NEWTON, Mass. -- Though the team fell far short of its goals this season, losing far more than it won, there's still one more game to play for Boston College in 2012. And as competitors, the Eagles say there's no way they give anything less than their all.
What's the difference between a two-win season and a three-win season? It's simple: one win.
Anyone can do that math, with or without a Boston College education. And you better believe the Eagles have run the numbers.
They want this one, badly.
"It doesn't matter how ugly a win is, we've just gotta find a way to win football games," quarterback Chase Rettig said. "Because that's what burns the fire for the next game and the next game, you just wanna keep winning as much as you can as a player and as a coach, obviously."
After each of their wins this season, at home versus Maine and versus Maryland, the Eagles talked about what a boost a victory the previous week gave them. And after losses, they've talked about keeping an even keel.
They've talked about the latter a whole lot more than they would've liked.
"We were close this year a whole bunch of times," Rettig said. "We just gotta find a way to get over the hump. And I don't think there's any magical equation or anything like that; we just gotta keep having a good work ethic. There's only so many things you can do; someone's gotta make a play to win the football game."
BC opened the season with a 14-0 lead on Miami, only to lose that game 41-32 when it couldn't keep up with the Hurricanes in the second half. In the literary world, they would call that foreshadowing.
The Eagles led late at Northwestern and Army, only to lose each game. BC scored late to take a lead on Virginia Tech, only to allow the Hokies to tie the game with just more than a minute left in regulation and win it in overtime.
That last loss came on Senior Day at Alumni Stadium, making the pain last a little longer in the Eagles' minds.
Saturday's matchup with NC State (6-5, 3-4 ACC) represents the last hurrah for the team's seniors, and before a practice this week a few of them talked about what the past four or five years have been like.
"It's been a great experience playing here," defensive co-captain Jim Noel said. "It's just been a pleasure on my four years, and I just plan on ending it right this weekend."
"It's been an awesome ride, man," fifth-year senior Bryan Murray said. "College is a great time, and being a Division I athlete in college is even a better time. I just thank God for really showing me the path here, and enlightening me in this experience.
"I been giving it my all this whole season, and I know that's not gonna change for this last game. And I know the whole team is gonna try their best to take it up another notch for this last game for all the guys that are leaving."
The big defensive lineman and his mates face an uphill battle this weekend, looking for their first win away from Chestnut Hill this season.
Mike Glennon and the Wolfpack have had their ups and downs in 2012, with the high point undoubtedly coming Oct. 6. That's the date of NC State's 17-16 upset of then-No. 3 Florida State in Carter-Finley Stadium.
Many of the Eagles saw that game, and it's stuck with them.
Glennon, a grad student, has led the ACC in passing yards this season (309.4 yards per game and 3,403 total) and ranks ninth nationally.
Asked for his insight on his counterpart on the Wolfpack, Rettig was full of praise.
"He has good fundamentals, strong arm," Rettig said. "Obviously he can lead a team in a close-game situation.
"He's always been consistent. We played him last year and he had a pretty good game. All the games I tend to watch when he's playing quarterback they seem to put up a lot of points. And the team looks like they definitely follow him."
While NC State ranks just seventh in the ACC in scoring offense, at 28.5 points per game, that's up slightly from 2011, when it averaged 28.2 points and ranked fourth.
And on offense, Rettig knows he has to be careful with the ball because of an opportunistic Wolfpack secondary led by David Amerson.
"He's a good player," wideout Alex Amidon said of Amerson, who leads the Wolfpack with four interceptions this season and led the nation with 13 as a sophomore. "He's basically like a receiver playing cornerback the way he can play the ball in the air, so that's always a problem. Especially on deep balls, because he can track the ball and go up and get it."
That said, the NC State secondary has proven vulnerable to the pass this season, giving up the most yards per game in the ACC (274.4). Rettig is averaging 267.5 yards a game through the air, and with his first passing yards Saturday will set a new school record for passing yardage for an underclassman.
The Eagles desperately want to end the season on an up note, giving them something to carry with them through the long offseason ahead.
And while the past couple of years have been hard, the departing seniors are mostly optimistic.
"This is still a young team this year, but I see a bright future for these kids as they get older," Noel said. "This team is full of sophomores and juniors, a lot of freshmen playing. I think in the next couple years they're gonna be a force to be reckoned with in the ACC."
They can only hope that starts this weekend.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.