Saturday, October 17, 2009
3:30 pm (EST) ABC
NC State Game Keys
NC State needs to give Wilson time to make plays in the pocket and find receivers open downfield. With BC running a zone scheme, there are going to be receivers who find holes in the zone but Wilson needs the time to allow that to happen.
Boston College's front seven isn't as strong as in recent years, particularly rushing the passer. Currently they are No. 90 nationally in sacks, totaling 1.33 a game, and defensive lineman Kale Ramsey (2) is the only Eagle to have more than one sack.
On the surface, it looks like they don't generate a lot of consistent pressure. With that being said, its vital NC State's offensive line gives Wilson time to make plays. He can make things happen with his legs, but he's shown this year that when given the time to sit in the pocket he has been extremely effective.
NC State's offensive success might come down to just how physical the Wolfpack plays. Obviously up front you need to play physical and do well blocking the man in across from you, but the Pack's wide receivers and tight ends must play with an edge in this game.
Because Boston College is such a physical team, the Wolfpack's wideouts can't play soft. Jarvis Williams, Donald Bowens, Owen Spencer and company need to be physical off the line of scrimmage, battle for jumpballs, and be factors blocking in the running game.
The Eagles are ranked No. 42 nationally in pass defense, but they have really struggled over the past three games. Against Wake Forest, FSU, and Virginia Tech, BC's pass defense has yielded an average of 300 yards per game with five passing touchdowns and just one interception. Riley Skinner and Christian Ponder each had 300+ yard passing days, and Tyrod Taylor tossed two scoring strikes before being lifted early in VT's blowout win.
The Pack's wideouts have showcased the ability to stretch opposing defenses and make plays in the air. They must be able to do it on Saturday.
NC State's wideouts match up well with BC's secondary, they just need to be physical and continue to find openings against the zone or beat man-to-man coverage when BC uses it. For the Wolfpack to win this game, they might have to do it through the air. That will come down to their wideouts, tight ends, and even backs (leaking out of the backfield) making plays.
STAY BALANCED, EFFICIENT
Balance will be vital for NC State's offense on Saturday. They can't become one-dimensional because then BC's defense will have the definite advantage.
Look for offensive coordinator Dana Bible to mix up the run and the pass, and he will probably try to establish Jamelle Eugene and Andre Brown early. Keeping Boston College's defense off balance will prevent their front four from pinning their ears back and coming right after Wilson. Look for him to also mix in some screens and draws to slow down their pressure.
Also, NC State isn't a team that can afford to lose the turnover margin in this game. With the issues they've had defensively, the Pack offense has to take care of the ball.
The Pack can't give the game away with mental miscues. They need to make Boston College beat them, and not do the Eagles any favors by having game-changing turnovers or drive-stalling penalties.
Wilson and company have to convert on third down and gain sufficient yardage on first down to stay out of obvious passing situations. Most importantly, the Wolfpack offense just needs to be efficient. An efficient offense against Boston College, in what should be a rowdy environment, will be crucial.
NC State Defense vs. Boston College Offense
Based on the results of the last two NC State games, this may seem a little odd but make no mistake, the Wolfpack will have to control the run first to have success against Boston College.
The Eagles will be the most physical team State has faced this year and you can rest assured they're going to come out and try to smack the Pack in the mouth early on Saturday. In their two ACC wins this year Boston College averaged roughly 180 yards on the ground. In losses to Clemson and Virginia Tech, the Eagles averaged a measly 37 yards on the ground. With those stats in mind it doesn't take an expert to figure out what BC has to do to be successful.
The Eagles have a two-headed monster at running back in Montel Harris and Josh Haden. Harris has been the primary rushing threat, averaging 82 yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry. Haden is averaging just short of 36 yards per game and 3.8 yards per tote. Both can play physical but also have the ability to make people miss and then run away from a defense. Once again, this puts pressure on the State defense to make tackles and swarm to the football. If they don't improve on their last two performances, Boston College will run the ball up and down the field all day.
After being taken out of the Duke game for the most part, the Wolfpack defensive line will be front and center on Saturday. The Eagle's offensive line will be one of the best they'll face all year and will look to gash holes in State's front four. The Pack must control the offensive linemen, clog gaps and allow the linebackers to fill and make plays. Even more important will be their ability to control BC's running game on first down. If they consistently give up four and five yards a pop on first down, then the Eagles can open up their playbook.
The Pack will also need to be aware of the Eagles running the wildcat formation. Although BC hasn't been overly successful with it, it'll be a new look for State and something they need to be aware of.
PASS D NEEDS TO STEP UP
The good news is State won't have to face Riley Skinner or Thaddeus Lewis this week. The bad news is, the last time Boston College and NC State faced off, NC State helped Eagle's QB Chris Crane look like Riley Skinner or Thad Lewis.
