In its final home game of the season, No. 16 North Carolina State will look for its third consecutive win when it opposes Boston College on Saturday afternoon in Raleigh, N.C.
The Wolfpack (7-2, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) have won three of their past four. Most recently, NC State topped rival then-No. 21 Wake Forest 30-21, a result that catapulted the Wolfpack up six spots in the latest College Football Playoff rankings.
It was the first career start for freshman quarterback MJ Morris, who completed 18 of 28 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns. Morris also rushed 19 times for 43 yards.
He became the first true freshman quarterback to start for the Wolfpack since Philip Rivers in 2000. Morris is also the first NC State quarterback to throw for three scores in their first start since Jacoby Brissett in 2014.
That Morris is in the company of some former NC State quarterbacks who went on to enjoy lengthy careers in the NFL is a good sign for things to come. Still, Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren wants to be patient with the 19-year-old playmaker.
“It’s still a small sample. It’s a game and a half,” Doeren said Monday. “We’re excited about what he’s doing, but at the same time, I think setting him up (for success) is important. What does he do best? Where’s he most confident? It’s no different from when you have a three-year starter, you still want to do what the guy feels most confident with.”
Morris became the starter due to a season-ending injury to Devin Leary, and a less-than-stellar performance from backup Jack Chambers against Virginia Tech on Oct. 27.
For NC State, the victory over the Demon Deacons extended their winning streak at Carter-Finley Stadium to 16 straight games, tying a program record set from 1972-75 under coach Lou Holtz. A win against Boston College (2-7, 1-5) would give this Wolfpack team the school record and put the Wolfpack in position for a better bowl game.
“The culture that we have now, obviously as a head coach you lead it, but these (seniors) are the ones that water it every day,” Doeren said. “They’re the ones that help it grow and hold each other accountable. All these guys … are a part of the success we’re having in a major way.”
Boston College is likely to start a young quarterback on Saturday too. Veteran Phil Jurkovec missed last week’s game against Duke due to a knee injury and did not practice on Tuesday, a sign that redshirt freshman Emmett Morehead may be in line for his second straight start.
Morehead impressed last week at home, completing 27 of 45 passes for 330 yards and four touchdowns. However, it wasn’t quite enough to beat the Blue Devils, as the Eagles fell 38-31, their fourth straight loss.
“What I’m most impressed about Emmett is that he throws the ball really well and his leadership,” Eagles coach Jeff Hafley said Tuesday. “He has a really good grasp of the huddle and the way he gets them in and out. He takes it serious and it’s impressive and we’ll see what happens.”
Last week was just the third time this season that Boston College scored more than 21 points this season.
The Eagles’ top offensive weapon this season has been wideout Zay Flowers, who leads the ACC in receiving yards with 791. He has an ACC-co-leading eight touchdowns among his 60 catches.
NC State is 8-10 all-time against Boston College but has won three of the past four meetings. The Eagles haven’t won in Raleigh since 2016.
–Field Level Media