1. Are things as bad as they seem?
Yeah, pretty much. The biggest concerns coming into the season--Marcus Stone and the defense--have been as bad as feared. It doesn't look like the game has slowed down for Stone, and the defense was exposed by Southern Mississippi, of all teams. The way things are going right now, I can't imagine this team winning enough games to become bowl eligible.
And then there is the off-field crap: the backlash from Amato's comments about Akron's partial qualifiers, all the job speculation, etc. I'm trying not to freak out...but it's ugly.
2. Do you expect the QB change to make a difference?
No, but I would never be mistaken for an optimist. Daniel Evans did look good in garbage time against USM, and I thought the interception he threw was more of a good play by the defender than a poor decision on his part. At one point, USM was blitzing and Evans's protection broke down quickly, forcing him to make a fast decision. He completed the throw, and I remember thinking there was no way Marcus Stone would've made that play. So although Evans was pretty much ignored coming out of high school, there are at least a few indications that he can be a starter at this level.
Even if he comes out and plays well against Boston College, I think NC State has too many problems in too many other places to beat the Eagles. I wouldn't be worried about the backup-QB-sparks-the-team factor if I were Boston College, but you never know...
3. What are the keys to beating NC State?
Don't let us run the ball. Were Marcus Stone starting, I would say that this is all there is to it. Daniel Evans probably will not be much more of a passing threat than Stone, but I do think Evans makes the BC defense's job a little more complicated--if
only because Evans is an unknown quantity.
We tend to make plenty of mistakes, be they penalties or turnovers, and if Boston College is sufficiently opportunistic, it will win the game.
4. What's your prediction?
After the Southern Miss game, I am dreading BC's offense. USM moved the ball at will; the running backs had big holes and receivers were open everywhere. I'm especially worried about the BC passing game because it has been so effective this
season. NC State may be without its best cornerback again, but even with him in the fold, I'm not sure the Pack has an answer for Matt Ryan.
I could see us hangin' in if we win the turnover battle and Danny Evans plays better than expected. But how likely is that? BC wins, 34-17.