Wolf­pack over­comes er­rors vs. Bos­ton Coll.

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Sports - BY JOE GIGLIO [email protected]­sob­server.com

Four turnovers, a blocked field-goal at­tempt and a blocked punt for a touch­down.

That’s a fine recipe for dis­as­ter.

For “old N.C. State,” there’s no doubt it would have been against Bos­ton Col­lege, its in­ex­pli­ca­ble neme­sis.

But for “new N.C. State”? No such prob­lems on Sat­ur­day.

This new and im­proved ver­sion of Wolf­pack foot­ball found a way to over­come its mis­takes and bad breaks to beat Bos­ton Col­lege 28-23.

Se­nior Reg­gie Gal­laspy ran for 104 yards, ju­nior Kelvin Har­mon bur­nished his NFL re­sume with 128 re­ceiv­ing yards and se­nior line­backer Ger­maine Pratt led an in­spired de­fen­sive ef­fort against a BC team miss­ing its best player.

“I def­i­nitely think it’s a game we prob­a­bly would have lost in the past,” said re­ceiver Jakobi Mey­ers, who led the team with 10 catches. “It shows a lot about the char­ac­ter of this team now.”

Too of­ten re­cent ver­sions of N.C. State (5-0, 2-0 ACC) found a way to lose games like this, to stum­ble with a ma­jor show­down with Clem­son loom­ing. The slight­est bad break would have been con­strued as some sort of cos­mic sig­nal from the foot­ball gods.

But af­ter the Ea­gles (4-2, 1-1) did their best to erase a 28-3 lead in the fourth quar­ter, there was noth­ing on the N.C. State side­line.

“There was no flinch,” Wolf­pack coach Dave Do­eren said.

Not even a quiver. N.C. State re­cov­ered the on­side kick with 3:33 left at the Bos­ton Col­lege 46-yard line and then went about its busi­ness of grind­ing out the clock.

Of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Eli Drinkwitz di­aled up a sur­prise pass play on third-and-7 from BC’s 33 when ev­ery­one at Carter-Fin­ley Sta­dium ex­pected a run.

“I thought the play call by Eli was clutch,” Do­eren said.

Se­nior re­ceiver Steph Louis was wide open on the BC side­line and caught the pass from quar­ter­back Ryan Fin­ley (308 yards, two touch­downs) for a 21-yard gain.

Fin­ley got into the “vic­tory” for­ma­tion and took a knee twice for N.C. State’s first 5-0 start since 2002 and the Wolf­pack’s ninth win in 11 ACC games.

The last time N.C. State had that much suc­cess in ACC play? Lou Holtz won 14 straight con­fer­ence games from 1972 to ‘74.

“It’s a great place to be right now,” Do­eren said.

From the top-25 fin­ish last year, to Do­eren’s new con­tract, to the NFL draft bo­nanza and re­cruit­ing suc­cess and the un­beaten start, ev­ery­thing is com­ing up Wolf­pack.

Do­eren lost his pre­vi­ous two home games to Bos­ton Col­lege. That 2016 loss to the Ea­gles, who were on a 12-game ACC los­ing streak, nearly cost him his job. So he owed BC one (in the least).

The Ea­gles, who cer­tainly missed Dil­lon (who was out with an an­kle in­jury), have had a knack (in all sports re­ally), of ru­in­ing N.C. State’s big mo­ments.

Maybe they could have again on Sat­ur­day af­ter the Ea­gles cut N.C. State’s lead to 28-16 and forced a three-and-out.

BC’s of­fense got down the Wolf­pack 5-yard line when Ben Glines, who scored a pair of touch­downs and ran for 90 yards in Dil­lon’s stead, was stood up on a sec­ond­down run.

The pile didn’t move for a cou­ple of sec­onds but the of­fi­cials never blew the whis­tle. Pratt, who fin­ished with a team-high 13 tack­les, found Glines in the scrum.

“I just ripped the ball right out of his hands,” Pratt said.

There were some tense mo­ments dur­ing the re­play re­view. Old N.C. State some­how has that call go against them.

But this is “new N.C. State.” The call stood and even a blocked punt for a touch­down 3 min­utes later couldn’t change the out­come.

It is a new world for N.C. State, full of new pos­si­bil­i­ties.

ETHAN HY­MAN ehy­[email protected]­sob­server.com

N.C. State quar­ter­back Ryan Fin­ley es­capes from pres­sure by Bos­ton Col­lege’s Isa­iah McDuffie dur­ing the first half Sat­ur­day in Raleigh.

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