Boston College has been a thorn in Florida State's side since they joined the ACC. In the 5 games they've played since 2005 Boston College's win last year was the first time the home team has won this match-up.
Last year's game was not a pleasant one for the Seminoles, as the defense struggled mightily throughout. Drew Shinskie looked the best he had all season, throwing for 211 yards and 2 scores. The BC offense had complete control in the trenches, allowing Montel Harris to rush for 184 yards on 25 carries and 2 touchdowns.
This season Boston College enters the second year under head coach Frank Spaziani, and they aim to play in the ACC Championship game for the 3rd time over the last 4 years. It seems year in and year out the Eagles are always in contention for the ACC title. With a handful of starters returning this fall look for BC to compete in 2010.
Quarterback Drew Shinskie didn't take over the quarterback duties until the midway point of last year, but when he did he took it and ran with it. Now as a 26 year old sophomore Drew enters the season as the starter, but it is not necessarily given he has the spot locked down. Early enrollee Chase Rettig was big get for BC, and he has pushed Shinskie throughout camp. Drew must play well early if he wants to keep the job. Last year he threw 14 picks, so being more careful with the ball would be a good starting point for him.
Running back Montel Harris is the workhorse of the offense, and he is one of the best backs in the ACC. The junior enters the season among the top 10 rushers in school history, and he is coming off a season where he ran for 1,457 yards and 14 touchdowns. Harris did most of the running for BC, but they had Josh Haden as a capable back-up last year. This year there isn't anyone proven behind Montel, so he needs to stay healthy. That is hard to do for someone who carries the load as much as Harris does. Rolandan Finch was expected to back-up Harris but he tore his ACL over the spring.
When you think of offensive lines Boston College must be considered one of the country's best in churning out NFL talent. 4 starters return in 2010, highlighted by tackle Anthony Constanzo. The senior has started every game since arriving at BC. Look for this unit to be a strong point for the offense, and look for them to have another solid season.
No matter who you're a fan of, the return of Mark Herzlich is a fantastic story. Havinf beaten a rare type of bone cancer Herzlich hope to regain the form that saw him dominate in 2008, a season that saw him named 1st team All-American. If he can come back healthy, the Eagles should have a strong linebacking corps. As a freshman last year Luke Kuechly was second nationally with 158 tackles. He returns and is expected to man the middle. Mike Morrissey started 7 games in 2009 and he'll be back, and Will Thompson will add depth to what is tradionally a strong point for Boston College's defense.
Along the defensive front there is a lot of experience returning for the Eagles. Alex Albright, Brad Newman and Damik Scaffe all return from last year and all 3 are seniors. Austin Giles and Jim Ramella are gone, but there is enough returning that there won't be much of a drop off.
Maybe the one question on defense is in the secondary. Last year teams were able to pass on the defense. After finshing in the bottom of the ACC in pass defense Coach Spazianni hopes to solidify this segment for the Eagles. Wes Davis and DeLeon Gause are seniors that return. After them Issac Johnson, Dominick LeGrande, Jim Noel and Donnie Flecher will add depth.
What FSU must do to win: The answer to this one is pretty easy. The Seminoles have had success against the Eagles when they contain the run and put points on the board. Over the past 2 seasons Montel Harris has 50 carries for 313 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Seminoles. First and foremost they must shut him down and put the pressure on Shinskie and a very weak receiving corps for BC.
Ponder and the offense has to score. Ponder threw for over 300 yards against the Eagles last year, but they weren't able to do anything truly efficient until the 4th quarter. There is enough talent on offense in 2010 for FSU to put points on the board in bunches. With a storng front 7 but a questionable secondary, this is a game Christian will need to play well in.
NoleDigest too early prediction: This game is a styles clash for FSU. Where the Seminoles have more speed and elusiveness, BC depends on size and strength. That has been tough for the Seminoles to handle over the past 2 seasons, and it is what has given the Eagles the advantage since 2005.
That is changing, though. FSU's team is noticeably bigger and stronger under Vic Viloria, yet they've been able to keep the speed and get faster. These factors will give FSU an advantage as BC still doesn't have a lot of speed on its team.
NoleDigest feels that Ponder is the difference in this game. There is a decided quarterback advantage in this game and it will propel FSU to the win, breaking the winning streak BC has at Doak.
FSU 38 Boston College 21
Predicted record: 6-1, 4-0 in the ACC
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