Week 6: Boston College

Pack Pride previews NC State's upcoming opponent, Boston College. The Eagles feature a strong defense led by linebacker Mark Herzlich.

Boston College Game Notes

Boston College hits the road for the first time this season when it travels to Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh to face NC State. • The Eagles have won each of the last three meetings, scoring 37 or more points in each victory.
• The game pits Boston College against former head coach Tom O'Brien, who led the Eagles program for 10 seasons from 1997-2006. He had a 75-45 record at BC.

Head Coach Frank Spaziani elected to start true freshman Chase Rettig in last weekend's game against Notre Dame.
• Rettig began to settle in after throwing a 58-yard touchdown pass to fellow true freshman Bobby Swigert, but a hard hit ended with an ankle injury and he was forced to leave the game.
• Rettig is day-to-day with his injury.
• Sophomore Mike Marscovetra, who was in the mix to start, came off the bench and went 22-for-37 for 193 yards with two interceptions.
• Sophomore Dave Shinskie was benched after the Virginia Tech game. He had started the previous 13 games, getting his first start against Wake Forest in 2009. He had an 8-5 record in those starts, including a 5-3 ACC mark. SWIGERT'S COMING OUT PARTY
True freshman WR Bobby Swigert had a great day catching the ball last weekend against Notre Dame.
• He caught seven passes for 137 yards and a touchdown. That score was the longest offensive scoring play of the season for the Eagles, a 58-yard reception that came near the end of the first quarter.
• Swigert is the first true freshman in Boston College history to rack up 100 receiving yards in a game.
• He is also just the third freshman to do so. Anthony DiCosmo had a pair of 100 yard games in 1996 while Pete Mitchell had one in 1991. They were both redshirted their first year on campus.
• Swigert's seven catches and 137 yards are both BC freshman records. DiCosmo also had seven catches on October 5, 1996 against West Virginia. He accumulated 123 yards in that game.
• Mitchell had six catches for 100 yards against Georgia Tech in 1991.

Boston College owns a 5-2 all-time record against NC State.
• The two teams met twice prior to the Eagles joining the ACC in 2005. BC won the first-ever meeting at Fenway Park in 1936 and NC State took the second game in Chestnut Hill the following year.
• BC is 4-1 against the Wolfpack since joining the ACC and its only loss came in Raleigh in 2006 by two points.

A couple of individual performances have led Boston College to victories the last two seasons against NC State.
• Last season, junior RB Montel Harris exploded for 264 rushing yards and five TDs. Both are Boston College single game records.
• It was the fourth-best rushing day in the FBS last season.
• In 2008, QB Chris Crane erupted for 470 yards of total offense. It is the third-largest number in Eagles' history.
• Only the legendary Doug Flutie had more total yards in a game as he had 517 against Miami in 1984 and 507 against Penn State in 1982.
• His 428 passing yards that game are the seventh-most in a single game and the 62 snaps he took were the fourth most all-time.
• Crane's 34 completions rank fourth on the all-time ledger in a single game while his 51 attempts are ninth.

Boston College fell to 9-11 in the all-time series and 4-3 at home against Notre Dame.
• It was the first time BC lost consecutive games at home since 2003.
• The last time either side scored 30 or more points in a game was in 1999, when Boston College defeated Notre Dame, 31-29.
• Alumni Stadium has been filled to capacity for each of the seven meetings between the Eagles and the Irish in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
• Sophomore LB Luke Kuechly became the fastest Eagle to record 200 tackles, doing so in the 17th game of his career. The record was previously held by Stephen Boyd, who turned in a 13 tackle performance against the Irish on November 7, 1992, reaching the milestone in his 19th game.
• Kuechly extended the nation's longest stretch of games with double-digit tackles to 13.
• True freshman QB Chase Rettig made his first career start. Rettig went 0-for-4 to begin the game, but rebounded to go 5-for-10 for 72 yards before being sidelined by an injury.
• Rettig connected with true freshman WR Bobby Swiggert on a 58-yard pass for his first career TD with 0:19 left in the first quarter. The touchdown was the longest pass of the season for BC.
• Sophomore QB Mike Marscovetra completed a career high 18 passes, going 18-for-30 for 163 yards.
• Swiggert led the Eagles in receiving with seven grabs for 137 yards and one touchdown.
• Senior DT Damik Scafe forced two fumbles, which resulted in six points for BC. They were the second and third of his career. He also batted down his second pass of the season early on in the first quarter.
• Redshirt freshman PK Nate Freese connected on a career-long 49-yard field goal with 11:32 remaining in the second. The successful attempt was the longest for any Eagle since Sandro Sciortino split the uprights on a 49-yarder vs. Virginia Tech in 2002.
• Senior DE Alex Albright wore No. 78 in memory of his friend and former teammate at St. Xavier, Matt James.

