Boston College Notebook

CHESTNUT HILL – Matt Ryan can relate to what Daniel Evans is going through as he prepares to make his first college start – against Boston College – Saturday night.

Matt Ryan can relate to what Daniel Evans is going through as he prepares to make his first college start – against Boston College – Saturday night.

"It's a tough thing to do, especially not (because of an injury) or something of that nature," the BC quarterback said Wednesday. "Kinda to be the guy with everybody else there is different from playing, or filling in for an injured guy, so it's a tough thing to do – but, at the same time it's very exciting. I'm sure he's obviously excited about that and I'm sure he'll be ready to go on Saturday."

Matt Ryan
Ryan, then a redshirt freshman, made his first career start in the final game of the 2004 regular season. Paul Peterson was hurt, Quinton Porter was being redshirted – and Ryan was the guy to go in and start. That day, with a BCS bid on the line, Ryan had a touchdown pass dropped early and the day went downhill from there.

Last year, with many thinking he should be the starter, he didn't start until Porter got hurt – so he didn't really do what Evans is doing this Saturday.

By the way, Ryan, well aware of State's athleticism on defense despite the heavy NFL loss (he said the Pack has "an athletic, athletic defense"), hasn't lost since that 2004 game against Syracuse. He won all five of his starts last season and is 3-0 this year – BC bringing a six-game winning streak into this conference game.

More Ryan? He has thrown for 891 yards in three games – the most by a BC quarterback since Doug Flutie had 938 after the first three games of his Heisman Trophy season of 1984. That should mean Ryan will also become the first BC quarterback since Flutie that year to clear 1,000 yards in four games.

It's All Backward
As you probably know, BC has long been steeped in a tradition of a big offensive line leading a power running game, with the wide receivers often sprinkled in as an extra in the attack. In fact, for six straight years – 1998-2003 – the Eagles had a 1,000-yard rusher. L.V. Whitworth and Andre Callender have combined for over a thousand the past two years and should do so again – but this BC team is winning with passing.

L.V. Whitworth
If you check the latest ACC stats, the Eagles are No. 1 in pass offense, No. 9 in rushing.

Last Saturday, BYU jammed the box against the Eagles, so BC wound up throwing the ball 48 times in the double-overtime win. Ryan had the first 300-yard game of his career at Central Michigan in the opener, threw for 212 yards in the double-OT win over Clemson and then set another career high with 356 yards last week. No wonder he's already been the ACC's Offensive Player of the Week twice in the first three weeks of the season.

"People have put a lot of guys in the box and that opens it up for our wide receivers on the outside," the quarterback said. "Fortunately, they've made plays and made me look good. But it's the kind of things they're giving us and we're taking advantage of it."

Coming into the season, at least one publication made mention of the fact that BC had shaky receiving. So far, it's been anything but shaky.

"I've said it before, and I'm going to say it again – our receivers are underrated," he said. "A lot of times, they get a bum rap and they don't deserve that."

Keep an eye on this – NC State has yet to surrender a touchdown pass this season – Ryan has already thrown six. Something has to give Saturday night.

Toal Practicing
It's no secret that BC is a better team with linebacker/short-yardage specialist runner Brian Toal in the lineup.

Brian Toal
But he's got a shoulder problem – after missing the end of last season with a shoulder/neck injury and was limited last week (he got banged up again scoring a touchdown). He's practicing and apparently will play Saturday night.

The Eagles are trying for their first 4-0 start since 1999 – and BC is looking to start off 2-0 in the conference. A win this week, with 1-AA Maine coming up, could give BC its first 5-0 start since 1954 (the 1992 team was 7-0-1 after eight games but tied the fifth game.

Parting Shot
Last week, of course, Tom O'Brien became the winningest coach in BC history – how odd that he tied and broke Joe Yukica's mark with back-to-back double-OT wins. Both of those wins were aided enormously by replay overturns – the replay officials getting it right in both cases.

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