Boston College Notebook

The struggling BC football team now takes its struggles on the road, where the next two weeks can become most unpleasant if the Eagles don't get their collective act together.

First, there's this week's visit to former coach Tom O'Brien and North Carolina State, the fourth time BC will face its former coach since his move to Raleigh.

On paper, that's the easier of these two games as the Eagles visit No. 24 Florida State next week.

But the way things are going for BC these days, the word "easy" doesn't really apply to anything.

At the top of a long list of headaches this team is trying to work through is, of course, the quarterback situation. Freshman Chase Rettig lost his redshirt status by starting Saturday night, then looked like he might get it back via medical reasons, when he hobbled off the field on a sprained left ankle.

For Rettig to get the medical redshirt, he'd have to miss the rest of the season with the injury and it doesn't look like that would happen. But this week? To say he was doubtful would have been understatement.

That meant the Eagles could be using their third starting quarterback in five weeks if Mike Marscovetra, who has relieved in all four games thus far, gets the nod over Dave Shinskie.

Shinskie not only lost his starting job for Saturday night's 31-13 loss to Notre Dame, he was buried, banished to No. 3 as Rettig and Marscovetra played.

Now, he might have the edge for this week because he has won before and the Eagles need a win this week, or face the risk of the season really getting away.

Regardless of who plays quarterback in Raleigh, in the first road game of the season, the BC troubles go beyond that position. The offensive line, a trademark of the program, isn't blocking, and the defense isn't tackling or covering anyone.

-- Having already played three of its four non-conference games, with the only other one the season-ender at Syracuse, BC now faces a stretch of seven straight ACC games, starting with a road affair at North Carolina State.

After last Saturday night's 31-13 home loss to Notre Dame, defensive end Alex Albright said the lesson of the game (and the one before it) had better sink in with the league slate approaching.

"It definitely exposes a lot of the problems that we have and maybe it's a good thing it happened now before this run in the ACC," he said. "We're going to need to run the table if we're going to be in contention for anything. So I guess that's positive, too, if we're able to figure out the problems now before it's too late."

-- The Eagles will be facing former coach Tom O'Brien for the fourth time since he bolted for NC State. BC is 3-0 against its former coach, two of the wins coming at home.

-- BC beat FCS Weber State and Kent State of the MAC to start the season but has lost to Virginia Tech and Notre Dame, both at home, by a combined count of 50-13.

-- The Eagles were wracked with penalties last week, charged with 12 for 120 yards, and that's with Notre Dame declining three others.

-- BC is No. 111 (of 120 teams) in the country in red zone offense. The Eagles have made just 13 trips inside the opposition's 20, coming away with just three touchdowns to go with six field goals.

-- This is BC's first road game of the 2010 season. The Eagles won their last two road games last year, beating Virginia and Maryland before losing to USC in the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco.

SERIES HISTORY: Boston College leads North Carolina State, 5-2 (last meeting, 2009, 52-20, Boston College).

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Offense? What offense? The Eagles still don't know who their quarterback is. Freshman Chase Rettig shook off opening jitters in his first appearance as a collegian last week and then got hurt. That left him very doubtful for this week.

Notre Dame came in last week as the No. 98 rushing defense in the country but determined to stop the run and did. "We have to be able to run the ball," coach Frank Spaziani said.

The Eagles are 108th in the country running the ball, thanks to a total of five net yards, only 28 yards for running back Montel Harris. NC State is 82nd in the country against the run.

BC is 64th in the nation passing the ball, 98th in total offense and tied for 98th in scoring offense.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The BC defense was hit with an early avalanche by Notre Dame and probably would have gotten beaten even worse if the Fighting Irish weren't just learning the spread.

It seems like all tackles by the defense are made by the linebackers. That, of course, is not the case but it just seems that way.

The defense kept the Virginia Tech game respectable and did the same in the second half against Notre Dame.

The Eagles are ninth in the country against the run, just 80th against the pass, but are 30th in total defense and 43rd in defense scoring.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's sort of like back to Square One, isn't it? We'll handle it with Mikey and Dave and keep our other options open." -- BC coach Frank Spaziani on whether Mike Marscovetra or Dave Shinskie would get the start in place of Chase Rettig this week at North Carolina State.

Boston College at North Carolina State, Oct. 9 -- The Eagles get their fourth shot at former coach Tom O'Brien and face an NC State team that was 4-0 before losing to Virginia Tech.

KEYS TO THE GAME: Obviously, coming out strong on the road is a key, but this week, the Eagles have to come out and not let the game get out of hand, regardless of who plays quarterback for BC. The Eagles have to get the running game going, have to get back to playing BC football and actually steamrolling over people.

The BC quarterbacks --
If he's healthy, Chase Rettig will play, but it wasn't looking that way. That leaves either Mike Marscovetra for his first college start of Dave Shinskie getting another shot.

RB Montel Harris -- He has gained over 100 yards in seven of the last eight games before last week, but Notre Dame limited him to 28 yards on 15 carries. That gave him less than 100 in two of the last three games.

LB Luke Kuechly -- It doesn't matter what goes on on the field, this guy just keeps making tackles. He has reached double figures in 13 straight games, the current high in the nation.

WR Billy Swigert -- The true freshman caught seven passes last week, one for 58 yards and a touchdown.

-- QB Chase Rettig started slowly (1-for-5, for minus-1 yard) last week but was 5-for-10 for 72 yards and a touchdown overall when he went down with a left ankle sprain. The fear was that it was worse but X-rays showed no break.

-- LB Luke Kuechly cleared the 200-tackle mark in his 17th college game, breaking Stephen Boyd's BC record of 19 games.

-- Freshman WR Bobby Swigert caught his second touchdown pass of the season.

-- SS Dominick LeGrande had his third fumble recovery of the season.

-- K Nate Freese kicked a career-long 49-yard field goal, the longest by a BC kicker since Sandro Sciortino nailed a 49-yarder back in 2002.

-- DT Kaleb Ramsey became the third defensive tackle suspended this season for violation of team rules when he sat out Saturday night's game. Dillon Quinn started the season with a three-game suspension and Connor O'Neal sat out against Virginia Tech. Ramsey was expected back for this week.

-- RB Montel Harris did little Saturday night to continue his assault on Derrick Knight's all-time BC rushing record. He gained only 28 yards on 15 carries and still needs 1,034 to become No. 1. He's only a junior.

-- LB Mark Herzlich was in on only two tackles, but did force a fumble that was recovered by Kuechly.

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