NC State came into today's game at Boston College determined not to let A.J. Dillon, the ACC's leading rusher, run wild against its best in the conference rushing defense.
In that respect, mission accomplished. Well, at least sort of.
Dillon did pick up 116 yards on 15 carries in the first half, almost twice the 66-yard average the Wolfpack has allowed on the ground per game this season. But it was his backup David Bailey that did most most of the damage in what was by far the worst 30 minutes of the season for coach Dave Doeren's team.
Bailey broke off touchdown runs of 54 and 48 yards to put State in a deep hole.
While there have been more missed tackles at the second level than usual, especially on Bailey's second long scoring run, the big problem for State's usually stout defense is at the line of scrimmage -- where it is getting manhandled by BC's offensive line.
The Eagles' physical dominance has made things easy for first-time starting quarterback Dennis Grosel. The sophomore is 4 of 12 for 70 yards, but his running game was so good that he didn't have to attempt a pass in the second quarter.
BC has 234 yards on the ground thus far.
As bad as things were for State's defense, its offensive performance was even worse. Quarterback Bailey Hockman got off to a terrible start, throwing an interception that was returned for an eight-yard touchdown on the Wolfpack's second series of the game. He was just 4 of 10 for 27 yards before being lifted in favor of Devin Leary.
Leary was better, going 7 of 12 for 124 yards, but he had a similar problem to the two quarterbacks that preceded him under center for the Wolfpack. State came up empty on a fourth-and-goal play from the 2 on one possession, then settled for a Christopher Dunn field goal on another trip into the red zone.
Though the play calling didn't distinguish itself on either of those possessions, State's inability to run the ball was also a factor. The Wolfpack had just 1 net yard on the ground on 17 carries in the first half.
In addition to the two failed fourth quarters, State is also 1 of 9 on third down.
Other than asking for a do-over, you have to wonder what kind of adjustments coach Dave Doeren and his staff can possibly make to turn this thing around over the final 30 minutes.