Army must stop B.C.'s Ryan

Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan entered this season as a longshot to win the Heisman Trophy. But Ryan has thrown himself, literally, right into the thick of the early-season Heisman chatter. Army's hard-charging defense will face its toughest test of the season when it visits Chestnut Hill, Mass. this weekend to take on Ryan and 14th-ranked Boston College (3-0).

Matt Ryan, a senior, has already thrown for 985 yards and seven touchdowns this season. That puts him on pace for 3,940 yards and 28 touchdowns for the Eagles this season. To put that gaudy stat in perspective, combined, Army quarterbacks David Pevoto are on pace to throw for 2,316 yards and four touchdowns this season.

Ryan has thrown for 400 yards in two of Boston College's first three games against ACC foes, Wake Forest, N.C. State and Georgia Tech. Ryan threw for a career-high 435 yards in a 24-10 win over Georgia Tech last Saturday. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech's Heisman Trophy candidate, running back Tashard Choice, was held to 31 yards on 15 carries.

"I'll tell you what, he (Matt Ryan) impressed me," Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey said after the game. "He impressed me on film and he impressed in person. He was as good as advertised; I can't imagine anyone playing much better than he did. I was extremely impressed." Believe it or not, Ryan didn't attract many Division I schools, coming out of Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, where he was a three-year starter. Boston College gave Ryan a look, but then coach Tom O'Brien and his staff suggested that Ryan throw a few passes when he visited campus.

Ryan passed O'Brien's test and earned a full scholarship. Ryan was named the second string quarterback behind Quinton Porter at the beginning of the 2005 season. Ryan ended up supplanting Porter and in 10 games, including five starts, passed for 1,1514 yards and eight touchdowns.

Ryan's breakout year came last season when he passed for 2,942 yards with 15 touchdowns. He played on a broken foot for most of the year. Ryan is healthy this fall and is showing how dangerous he can be.

"He's a great quarterback. I mean, he's one of the top quarterbacks in the nation right now," Army strong safety Caleb Campbell said. "The way he's playing, he's making himself a lot of money for the NFL. Discipline and communication are going to be keys from one corner to the other corner. He throws the ball very well and a lot so it's going to be all about discipline and making the right reads."

Heisman Trophy voters have noticed Ryan. So has Army. That leaves one question: Can Army be the first team to hold Ryan in check? It will be a quite a challenge. Top Stories