score came two plays after Rettig hit Alex Amidon with a 41-yard pass along the left sideline, moving the ball to the Wolfpack's 9.
NC State, coming off a shutout win over rival North Carolina last week, drove 61 yards in 13 plays on its first possession before the drive stalled and Niklas Sade kicked a 32-yard field goal. Glennon completed 7 of 8 passes for 60 yards with the only incompletion a drop by T.J. Graham.
The Wolfpack had four first downs on their first drive of the game, but only had three more until midway into the final quarter.
The Eagles improved their lead to 14-3 late in the first half on Rettig's 17-yard TD pass to Colin Larmond Jr. BC started with good field position after Wil Baumann's 24-yard punt gave them the ball at their own 41. Rettig completed consecutive passes for a combined 23 yards and Williams carried six times - mostly up the middle - for 16 yards.
Except for the final possession - which was a one-play kneel down to end the half - BC went into NC State territory each time it had the ball in the first half.
Washington's scoring run cut it to 14-10 midway into the third quarter. On a third-and-4 from the Eagles' 38, Glennon lofted a pass to tight end Quinton Payton that dropped in between four defenders.
Late in the first half, a fan wearing a No. 40 BC jersey ran onto the field from the student section toward the line of scrimmage. Wolfpack offensive tackle Rob Crisp knocked the male intruder to the ground with his right arm before he got up and was taken off the field by security.