Boston College Preview

This game marks the first Big East Conference game for both schools. Boston College comes into the game winning their last two after letting a win slip through the fingers against Wake Forest in the opener. Miami continued to look strong against an inferior opponent last week defeating East Carolina 38-3.

#2 Miami Hurricanes (3-0) vs. Boston College Eagles (2-1)
Alumni Stadium – Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
September 20 – 7:45 PM Eastern on ESPN

Last year, Miami defeated Boston College 38-6 at the Orange Bowl. Boston College running back Derrick Knight was held to just 57 yards on 19 carries (3.0 average). It was a 17-6 game until the Hurricanes scored three touchdowns in less than three minutes in the fourth quarter. Miami running back Willis McGahee accounted for 221 all-purpose yards.

Boston College Eagles - Notes and Quotes

Boston College knows what it does best and so do everyone else, run the football. The Eagles are led by senior tailback Derrick Knight who finished 3rd in the conference in rushing a year ago. In 2002, Knight rushed for 1432 yards and 12 touchdowns.

How is Knight been so successful?

"I think it comes down to our system," said head coach Tom O'Brien. "We believe in running the football and we practice it hard. Derrick has good vision and he hides behind the offensive line and sometimes you don't see him. He has been able to run through tackles, able to make people miss and able to run away from people. We work hard with our offensive line and our running game. Derrick has done a great job of setting up blocks. Given a great running back or a great offensive line, I would take a great running back any time."

O'Brien is in his eighth year at Boston College and has nothing but good things to say about Miami.

"Its another tremendous Miami team," said O'Brien. "The names and faces have changed, but it's the same guys out there running around every time. They have tremendous skill on offense, solid on the offensive line and they can beat you at any position. On defense they really get after you up front, solid front four. They have tremendous linebackers, really great safeties and corners. It's going to be a challenge for our program, but we will be ready on Saturday."

Coach O'Brien sent a letter to the fans through the school newspaper asking them to cheer with class this weekend. There is a possibility for an extra hostile crowd because of Miami's departure from the Big Ten. Coach has stated that they have no hard feelings for Miami leaving.

"Miami has to do what is best for Miami. And that is what Boston College would have done, to do what is best for Boston College."

A win against Miami would be great for the Boston College program because many feel they are still living off of the Doug Flutie hailmary pass to defeat the Hurricanes in 1984.

Miami Hurricanes - Notes and Quotes

This is the beginning of the end for the Miami Hurricanes as they begin their final season in the Big East Conference. While most people think Miami will have a target on them all season because of the resentment the majority of the teams feel, head coach Larry Coker thinks differently.

"Of course we are going to have a target on our backs," said Coker. "But it doesn't matter what conference we are in, the Big East opponents want to beat us and I'm sure next year the ACC teams will want to beat us."

Boston College has been known as a good run team over the past few years, but a concern with this year's team is how would they react to the loss of quarterback Brian St. Pierre to graduation. Quentin Porter has stepped in and has impressed the coaching staff at Miami.

"The quarterback impresses me more than I hoped he would," said Coker. "He really throws the ball well. He reminds me quite a bit of the guy who they just lost and that guy was drafted ahead of the guy that we loss, so that tells us something. They do a good job of opening up big passing plays."

Not only does Porter impress Coker, but also the entire Boston College team.

"We know that things are going to get tougher," said Coker. "Boston College looks very impressive and they play tough. They have an outstanding running back and they play outstanding defense. We know it will be tough in Chestnut Hill."

What does Coker think about the talented Derrick Knight?

"Derrick Knight is an outstanding runner. He has been very impressive in the games that I saw. The thing that I notice about running backs is what they do after first contact. That is one of the best things that Derrick does. You have to tackle him, you have to wrap him up, and you have to surround him. He does a great job of making the first player miss. He moves the chains and gives Boston College a lot of manageable first downs to make."

Miami running back Frank Gore became the first running back in school history to run for 100 yards to three straight games to start a season. This is a shock to many around the Miami program, including Coker, because of all the great backs they have had.