Boston College has the No. 105 passing offense in the nation, averaging about 168 yards per game through the air. The Eagles boast two real receiving threats in Rich Gunnell and Colin Larmond. These are the only two BC wideouts with double digit receptions and combined, average less than 100 yards per carry.
For NC State, they need to regain their confidence, not get out of position and tackle when the play comes their way. Rashard Smith and Deandre Morgan are the Pack's two best cover men and they're going to have to step up and make plays. Boston College likely won't attack State the way Wake Forest and Duke did but they'll be completely content to simply be able to hit on enough passes to sustain drives and convert third downs. The Wolfpack has to improve on their third down defense. You cannot consistently give up third and longs and expect to win football games. The NC State secondary is going to need to make a statement early and let Boston College know that they are going to have to work for every single yard against their secondary.
Boston College Game Notes
Boston College has been one of the surprise teams in the ACC so far in 2009. The Eagles put together impressive, back to back wins over Wake Forest and Florida State before a disastrous outing this past weekend at Virginia Tech. Boston College has struggled at times on offense but have been solid on defense and special teams. Pack Pride takes an in-depth look at the Eagle’s program.
BC National Statistical Rankings
Look back at Boston College’s last game from CollegeFootballNews.com
at Virginia Tech 48 … Boston College 14
The Hokies jumped out to a 34-0 halftime lead and coasted from there. Ryan Williams ran for a one-yard score and Tyrod Taylor threw two brilliant touchdown passes with a 24-yarder to Danny Coale and a 41-yarder to Jarrett Boykin, and then the defense got into the act with a 22-yard interception return for a touchdown from Rashad Carmichael. Boston College got a few touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, including a 48-yarder to Colin Larmond, but the Hokies also scores 14 fourth quarter points highlighted by an 80-yard Ju-Ju Clayton throw to Marcus Davis. BC QB Dave Shinskie completed just one-of-12 passes for four yards with two interceptions.
Player of the Game: Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams ran 18 times for 159 yards and a score.
Boston College: Passing: Michael Marscovetra, 10-16, 114 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Montel Harris, 11-43, Receiving: Colin Larmond, 4-64, 1 TD
Virginia Tech: Passing: Tyrod Taylor, 7-10, 126 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Ryan Williams, 18-159, 1 TD, Receiving: Jarrett Boykin, 3-69, 1 TD
What It All Means: BC ran into a Virginia Tech buzzsaw. As poor as the Eagles are on offense, there are going to be some games here and there when there’s just no hope. A week after Dave Shinskie appeared to be the answer at quarterback, and he still might be, he was hopeless overmatched as he never had time to work and couldn’t find an open target. The defense needed to pick up the slack, and in the second quarter, it couldn’t. With NC State up next, the offense will have to get it in gear; the Wolfpack will be slinging it a bit after an ugly loss to Duke
Boston College Game Notes
HOT AT HOME
• Boston College is 4-0 in the confines of Alumni Stadium this season.
• The Eagles are outscoring opponents in Chestnut Hill by an average of 35.8-13.0.
• BC is gaining a little less than 400 yards per game against their opponents at home while allowing slightly over 300 yards to its opposition.
• The Eagles have a +3 turnover margin in the four games at home and have scored 18 touchdowns while allowing just six.
• BC is outscoring its opponents 100-16 in the first two quarters at Alumni Stadium.
THE SERIES WITH NC STATE
• Boston College owns a 4-2 all-time record against NC State.
• The game marks the second time former BC Head Coach Tom O’Brien has returned to The Heights. He had a 75-45 record in 10 seasons in Chestnut Hill from 1997-2006.
• 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 3-1 against the Wolfpack since joining the ACC and its only loss came in Raleigh by two points.
• Last season, Chris Crane led the Eagles to a 38-31 win at Carter-Finley Stadium. The quarterback had a record-setting day as his 470 yards of total offense is the third-largest number in Eagles’ history. Only Doug Flutie had more total yards in a game.
• His 428 passing yards that day are the seventh-most in a single game and the 62 snaps he took are the fourth most all-time.
• Crane’s 34 completions at NC State ranks fourth on the all-time ledger in a single game while his 51 attempts are ninth.
NOTES FROM THE VIRGINIA TECH GAME
• The 34 points allowed in the first half were the most allowed by Boston College since the Hokies scored 35 in the first half on September 30, 2000. Virginia Tech won that game, 48-34.
• It was also the largest deficit Boston College faced at halftime since December 31, 1999 in the Insight.com Bowl. Colorado led 45-7 at halftime in that game.
