CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — The Super Fans from Boston Colleges student section poured out of the stands and onto the field to celebrate with senior running back Andre Williams.
The swarm of students in yellow t-shirts surrounded Williams who carried the Eagles to a 38-21 win over N.C. State on Saturday at Alumni Stadium and back to a bowl game after consecutive losing seasons.
While Williams, who ran for an ACC-record 339 yards, and Boston College (6-4) rejoiced, the Wolfpack digested the meaning of its seventh straight ACC loss. For the first time in ACC play, N.C. State (3-7) has seven conference losses in a single season. For the first time since 2009, N.C. State wont be in a bowl game.
Its tough, especially as a senior, said linebacker Robert Caldwell, who finished 17 tackles. Were not going to give up. We have two games to play and were going to give it our all.
The Eagles were 2-10 a year ago, a season capped off by a 27-10 loss in Raleigh. Williams missed the game with an injury. Now the nations leading rusher, Williams was everywhere on Saturday afternoon, finishing with 339 yards and two touchdowns. No one has ever run for more yards in ACC game. He set the Boston College single-season record in the process, with three more games to pad his total.
N.C. State has only two games left in coach Dave Doerens first season. The Wolfpack will close with East Carolina and Maryland at home. N.C. State hasnt had a winless ACC season since 1959 and N.C. State has never lost to Duke, UNC, Wake Forest and ECU in the same season. Both are distinctions Doeren would like to avoid.
We have two games left with this team and Id like to play it for the seniors and play for pride, Doeren said. That means a lot to me and I know it means a lot for our senior class.
Even when Williams made a mistake, it worked out in Boston Colleges favor. Up 20-14 in the fourth quarter, Williams broke off a 65-yard run. N.C. State cornerback Juston Burris caught Williams at the 1-yard line, and forced a fumble into the end zone, but receiver Alex Amidon recovered it for a touchdown and the Eagles were back up 28-14 after a successful 2-point conversion.
Receiver Rashard Smith caught a touchdown and passed for one for N.C. State but the Wolfpack had no answer for Williams, who added a 34-yard touchdown run on his 42nd and final carry of the game.
I told our defense, when you stop him, hes not stopped, Doeren said. Theyre going to keep giving it to him until they bust one. Thats what they do. They keep going to him and going to him.
In the first quarter alone, Williams had 113 yards. It got so bad in the first half, one N.C. State safety got hurt trying to tackle Williams, on a 40-yard run, and another got plain run over by him a 9-yard run.
Down 10-0 in the second quarter, freshman running back Matt Dayes breathed some life into the game for the Wolfpack. Dayes had a 61-yard catch and run on a screen pass to set up a 9-yard touchdown pass from Pete Thomas to Smith. Smith took a screen 9 yards to the end zone to cut BCs lead to 10-7 at 7:13 in the second quarter.
Williams backup, freshman Myles Willis popped off a 19-yard run to push BCs lead back to 17-7 lead at the half. Willis finished with 77 yards on six carries, which was more than double than States total rushing output (35 yards).
Thomas, who started for the injured Brandon Mitchell at quarterback, completed 22 of 33 passes for 207 yards. Smith hit receiver Quintin Payton on a 49-yard option pass in the fourth quarter to make it 20-14.
Backup quarterback Garrett Leatham threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to freshman receiver Jumichael Ramos to make it 31-21 with 1:53 left in the game but it too little, too late to prevent BCs celebration.