"I think Frank's progress has been good," said Coker. "Frank is a little disappointed because he wants to score a touchdown every time he touches the ball. He has been close and he's been doing what we have asked him to do. We ask him to get a four-yard run. If he gets a four-yard run, then the other runs will come. He is catching the ball out of the backfield well. I have been very pleased with him. In reality he has only started three games and is still a young player. I think his progress is good and he will continue to get better. We have to help him get better by blocking for him. If we do that, I think he is going to have a great year."

Miami Hurricane Projected Starters

QB Brock Berlin Junior
TB Frank Gore Sophomore
FB Kyle Cobia Junior
TE Kellen Winslow Junior
WR Kevin Beard Senior
WR Ryan Moore Freshman
LT Eric Winston Sophomore
LG Vernon Carey Senior
C Joel Rodriguez Junior
RG Chris Myers Junior
RT Carlos Joseph Senior

LE Baraka Atkins Freshman
LT Orien Harris Sophomore
RT Vince Wilfork Junior
RE Thomas Carroll Sophomore
WLB D.J. Williams Senior
MLB Jonathan Vilma Senior
SLB Darrell McClover Senior
CB Antrel Rolle Junior
CB Kelly Jennings Sophomore
FS Sean Taylor Junior
SS Maurice Sikes Senior

Hurricane Injury Status

TB Frank Gore Knee Probable
OG Vernon Carey Ankle Probable
LB Roger McIntosh Knee Probable
FB Quadtrine Hill Shoulder Probable
SS Greg Threat Hamstring Doubtful
DE Alton Wright Ankle Doubtful
WR Devin Hester Ankle Out
FB Talib Humphrey Achilles Out
FB Jon Beason Shoulder Out
OG Joe McGrath Leg Out

Team Leaders

Miami

Passing – Brock Berlin (733 yards 59% 5 TD 4 Int)
Rushing – Frank Gore (379 yards 5.5 avg 3 TD)
Receiving – Kevin Beard (8 rec 177 yards 1 TD) Ryan Moore (10 rec 127 yards 2 TD)
Defense – Sean Taylor (20 tackles 2 Int) Jonathan Vilma (20 tackles) Vince Wilfork (3 sacks)
Kicking – Jon Peattie (4-5 FG 13-13 XP)

Boston College

Passing – Quinton Porter (544 yards 53% 5 TD 2 Int)
Rushing – Derrick Knight (470 yards 5.7 avg 1 TD)
Receiving – David Kashetta (6 rec 121 yards 2 TD) Joel Hazard (9 rec 102 yards)
Defense – Brian Flores (28 tackles) Phil Mettling (3 sacks) Will Blackmon (2 int)
Kicking – Sandro Sciortino (3-5 FG 10-10 XP)

Two Key Match-ups To Watch

When Boston College has the ball…
TB Derrick Knight vs. MLB Jonathan Vilma

Knight is the main guy for the Eagles. When he goes, they go. There wont be too many disguised plays in the Boston College offense. They will run right at the Hurricane defense and try to establish a run game early. Vilma is the catalyst for the Miami defense. He is a three-year starter and has led the Hurricanes in tackles the past two seasons. Vilma has been hampered by a hamstring injury this season, but is starting to get back to full strength. This could be a problem for Boston College.

When Miami has the ball…
WR Ryan Moore vs. CB Will Blackmon

Moore leads Miami receivers in receptions and touchdowns in just his freshman year. He has taken full advantage of being named the starting wide receiver after potential starters; Roscoe Parrish and Jason Geathers were injured in fall practices. Moore is 6-3 and weighs 205 pounds, which could give the smaller Boston College cornerbacks fits. Blackmon is the biggest cornerback at 6-0 195 pounds and is one of their fastest players. Last week Blackmon was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Week, while recording 14 tackles and two interceptions.

Coach Larry Coker's Final Word

"There is no doubt about it, for us to win the game we have to slow down Derrick Knight."

Player Quote of the Week

Running Back Jarrett Payton on if anything changed after his big touchdown run, "I am still the same, business as usual."

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com

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