Boston College (1-5) at (16) Virginia Tech (6-1)
Saturday, October 22nd, 3:00 p.m. (et)
From The Sports Network
By Roman Stubbs, Associate College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: The Boston College Eagles will travel to Blacksburg this weekend for an ACC matchup with the 16th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies, who picked up a crucial league road win last Saturday against Wake Forest.
Boston College has lost two straight games, the most recent being a 36-14 setback at Clemson on October 8. The Eagles only win this season has come against FCS opponent Massachusetts, and the program is currently in the middle of a tough three-game road swing. Boston College will close out the road set next weekend at Maryland.
Clemson humbled Virginia Tech 23-3 on October 1st, and the Hokies have responded with a pair of impressive wins over Miami and the aforementioned Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Virginia Tech beat the Demon Deacons 38-17 in Winston-Salem, and now head into a favorable two-game swing against the Eagles this weekend and the Duke Blue Devils coming up next week. The memories of tough battles with Boston College has Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer preparing for a stiff test come Saturday.
"When you look at Boston College, I think of toughness, I think well-coached, I think hard- nosed, competitive," said Beamer at his weekly press conference on Tuesday. "They're a hard team to beat."
Boston College has scored just 33 points in its last two games against Wake Forest and Clemson. The Tigers held the Eagles to just 258 total yards on October 8th. After a bye week, the offense will try to pick up the pieces against the formidable Virginia Tech defense. Boston College ranks 105th in the country in both total offense (317.8) and scoring (19.5). Chase Rettig hasn't passed for more than 200 yards in three consecutive games, has thrown for 1,181 yards overall with six touchdowns against five interceptions.
More uncharacteristic of the Boston College offense has been its struggle to run the football, which is understandable considering the injury problems Montel Harris has had to endure in 2011. Harris missed the first three games before returning to the lineup against Massachusetts, and a week later, ran for 108 yards on 22 carries against Wake Forest. He didn't play against Clemson. Andre Williams, who has gotten the bulk of the carries (69) this season, and leads the team with 325 yards and three touchdowns through five games, also didn't play against Clemson. Williams is questionable for this contest, while Harris will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Rolandan Finch will certainly get more touches now, after leading Boston College in rushing against the Tigers, posting 81 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries.
Clemson put up 500 yards of total offense on Boston College's defense, which is 11th in the ACC in total defense (419.3 yards per game). The unit allows 157.5 yard rushing and 261.8 yards passing per game, and is ninth in the conference in pass efficiency defense (132.2). The Eagles struggled to ground Wake Forest's Tanner Price and Clemson's Tajh Boyd in successive weeks, as the two quarterbacks threw for 288 and 283 yards respectively. Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas has been playing very well as of late, and should present a third consecutive challenge for this secondary. Boston College only averages one sack per game, and has seven takeaways against eight turnovers this season. Linebacker Luke Kuechly leads the country in tackles with 99, and is tied for third in the ACC with 7.5 tackles for loss.
Virginia Tech has scored 38 points in each of its last two wins. The main cog is tailback David Wilson, who leads the ACC with 129 yards rushing per game. Wilson has rushed for over 100 yards in six of seven games this season, including the last four games, and has scored six touchdowns.
Logan Thomas completed 23-of-25 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns against Miami two weeks ago, and followed that with a 17-of-32 passing with 280 yards and two touchdowns last weekend against Wake Forest. For the year, Thomas has thrown for 1,476 yards and nine touchdowns against five interceptions. His top two receivers have been Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin, who have combined for 59 catches, 819 yards and five touchdowns.
Virginia Tech averages 419.1 yards and 31.1 points per game. As the season progresses, Beamer wants his offense to be a balanced unit, capable of moving the ball with both the run and pass.
"I think if you're going to be successful, I mean, there's just times you got to run the football. And there's times when you have to throw the football. And you've got to be able to do both," said Beamer. "This offense right here, is in good position to do both."
The Virginia Tech defense has been stellar, ranking again as one of the country's best units so far in 2011. Price got his yards for Wake Forest last weekend, throwing for 254 with two touchdowns, but he completed just 19-of-33 and was picked off once, and the Demon Deacons rushed for just 59 yards. Wake Forest converted just one-of-13 third downs, and were held scoreless in the second and fourth quarters, as Virginia Tech racked up 31 points in those frames. The Hokies are 15th in the country in total defense (298.1), including eighth in rushing defense (83.7) and 52nd in pass defense (214.4) Virginia Tech allows just 16.4 points per game, and has accumulated 22 sacks and 50 tackles for loss thus far. J.R. Collins is second in the ACC with six sacks, and Jayron Hosley leads a secondary that has recorded nine interceptions. Hosley has three.
There was a time and place when this was a hot matchup, but the 2011 rendition certainly doesn't appear that way on paper. Rettig has been inconsistent, and Boston College is struggling to make an impact with absences in the backfield. The Virginia Tech defense will feast, and the offense will continue to gain traction as it heads toward the back-end of its ACC schedule.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Tech 37, Boston College 17
10/19 10:38:33 ET