Suddenly, it was like the good old days for the Boston College defense.
And it wasn’t just All-America middle linebacker Luke Kuechly making the big plays, though the junior did once again lead the Eagles with 18 tackles, including nine during a 13-minute stretch of the fourth quarter as BC finished off a 14-10 win over North Carolina State.
There was the fourth-quarter interception at the goal line by senior cornerback Donnie Fletcher.
There was the knockdown of Mike Glennon’s fourth-down pass from the BC 27 by junior defensive end Max Holloway, which ended the Wolfpack’s final drive.
And the Eagles held N.C. State to 47 yards on 24 rushing attempts after entering ranked ninth in the Atlantic Coast Conference against the run (164.8 yards per game).
The defense needed a strong effort after last week’s 38-7 loss to Florida State in which the Eagles fell behind, 28-0, at the half.
“We felt it was important for the kids to get some positive reinforcement for the fruits of their labor,’’ said defensive coordinator Bill McGovern. “I’m happy for the guys to get those today.’’
There was a hush in Alumni Stadium when Kuechly suffered a bruised right elbow while tackling Glennon early in the third quarter, missing a few plays.
“I was saying to him, what you need is a play off, get back in there,’’ joked McGovern. “It’s another credit to him. He turns it up when we need it and he’s got it in him to make the plays as well.’’
Holloway made the last of several big plays by the Eagles’ defensive front.
“We’ll have to take a look at the film to make sure, but honestly, it was the best we ever did,’’ said Holloway. “We came out there and took big plays. As a D-line we were getting after their QB, so I felt personally it was one of our best games of the year.’’
Kuechly extended his nation-best streak to 32 games with double-digit tackles, and in the third quarter became the fifth player in ACC history to reach 500 tackles in his career . . . Fletcher’s interception was the 10th of his career, but his first of the season . . . Holloway recorded his third sack of the season . . . BC scored on its opening drive for the third time this season. The touchdown was set up by a 41-yard catch by Alex Amidon, the sophomore’s longest reception of the year . . . Former BC coach Tom O’Brien is 0-3 as a visiting coach at Alumni Stadium. “We have to be able to play consistent football,’’ said O’Brien, who left BC for N.C. State in 2006. “You can’t just play a half. We played a half of football today.’’
Mark Blaudschun can be reached at email@example.com.