Today’s opponent is Boston College, where current Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien spent his first 10 seasons as a head coach before coming to Raleigh in 2007.
Patrolling the other sideline is Frank Spaziani, who spent 26 seasons on the same staffs as O’Brien.
The Eagles have won the last three meetings, but the Wolfpack will be a slight favorite as they square off in an Atlantic Division battle.
The Wolfpack gets a surprisingly comfortable 44-17 win with Champs Sports and Meineke Car Care Bowls in the house. Barring a collapse of near-Old Testament proportions, the 5-1 Wolfpack is going bowling this year.
The Wolfpack offense is clearly clicking on its first possession, as Russell Wilson completes nine of 11 passes before a holding penalty stalls the march. Josh Czajkowski’s 40-yard field-goal attempt bounces perfectly off the left upright for a 3-0 lead at 9:04.
And exactly a minute later the Wolfpack makes a big break. Dante Johnson blocks Ryan Quigley’s punt from the Eagle 9 and D.J. Green recovers in the end zone, with Czajkowski’s boot taking the advantage to 10-0.
Nate Freese misses a 36-yard field goal try for the Eagles later in the period. But after Mark Herzlich intercepts Wilson to put BC in business at the State 18, Freese atones from 23 seven plays later and it’s 10-3.
But the Wolfpack comes back with an impressive drive, going 76 yards in seven plays with Wilson hitting Owen Spencer at the goal line for a 23-yard scoring connection. Czajkowski’s boot, his school-record 99th straight successful conversion kick, makes it 17-3 at 12:31.
The Wolfpack stretches its lead to 24-3 with 6:38 left in the half, as Wilson hits Darrell Davis open on the left side for a five-yard scoring pass to complete a seven-play, 60-yard march and Czajkowski adds No. 100.
BC retaliates on a 15-yard Dave Shinskie-to-Ifeanyi Momah touchdown pass, with Freese adding the boot at 2:21.
But Czajkowski’s 44-yard field goal at the halftime buzzer makes it 27-10.
State pretty much puts it away with 10:06 left in the third, when C.J. Wilson steps in front of a Shinskie pass and returns it 28 yards to the end zone with Czajkowski connecting again. Wilson becomes the first State player in 44 years to return two interceptions for TDs in the same season.
Insult gets added to injury with 13:37 left, as Russell Wilson connects with Jarvis Williams for a six-yard score with the kick making it 41-10.
Czajkowski adds another field goal at 7:40.
The visitors salvage a little pride with 6:43 left with the game’s most spectacular play — albeit an insignificant one — as Mike Marscovetra hits Alex Amidon on a 69-yard scoring pass and Freese converts.
Russell Wilson is stellar, completing 38 of 51 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions and rushing for 45 yards on 14 carries. Spencer catches eight passes for 70 yards and the touchdown, while Williams hauls in five for 65 and his score.
Shinskie completes seven of 24 for 89 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions, while Amidon has three catches for 102 yards and his score. Montel Harris carries for 53 yards on 14 totes for BC, which gets a 20-tackle day from Luke Kuechly.
They said it …
N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien: “We’re not perfect, but we’re certainly happy to be 5-1. It’s nice to have this win, but we have a huge game coming up. I think our legs were heavy today, which is understandable after our last two opponents. But credit our guys because they gutted it out. We’ll take 5-1, but we now have to find a way to get to 6-1. We’ll celebrate this win tonight, but tomorrow is a new day and we have to prepare for East Carolina.”
Boston College coach Frank Spaziani: “(Wilson) is an All-ACC quarterback who makes plays. He understands the system he is asked to run, and when you have a quarterback who understands his system you have a good asset. They’re well-coached. They have good players that are certainly a handful. We got beat by a good football team.”
Russell Wilson: “It definitely means a lot that our special teams jumped out and made some plays. That kind of stuff matters. The defense stepped up and the offense played well as well. We tried to take what they were giving us. The passing game was there, and we just had to keep throwing it.”
C.J. Wilson: “We did a lot of tackling drills this week. My goal was no missed tackles this week and I feel like I accomplished that. I thought the interception return was a big boost for the team. I know it was for me. Any time we can get a score on defense it means a lot. We had a good effort today. It could be better, but it was a nice rebound.”
What does it all mean?
That the Wolfpack is right on track to have a very big season and should be ranked again this week, and that the Eagles may be in a tailspin.
Stars of the game
1. Russell Wilson.
2. C.J. Wilson.
Play of the game
C.J. Wilson’s interception return.
Boston College leads 5-3.
NCSU: Won 1.
BC: Lost 3.
N.C. State at East Carolina, Oct. 16, noon
Boston College at Florida State, Oct. 16, noon