• It marked the worst loss for Boston College since November 25, 2000 when the Eagles lost at Miami, 52-6.
• Sophomore CB Isaac Johnson recorded the first sack of his career in the first quarter.
• Senior LB Mike Morrissey also notched his first sack in a BC uniform.
• Senior DL Nick Rossi recorded his first sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery in the same play in the third quarter.
• Sophomore DT Kaleb Ramsey picked up his second career sack in the third quarter. His other one came at Clemson on September 19.
• True freshman QB Mike Marscovetra completed his longest pass of the season – a 48-yard TD pass to sophomore WR Colin Larmond, Jr. It was also the first touchdown pass of his career.
MARSCOVETRA PUSHES FOR TIME AT TECH
• True freshman QB Mike Marscovetra was the first quarterback off the bench last weekend at Virginia Tech.
• He performed well, going 10-for-16 for 114 yards and two touchdowns.
• It was the first time he saw action on the field since the Kent State game on September 12.
• Marscovetra was 3-for-4 for 21 yards in the first two games of the season before last weekend.
MAC IS BACK
• Senior LB Mike McLaughlin has fought to get back onto the playing field after tearing his right Achilles’ tendon during a routine drill in the spring.
• McLaughlin, who is serving his second season as captain, started his first game this season vs. Wake Forest.
• He made the first tackle of the game on a run outside of the tackle on the right side and finished the day with four tackles and a half tackle for a loss.
• McLaughlin added three more tackles against Florida State on October 10 and had eight more at Virginia Tech last weekend.
SHINSKIE MAKING THE MOST OF IT
• True freshman QB Dave Shinskie was tabbed as the starter three weeks ago against Wake Forest and has taken advantage.
• The 25-year-old ex-baseball player was 31-for-51 in his first two starts for 439 yards, five touchdowns and an interception.
• Shinskie went 18-for-29 for 228 yards with three touchdowns and an interception in his debut as a starter against Wake Forest.
• He became the first Boston College quarterback to throw three touchdown passes in a game since Matt Ryan did it against Michigan State in the Champs Sports Bowl on December 28, 2007.
• Shinskie then went 13-for-22 for 211 yards and two touchdowns against Florida State on October 3. He completed the longest play of the season when he hit sophomore WR Colin Larmond, Jr. for a 62-yard strike.
• The Mt. Carmel, PA native had a setback last weekend at No. 5 Virginia Tech. He completed one pass on 12 attempts for four yards and threw a pair of interceptions.
COUNTING ON COLIN
• Sophomore WR Colin Larmond, Jr. has emerged as a vital part of the receiving unit.
• The Whippany, NJ product leads BC in yards (309), average per catch (19.3), long catch (62) and average per game (51.5).
• Larmond had a career day against Florida State on October 3, setting career highs with five catches for 98 yards.
• In the last two games, Larmond has caught nine passes for 162 yards and a touchdown.
HARRIS BACK AT IT
• Sophomore TB Montel Harris established a BC true freshman record with 900 rushing yards in 2008.
• He broke Shelby Gamble’s 1976 record of 776 rushing yards.
• Harris also had a freshman record five 100-yard games.
• Harris ranked third in the country among true freshmen with 69.2 rush yards per game.
• The Jacksonville, FL native was a College Football News All-Freshman Honorable Mention selection.
• Harris started this season where he left off in 2008 as he rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener against Northeastern.
• He had a career day against Florida State on October 10, rushing for 179 yards on 25 carries. He also scored two touchdowns.
• Harris broke a 21-21 tie in the fourth quarter when he scampered for a 42-yard touchdown with 4:07 left in the game.
• He has gained 492 yards on 107 carries and has five touchdowns. He is averaging 82.0 yards per game.
HADEN BREAKS THROUGH
• Sophomore TB Josh Haden ran for a career-high 93 yards against Wake Forest.
• He topped his previous career high of 77 yards which he accomplished against the Demon Deacons last year in Winston-Salem.
• Haden tied a career best with 17 carries in the game which he also did against Wake a year ago.
• Senior WR Rich Gunnell is the most seasoned wideout in the ACC.
• The East Windsor, NJ product ranks first among active ACC receivers in receptions (138), receiving yards (1,797) and touchdowns (14).
• He ranks fifth in career touchdowns at BC, tied for fifth in receptions and 11th in receiving yards.
• Gunnell leads the Eagles with 17 catches and three touchdowns.
• Rich Gunnell returned a punt 46 yards for a touchdown in BC’s win against Northeastern.
• He nearly broke another for a touchdown, but was tackled after scampering 56 yards, the second-longest return of his career.
• He has returned 10 punts for a total of 146 yards - a 14.60 yard average, which ranks 13th in the country.