Boston College holds the third-best conference record in the ACC since it joined the league in 2005 behind Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech of the Coastal Division.
• The Eagles are 26-15 in the conference while the Yellow Jackets are two games better at 30-13.
• Virginia Tech, with a 33-9 ACC mark, has set the standard for the ACC since 2005.
• BC has been the best Atlantic Division team since joining the ACC by two games over Clemson.
• Boston College's 49 overall wins since 2005 is six behind Virginia Tech for the most in the ACC since 2005.

Boston College is usually one of the most disciplined teams in the country, but it was penalized 12 times for 120 yards last weekend against Notre Dame.
• It was the most flags thrown against the Eagles since October 13, 2007 in a 27-14 win against the Irish.
• The last time BC racked up that many penalty yards was October 13, 2001 against Virginia Tech. It had 16 penatlies for 120 yards.

Despite the above stat, Boston College has been one of the least penalized teams the last three years.
• The Eagles were flagged 60 times for 514 yards in 2008.
• BC's 4.29 penalties per game ranked ninth in the nation and its 36.71 yards penalized per game was 10th.
• The Eagles continued the trend last year as they ranked 19th in penalties per game (5.00) and 21st in penalty yards per game (43.54).
• Before the Notre Dame game, BC ranked 25th in the country in penalties per game (5.00) and 24th in yards penalized (41.67).
• Now it ranks 70th in penalties per game (6.75) and 79th (61.25) in yards penalized per outing.

Boston College managed 5 yards rushing last weekend against Notre Dame.
• That was the fewest rushing yards for the Eagles in a game since October 20, 1990. BC was held to -4 yards in that game against Penn State at Alumni Stadium in a 40-21 loss.

There were a total of 25 players who were either freshmen or sophomores on the two-deep in the September 4 opener.
• Included in that number were 13 freshmen.
• Two freshmen have earned starts this year - WR Johnathan Coleman and true freshman LB Kevin Pierre-Louis.
• Coleman has caught nine passes for 185 yards. Pierre-Louis is second on the defense with 26 tackles and 19 solo stops.
• The number has been steady at 23 freshmen and sophomores the last three games.

The Eagles have two of the most experienced coordinators in college football in offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill and defensive coordinator Bill McGovern.
• Tranquill has 47 years of both collegiate and professional coaching experience which is the third most in the country behind Penn State's Joe Paterno and Florida Atlantic's Howard Schnellenberger.
• Combine that with McGovern's 24 years as a coach, and the duo's 71 years of combined coaching experience is the third most in the nation. Only Iowa's Norm Parker and Ken O'Keefe (78 years) and Miami's (OH) Morris Watts and Carl "Bull" Reese (81 years) have more experience on the sidelines.
• Tranquill is also the sixth oldest active coach in the country at 70 years old.

Entering this season, Boston College had gone 88-40 from 2000-09. That is the 16th-best winning percentage in the nation during that span. The Eagles are now 90-42.
• Only Virginia Tech (102-34) and Miami (95-34) have been better since 2000 within the current Atlantic Coast Conference configuration.
• The Eagles have been the best team in the Northeast since 2000. The closest team to BC in winning percentage is Pittsburgh with a 76-51 mark.
• Connecticut is second to the Eagles for a New England team with a 65-60 record.

Boston College has called Alumni Stadium home since 1915 and the current version has stood since 1995. Alumni Stadium moved to its current location in 1957.
• The Eagles are 63-30 since 1995 in Chestnut Hill.
• Since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2005, BC is an impressive 31-7 at Alumni Stadium.
• Boston College is also 16-5 in ACC home games.

Boston College Coaching Quotables

Opening Statement:
Well, first of all, we're going on the road obviously for our first road game. It's a conference game. It's against an opponent that is very well-coached and has some outstanding players. We're going to have our hands full. Any questions?

