The Eagles (7-3) got no style points for their 14-10 victory at Virginia on Saturday, but David Shinskie and his team will take it regardless of how it looked.
"That was one of those games where whoever was going to persevere the most would win," Shinskie said. "That's what good teams do – find a way to win. A win's a win."
The win also kept BC in the hunt for the ACC title, albeit barely. With a Clemson loss to Virginia on Saturday and BC wins in the final two games, the Eagles will advance to the title game. But for the Eagles, the focus is entirely on the North Carolina Tar Heels, who visit Alumni Stadium on Saturday in the home finale.
"Watching that defense is like watching an NFL defense," said wide receiver Rich Gunnell of UNC's D, which has held opponents to 16.2 points per game and 268 yards per game this year- lowest in the ACC in both categories. "They fly around the ball. We're going to have to be precise."
"They play a standard defense… they're just really good at executing," said Shinskie. "It's just up to us to do what we have to do, limit mistakes and make our plays."
Shinskie also said that he's confident his wide receivers will bounce back after a string of uncharacteristic drops in Charlottesville last week.
"You've just got to get [the drops] out of your mind," he said. "A lot of guys get nervous when they make a drop… but I'm going to throw it to you again, as long as you're open. People sometimes think if they make a drop they won't get the ball thrown to them, but that's not how it is."
"You know these guys want to redeem themselves, so they'll be out there working hard on Saturday," he continued.
"It happens," said Rich Gunnell. "Nobody's perfect. But the drops were huge in that game. Hopefully that's an area we'll improve on this week."
Saturday marks Senior Day at Boston College, where the senior class has a chance to finish out the home slate undefeated for the second time during their years in the program. BC last went 7-0 at home in 2006.
This group of seniors has amassed a 37-14 record, a pair of ACC division titles, and two bowl wins – doing it all despite near-constant program upheaval and the departure of two high-profile head coaches.
"I think we're the model senior class for BC," said offensive lineman Matt Tennant. "These are the people you want to have at BC. These are the guys who went through three head coaches and are still winning games… it's not about the coaches, it's about the players and the cohesiveness that we have as a team."
"We want to show what this class is all about," said Mike McLaughlin. "We want to finish our home careers on a high."
"I had some good friends graduate last year, and you can see it in their eyes how much it means and how emotional it is to be out there for that last home game," McLaughlin said. "But you can't really put yourself into that position until you're there yourself. It keeps hitting harder the more the week goes on."
BC seems to always be a program fueled by emotion, and the emotions of Senior Day have been a positive in recent years. The Eagles are a perfect 4-0 in Senior Day games since joining the ACC.
This class leaves the Heights with a reputation for exceeding expectations, overcoming forecasts of doom each year from all the major college football publications – including a near-universal sentiment that BC would struggle to make a bowl game this year.
"We don't pay attention to what other people say," said Gunnell. "No one else sees how hard we work… We know how hard we work, and what we are as a team."
The Inescapable Topic
It seems like you can't go anywhere in Boston this week without hearing someone's take on Bill Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth down against the Colts on Sunday night – and the BC press room was no exception.
"I'd punt the ball," said Shinskie. "You just have to in that situation."
When one of the reporters joked that Shinskie now has no chance of being drafted by the Patriots, he backtracked.
"Well, [Belichick] did it for a reason. He's a great coach. And obviously as the quarterback I'm thinking that I want the ball and I want to go out there and make the play."