• Gunnell’s touchdown was the second in his punt return career. He found paydirt against Virginia Tech last season from 65 yards out.
HE HOLDS THE KEY
• True freshman LB Luke Kuechly impressed during preseason camp and, after an injury sidelined sophomore Will Thompson, was named the starting middle linebacker for the first three games.
• The Cincinnati native did not disappoint, leading the team with seven tackles (six solo) and recording 1.5 tackles for a loss in the season opener against Northeastern.
• Kuechly was all over the field at Clemson on September 19, recording 13 tackles and one for a loss.
• He had the most tackles for a true freshman in a game since LB Mark Herzlich notched 14 stops against Buffalo on October 28, 2006.
• Kuechly was moved to the Will LB spot and got the start there against Florida State and Virginia Tech.
• He led the team with 12 tackles and was an integral part of a goal-line stand in the second quarter against the Seminoles. With a first-and-goal at the one, FSU’s Lonnie Pryor rushed three times and Kuechly was in on every tackle. The Seminoles would go for the end zone on fourth down but failed when Christian Ponder was sacked.
• When describing the stand in the postgame press conference, senior LB Mike McLaughlin said: “That was tremendous. The Boy Wonder (Kuechly) made two unbelievable plays back to back. It’s funny really. He’s unbelievable and it’s a credit to the whole defense.”
• Kuechly added 10 more tackles at Virginia Tech last weekend and leads the team with 34 solo tackles, 21 assists, 55 total and is second with five tackles for a loss.
• He has led the team in tackles in five of the six games this year.
BOWMAN A BIG HIT
• Senior SS Marcellus Bowman was tabbed by his teammates to be an emerging star on the defensive side of the ball prior to the season.
• He has proved them right as he ranks second on the team in solo tackles (22) and total tackles (28). He has also forced a fumble.
• Bowman also flies to the ball and is one of the hardest hitters in the conference.
• “It’s something I’ve been waiting for for a long time. That’s why I play the way I play, because the previous three or four years that I’ve been here, I’ve been watching other people make plays. Of course, I’m happy for my friends and teammates, but as a competitor, I want to be making those plays, too. I knew I’ve been able to make the plays that I’m making now. It’s kind of frustrating that I hadn’t been able to do until this year. But now that I’m here, I’m trying to make the most of it.”
A BIG BOOT
• Sophomore P Ryan Quigley bulked up over the offseason - from 180 to 191 pounds - and it has showed so far this season.
• The North Myrtle Beach, SC product has punted 40 times for 1,648 yards - a 41.20 average - and dropped 12 inside the 20-yard line.
• Quigley ranks 50th in the country in average yards per punt.
• He also has six punts over 50 yards after having just five all of last year. Quigley has booted two 58-yard punts this season against Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, which is a career high.
• Last season, Quigley had a 39.6 yard average on punts.
• Quigley is also handling kickoffs for the Eagles this season.
THE LEGEND OF SID VICIOUS
• Senior Steve Aponavicius is in his final season in a BC uniform, but his legend will live on long after this year.
• During the 2005 season, Aponavicius painted his body for the Eagles’ home opener against Army. His shirtless enthusiasm earned him a brief appearance in the team’s season highlight video.
• Shortly after that game, Aponavicius, who had never played in an organized football game, brought a borrowed football and a $10 tee to Alumni Stadium and started practicing field goals.
• A graduate assistant noticed him and asked if he would be interested in walking onto the team.
• Not knowing how to pronounce his last name, the team nicknamed him “Sid Vicious”.
• In October of 2006, Sid Vicious gained rock star status when he was picked to start in a national TV game against Virginia Tech.
• He nailed both of his PATs and both of his field goals on the way to outscoring the Hokies by himself in a 22-3 win.
•The next morning, he received a standing ovation when he walked into class and became one of the hottest stories in college football.
• Aponavicius is easily the ACC active leader in both field goals (39) and PATs (127).
• Aponavicius has graduated and is working on an MBA at Boston College.
• Boston College’s offensive line was regarded as the strength of the offense entering this season.
• BC returned four of the five starters to the line from a year ago.
• The Eagles have an average height of 6-6 and they weigh an average of 305 pounds - a total of
• BC ranks tied for 38th in the country in sacks allowed (1.40).
• Sophomore TB Montel Harris has recorded the seven 100-yard performances in the last two years behind the offensive line.
• Senior C Matt Tennant was named to the Rimington Trophy Watch List, Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List and the All-ACC Preseason Team.
• Junior LT Anthony Castonzo joined Tennant on the Lombardi Watch List and the All-ACC Preseason Team.
Thanks to NC State and Boston College Athletics for much of the information in this preview.