Eagles Thump Wolfpack

Boston College bounced back from their drubbing at Virginia Tech with their best all around performance of the season. The Eagles dominated NC State in all phases of the game on their way to a 52-20 romp. BC was carried by a career performance from sophomore tailback Montel Harris, who set two BC record for touchdowns and yards carried in the game.

Shaking off last week's tough loss to Virginia Tech did not take Boston College long; they defeated North Carolina State 52-20 yesterday. In the team's second possession, the Eagles ran the wildcat, which they call the ‘Bazooka' allowing Montel Harris to sprint 70 yards down the sideline to the Wolfpack 2 yard line. He barreled up the middle on the next play to finish off the drive with a touchdown.

Those two plays set the tone for Harris's career game of 264 rushing yards in 27 carries and five touchdowns. The running back's fifth score followed Jim Ramella's fumble recovery in the third quarter. Harris cut to the outside and ran down the sideline 29 yard to the end zone , setting a new school record for rushing touchdowns in a single game. Early in the fourth quarter, Harris ran eleven yards to the NC State 40-yard-line, recording his 260th yard, breaking BC's single-game rushing yards record. Phil Bennett had previously held the mark at 253 yards.

"Close to the end of the game people were telling me that I was ten-yards shy or a touchdown shy [of the records], but I really wasn't thinking about breaking records, I was thinking about breaking tackles and getting as many yards as I could," said Harris.

BC's offensive line, which had struggled earlier in the season, proved a force to be reckoned with. It both allowed quarterback Dave Shinskie time to develop plays and they opened holes for Harris. NC State managed only a handful of tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

"The offensive line put its foot down and was like alright it's battle of the trenches. It was kind of a challenge for us because all week the coaches have been preaching that their one of the top run defenses in the ACC. Our goal was to have 200 yards rushing and the offensive line took it upon [itself] to open up some holes which it did all night," said Harris. "I was pretty much able to run free. It was nice."

On the other side of the ball, the Eagles stopped the Wolfpack's run attack early, allowing only 79 yards on 27 carries. Halfback Toney Baker and quarterback Russell Wilson each accounted for about half of those yards with 36 and 35 respectively. Wilson proved the threat anticipated; he forced the Eagles to miss some tackles behind the line of scrimmage and ran for positive yardage. However, he also got himself in trouble and was sacked twice. BC sent a few safety blitzes at him, a tactic it does not often use, allowing safety Marcellus Bowman his second career sack.

"I saw a hole open up and the running back step in there to help with protection so I gave him a move and the coverage was good enough that he held the ball and I made a play," said Bowman. "I wasn't sure that we were going to run that many blitzes, but I guess the coaches must have seen something so they dialed them up but they worked pretty well."

Despite the uneven running games, the quarterback pressure, and the uneven score, the Eagles did not run away with it early, at least not on the scoreboard. A few BC punts and NC State field goals pulled the Wolfpack within one late in the second quarter. Harris scored a touchdown to but the Eagles up 21-13, but three minutes remained for NC State. Free safety Wes Davis put a stop to that with an interception returned 18 yards to the BC 42 yard line. The 1:02 remaining was barely enough time for the Eagles to drive 38 yards. Shinskie had to spike the ball with two seconds remaining so kicker Steve Aponavicius had time to come on the field and kick a low line drive which just cleared the goal post, putting BC up 24-13.

The Eagles started the half strongly with a 72-yard drive down the field taking up 7:54, increasing the score to 31-13. Harris rushed for a total of 26 of those yards and the touchdown. Shinskie completed four passes , including two for 23 and 19 yards to tight end Lars Anderson.

"The turning point of the game was actually the first drive of the second half for our offense. Every time it seems we get up and we kind of have a letdown in the second half defensively and offensively and to see our guys go in and punch it in like that took the wind out of their sails and energized us a bit more. The next kickoff we came down and pinned them at the ten yard line and it kind of snowballed from there," said Davis.

And snowball it did. BC dominated the second half with almost 20 minutes of possession time. The team only allowed NC State to score once, while recording four touchdowns of its own. Shinskie's second touchdown pass was the final of the game. Wide receiver Billy Flutie caught the six-yard pass, his second career receiving touchdown. Shinskie completed 13 of his 25 pass attempts for 187 yards and two touchdowns in the game.

The Eagles now prepare for the latest edition of the Holy War as they will travel to South Bend to face their Catholic rival next weekend.

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