I was wondering if you could kind of tell me what's going wrong from your perspective right now. You've struggled a little bit the last couple of weeks.
Well, we got a lot of things going right. Obviously we've lost two games in a row here. We have a young, inexperienced squad. We're working our way through that.

That's basically it in a nutshell.

Can you talk about your quarterback situation, what you're looking at this week and how difficult that has been to negotiate this year.
Well, from day one, from when I got the job, it's been a very difficult situation to negotiate, as you put it. We started out this year with Dave and Mike. We have Chase Rettig. We have another freshman on our roster. We made a switch last week. We went with Chase. He got injured, so we're back to square one over here where we're at with that.

It's challenging. Once again, we'll work our way through it.

I wanted to ask about your running game. Obviously we know Montel Harris has been a quality back. It seems to be really tough going this year. Can you talk about that? Where is the problem? Is it because the passing game has been shaky, teams have been packing it in?
Well, you know, there's a lot of reasons. Some of them have been we've had guys in and out. We've had injuries. We've had to shuffle guys around on the offensive line. The continuity hasn't been exactly the way we would have liked it. Then there's other issues. Obviously, people are very concerned about Montel, but they were concerned about him in the past, too.

But a combination of that stuff and inexperience, some decision-making in some other areas has led to this situation we got right now.

It's been several years since Coach O'Brien was up there. Is it that enough people have come and gone that kind of the emotional aspect of playing against a former BC coach has faded away, or is that still something that looms over this game?
Never was for me. That's the only one I can speak to. I never like to play against close friends.

How do you get out to California and get a true freshman as interesting and compelling as Rettig appears to be?
Once again, it goes back to our original problem when I got the job, the inherent problems that we had. We were in an extremist situation. We had to take measures to see if we could upgrade where we were at. We went in a little bit different direction than we usually would do. One of our coaches knew some people, blah, blah, blah. That's how we wound up out there in California.

Coach, could you talk a little bit about the defense and how that's going for you? It seems like those guys are playing fairly well, keeping you in games right now.
We got a four-game sampling. We certainly have a mixture of different opponents. The defense, they have their issues. It's more we've got a familiarity over there, we have some continuity, so we've been able to hold that together a little bit.

Last week we had some issues. We've had some people in and out over there, too. There are problems on the horizon.


On starting quarterback for NC State game:
"We're right back to square one with Mikey (Marscovetra) and Dave (Shinskie), and we'll keep our other options open. The fact that Dave has won games of course is a positive for Dave. We'll have to evaluate Mikey's performance (Saturday) night and see what kind of progress was made there in our opinions."

On offensive line:
"The problems there are inherent problems and until we get more options, our options are to work out way through the problems. That's been from day one when I took over the job. The offensive line is not as bad as everyone wants to make it out to be. When you look at it, at first blush everybody goes, ‘Well you have four returning guys.' Well, we took one of our guards and made him a center so that's a new position. And we made a guard another guard, so it's not quite as coherent as we would like. Our options are the people that are on the team. That's what our options are."

On penalties:
"Those were totally inexcusable. Having said that, there were 15 and three were declined. A couple of them were very questionable. But there were entirely too many. There are a lot of reasons for penalties which we don't have enough time to get into."

On what he thought some of the problems were in Saturday's game:
"The margin of error on this whole football team is very, very small, as a lot of coaches say about their teams. We know exactly what our problems are. We need to play fast and the faster we play, that will at least give us a chance and we may have put some mud in the gears there. A lot of times guys are coaching and you look at guys and say, ‘I can do this or I can do that,' and maybe the mental aspect of it didn't quite fall in and then they don't get it done. We did help them there and that's what we can do."

On saying he thought the team was "thinking too much:"
"All ways have execution problems because it's the physical nature of each player. Some of that will come. Maybe we over-coached a set or something and gave them too much to think about when they should have just been playing. It isn't just one thing, it's the combination of abilities and asking them to do certain things. It's not what you know; it's what your players know."

On correlation between defensive line issues and recent suspensions:
"Absolutely. I'm always reluctant to harp on this because it's certainly not an excuse, it's things we have to work through. But we have had the injury problems over there. First of all, we had to replace guys to start out with. Then we had the injury problems. Then we've had a guy in, a guy out. You cannot have continuity with one guy not being here for a week, being here for a week, missing one day, not practicing another day, and that's all part of the problems we have to work through and organizing how to play guys fast."

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