For the first time in a long time, Boston College had to deal with the conundrum that hot teams face on a bye week.
On the one hand, the Eagles were riding three straight wins, one brick of confidence on top of another, and they wanted to ride the wave.
On the other hand, they were dealing with a slew of injuries — from All-America defensive lineman Harold Landry to redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Brown — and players were in dire need of an off week to nurse them.
But even the Eagles know the lightning they bottled with wins over Louisville, Virginia, and Florida State was rare. It was the first time since 2013 that BC had won three straight games against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents. After the Eagles embarrassed Florida State two weeks ago, coach Steve Addazio acknowledged a part of him wished there were a game the following week.
Instead, the Eagles had two weeks to prepare for N.C. State on Saturday at Alumni Stadium, and the question now is whether the Eagles will be the team that was finally crisp on offense and unbending on defense for three straight weeks or has the fairy dust wore off.
“I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to maintain momentum,” Addazio said. “And maybe come out and have a little bit more staying power out there, because maybe a little bit more rested, maybe the legs are a little bit better.
“At the end of the day you’ve got to show up on Saturday, you’ve got to make your plays and you just never know. But hopefully we can continue down the path of having good momentum.”
The bye week gave the Eagles a chance to heal some wounds.
“It helped us a lot,” Addazio said. “The bye week gave us a great opportunity to get some guys feeling better. And rested. Physically, but mentally as well.
“So I think that whole thing collectively was good for us. Now hopefully we’ll go out there and still have good rhythm and everything when we play.”
Brown’s throwing shoulder, which has nagged him since September when the Eagles lost to Clemson in Death Valley, is closer to full strength, Addazio said.
However, Landry, who sat out the win over Florida State with an ankle injury he suffered against Virginia, is still limited in practice. Addazio described Landry’s status for Saturday as “unknown.”
“We’ll have to see where we’re at here towards the end of the week,” Addazio said. “It’s early.”
The Eagles haven’t won four straight games since 2013. They’ve only done it twice since 2009. Their recent futility against ranked teams is well-documented —
N.C. State had won six straight before being manhandled at Notre Dame, 35-14, two weeks ago, then letting a halftime lead against Clemson slip away last week in a 38-31 loss.
The Wolfpack’s postseason hopes are secure. The Eagles are still hunting for one more win to secure a bowl berth.
Addazio said it’s not a matter of chasing a fourth straight win, but simply winning the next game.
“I think a lot of teams get really distracted and my message is just we’re just scrapping to play another football game,” Addazio said. “So I really don’t pay much attention to that, in terms of that kind of stuff. I’m not going to say those are nice things, if you can pull them off and all that.
“But we’re like, roll our sleeves up, go to work, we’ve got a really good football team coming in here and we’ve got to find a way to win this football game. And beyond that, you know, not real locked into any of that stuff. And that’s kind of been our m.o. this year. And we’ll just kind of keep swinging.”Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @julianbenbow.