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Thursday, November 14, 2013
BC bowl eligible with win over NC State

By Jack McCluskey

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Steve Addazio has a love-hate relationship with statistics.

The Boston College coach loves to hate the numbers or, more accurately, those arguments made for or against his football team based solely on numbers.

Take, for example, BC's standing in total offense. The Eagles are 103rd in the nation with 357.4 yards of offense a game, according to cfbstats.com. But tack on 40 yards a game to that total and all of a sudden the Eagles would rank in the 70s, or almost 30 spots higher.

So are the Eagles a bottom-third offensive team, as the numbers would suggest? Or do their numbers reflect their ball-control style, the pace they prefer to play at and the strength of the defenses they've faced?

"People nowadays seem to be so wired in to statistics," Addazio said. "What I'm wired into is the plan to win. ... The plan to win is to play great defense and run the football, score in the red zone [and not] turn the ball over. ...

"We only average 60 plays a game. We're not trying to run 80 plays a game, because we want to complement our defense. ... But that's that whole statistical game, but my point in that whole thing is what's important to us is not the statistical game -- it's the plan to win the game."

When the Eagles have gotten too wrapped up in the numbers, whether on the stat sheet or in the win-loss column, the result has been ugly.

BC flew to North Carolina in late October to play a Tar Heels team that was just 1-5 and that statistically had the worst run defense in the ACC.

"Coach was telling us, 'They're a lot better than their record, they're a lot better than their record,'" right tackle Ian White said. "We went down expecting them to be as good as their record and they were a lot better."

Final score: UNC 34, BC 10.

White said the Eagles learned a lesson from that one, and won't make the same mistake against NC State on Saturday (12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3).

"Anybody in the ACC can beat anybody," White said. "They're definitely better than their record."

The Wolfpack are just 3-6 in 2013, but you wouldn't know it listening to the Eagles.

"That's a talented football team, make no mistake," Addazio said. "Don't be misled by any record you see there. If you watch the tape you'll see it."

And while Addazio doesn't like numbers he doesn't believe reflect the film he's watching, there is one number he has no problem with at all. That's the number of wins BC will have if it manages to beat NC State on Saturday.

"Our goal from the beginning was to get six wins and get to a bowl game," White said, "and then from there you try to win as many as you can and improve that bowl game that you're going to."

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.