Sat 11/13, Noon
AP Rank: 13
Last Game: TU
Returning Starters: 16
AP Rank: 21
Last Game: RU
Returning Starters: 11
Last Meeting: 2003
There seems to be a lot of angst about this Mountaineer team amongst fans. ‘They aren't as good as they should be'. ‘They aren't as good as last year's team.' ‘Something's not quite right.'
One reason for that is the fact that fans are more familiar with their own team than with others, and thus tend to see more problems with the home team than they do with other clubs. Another reason might be the perceptions, which aren't necessarily based on facts, that some people hold about the team. ‘The offense isn't as explosive.' ‘The defense isn't as good.'
While being the first to admit that stats aren't everything, consider these numbers, which compare WVU through nine games of each of the last two seasons:
Eagle linebacker Jon Misiewicz couldn't start the UMass game because of the flu, and was thus replaced in the starting lineup by super-freshman Brian Toal. Toal has since put a death grip on that position with stellar play, which has relegated Misiewicz to the bench. That makes Toal the early leader for the Lou Gehrig award.
ONE ON ONE
Has there been a bigger matchup of top rated units in the conference this year? Or in the past several years? My guess is no.
WVU comes into the contest as the league leader in scoring (34.8 points per game), rushing (258.9 yards per game), and passing efficiency (164.1 rating), while BC heads the conference in total defense (295.4 yards per game, scoring defense (12.8 points per game) and rushing defense (96.8 yards per game). That's about as close as you can get to the irresistible force meeting the immovable object.
One secret to BC's success has been the stability of its starting lineup. Other than tailback, which has been a revolving door, BC has had just 12 players in its remaining ten offensive starting positions. The Eagles have 14 players who have started every game this year, and four others that have missed just one start.
TOP FIVE COUNTDOWN
With his next tackle behind the line of scrimmage, senior linebacker Adam Lehnortt will move into a tie for fifth in career tackles for loss at WVU. That play, when it comes, will tie Lehnortt with Delbert "Tree" Fowler, who racked up 30 such stops from 1977-1980.
While BC tight end Dave Kashetta might miss the WVU game due to injury, don't think that will be a huge advantage for the Mountaineers. Kashetta is indeed a force in the Eagle offense, but lined up behind him are a couple of players that appear to be more than capable of filling his shoes. Junior Chris Miller (6-5, 258 lbs.) and redshirt freshman Trey Koziol (6-5, 255 lbs.) are both bigger than Kashetta, and could provide a surprise to the Mountaineer defense if it overlooks them.
SLIM, NONE AND FAT
Despite politically correct statements to the contrary, those are the chances of WVU and BC meeting in the regular season in the near future. Of course, a matchup in a bowl game is always a possibility, but that would assume that the Eagles will, at some point, finish in the upper half of the ACC. Given that their best-ever Big East finish is fourth, I'm not holding my breath.
LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION
The only venue where the Eagles hold a winning record over West Virginia is Fenway Park. BC won 33-0 under the Green Monster on October 3, 1942, to account for its 1-0 lifetime mark at that location.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Everyone probably knows that BC placekicker Ryan Ohliger is the younger brother of former WVU kicker Jon Ohliger, but that's just two-thirds of the kicking Ohligers. Brother Jesse kicked at Murray State, making three collegiate kickers in the Ohliger family. That's very impressive. Three D1 athletes at the same position in one family has to be some sort of record.