WVU - Boston College Matchups

We look at some Mountaineer seniors who, while playing their last game on home turf, figure heavily in the outcome of the Boston College game.


WVU offensive tackle Lance Nimmo vs. Boston College defensive end Phillip Mettling

Nimmo's leadership along the offensive line has been outstanding this year, and we won't be surprised to see him leading the Mountaineer rushing attack again on Saturday. Nimmo will have a good 30-40 pound size advantage on Mettling, who is also battling a knee injury, and who is himself replacing the injured Antonio Garay on the Eagle defensive front.

The Mountaineers have made good use this season of quarterback counters to the back side of the defense, which is often focusing on Avon Cobourne. On those plays, Rasheed Marshall will fake a handoff to Cobourne or Wilson, then keep the ball himself and run to the opposite side of the line.

If Nimmo can handle Mettling, Rasheed may have some good holes available on Saturday. If Mettling, however, is able to hold his ground, WVU's number one rated rushing attack could be in for some problems.

WVU defensive end Tim Love vs. Boston College offensive tackle Leo Bell

Love has been West Virginia's jack of all trades on the defensive line during his career. Need a nose guard? No problem. A defensive end gets hurt? Slide him to the edge.

Love will face a great challenge this week in the massive Boston College tackles, and in Bell in particular. At six feet eight inches tall, Bell is a tall tackle who obstructs opponents' vision into the backfield. At a listed 306 pounds, he packs plenty of power, and uses his arms and frame well to hold off enemy pass rushers.

Love will have to use all his veteran tricks, as well as his considerable willpower, to make plays against the Eagles big pair of tackles. Bell's size will make it difficult to see into the Eagle backfield and find the ballcarrier -- something Love and his teammates must do quickly to slow the Eagle rushing attack.

WVU kickoff returner Phil Braxton vs. Boston College kickoff team

Something's got to give in this matchup. The Eagles are yielding a stingy 18.4 yards per kickoff return, while Braxton is 29th in the nation with a 24.54 yard per return average.

Phil Braxton
Those numbers might not seem to be very far apart, but remember that they are just averages. Braxton has given the Mountaineer offense excellent field position on a number of occasions this year. His returns have been a big part of West Virginia's offensive success this year.

On the other hand, the Eagles have kept just about every kick returner in check this season. The longest kickoff return against Boston College this year has covered just 37 yards.

We've talked about hidden yardage time and again on this site this season. It's probably going to play out again on kickoff teams this week, and it will surely have a big effect on the outcome.


Boston College always seems to have a tricky wide receiver screen or two in their arsenal, and we expect to see them again this week.

The Eagles excell at slipping their wide receivers down the line of scrimmage and throwing them the ball behind the line, which allows the offensive line to release downfield and block before the ball is thrown.

With more than 1500 pounds of Eagle line rumbling downfield, WVU will have to diagnose the play quickly and get to the receiver before he can get in behind the Boston College behemoths.

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On a related note, don't expect Boston College to pound their heads in too much frustration against West Virginia's excellent run defense.

The Eagles' offensive coordinator is the well-respected, if little known to the general public, Dana Bible.

Bible has crafted excellent game plans at every stop on his resume, which includes both college and professional teams. Last year, he was able to find and exploit WVU's weakness against the option, which turned an early 10-0 WVU lead into a 34-10 loss for the Mountaineers.

Bible is excellent at adjusting his offense on the fly. West Virginia's defensive staff will have a challenge in matching his moves on the field.

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