Scores and More
CONFERENCES COACHING CHANGES TRANSACTIONS GAMING MATCHUP CURRENT ODDS
Boston College (4-1) at (5) Virginia Tech (4-1)
Saturday, October 10th, 12:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, College Football Senior Editor
GAME NOTES: The fifth-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies continue their quest for a third straight ACC title, as they welcome the Boston College Eagles to Blacksburg this weekend for a cross-divisional showdown.
These two teams have met for the conference title each of the past two seasons, with Tech coming out on top in both ACC Championship games. In all, this is the 18th meeting between these two programs, with BC claiming each of the last three regular season matchups.
The Eagles come into this game with a 4-1 ledger, and moved to 2-1 in- conference with last weekend's 28-21 win over Florida State. Still, BC is searching for its first road win of the season, falling hard at Clemson (25-7) in its only game outside of Chestnut Hill this year.
The Hokies dropped their season-opener against Alabama (34-24), but have reeled off four consecutive wins, including last weekend's 34-26 victory at Duke. The win put Tech atop the ACC's Coastal Division standings at 2-0.
The Eagles almost allowed an 18-point lead to disappear, but thanks to a long touchdown run by Montel Harris, BC was able to outlast the Seminoles. Harris finished the game with a career-high 179 yards on 25 carries and has been a big reason for the success of the offense to this point. Harris is averaging 4.7 yards per carry and has scored five of the team's seven rushing TDs.
Freshman signal caller Dave Shinskie has had success under center for Boston College, who has also used Justin Tuggle in the position this year. However, Shinskie has been the better passer, completing 61.5 percent of his passes, for 624 yards, with seven TDs and two interceptions.
Veteran WR Rich Gunnell leads the team in receptions (16) and TD catches (three), but sophomore Colin Larmond Jr. has made more of his 12 catches (20.4 ypc), going for 245 yards, with two TDs.
The defense has been solid for Boston College this year and that certainly continued against FSU. Big stops are nothing new for a squad that is limiting the opposition to just 15.4 ppg and 294.0 ypg. In all, BC has forced 10 turnovers thus far, although a better job rushing the passer is needed (just four sacks).
Freshman LB Luke Kuechly has emerged as a real defensive leader, pacing the team in tackles (45), with 4.0 TFLs and one fumble recovery. His play will only be enhanced as senior LB Mike McLaughlin gets healthier. McLaughlin (seven tackles) is making his third start of the season after tearing his Achilles' heel in the spring. Strong safety Marcellus Bowman is a distant second at 27 tackles. Rush end Alex Albright (20 tackles, team-high 6.5 TFLs, with one sack) is the player to watch along the defensive line, although an ankle injury suffered last time out has him listed as questionable for Saturday's game..
The Blue Devils didn't go away quietly, but a career-performance from Tech QB Tyrod Taylor was enough to earn the road win for the Hokies. Taylor was an efficient 17-of-22, for a career-high 327 yards and two touchdowns. Wideout Jarrett Boykin hauled in six of those passes, for 144 yards and one score. The usually productive ground game was bottled up for three quarters but finally got going in the final stanza, led by freshman Ryan Williams and sophomore Josh Oglesby, who scored two TDs in the game.
It has been the ground game that has fueled Tech's offensive attack this year, generating 203.2 yards per game. Williams has stepped into the role of primary ball carrier with the knee injury to Darren Evans prior to the season's start and has flourished, averaging 5.3 yards per carry, while scoring eight TDs in the first five games.
Taylor has been effective at times with his arm, completing just over 54 percent of his throws, for 869 yards and six TDs. Boykin and Danny Coale have formed a solid tandem downfield, combining for over 105 receiving yards per outing.
The Tech rush offense has been suspect for much of the season, but it was the pass defense which failed to come through against Duke, allowing the Blue Devils to put up well over 300 yards passing. Still, the numbers aren't bad on the season, with the team yielding just 339.8 ypg, leading to 18.4 ppg.
The linebacking corps is the strength of the defense, with Cody Grimm (45 tackles), Jake Johnson (40 tackles) and Barquell Rivers (39 tackles) all making plays. Grimm was especially productive against Duke, racking up 14 tackles, with two TFLs and a forced fumble.
Still, Grimm knows there is room for improvement on the defensive side of things.
"If we don't clean some stuff up, we're going to get beat down the road. We gave up too many big plays in key situations. There were a few where they (Duke) made good plays against the defense we ran and that's going to happen, but we've got to eliminate some of the silly stuff, like not staying in our gaps."
Kam Chancellor (31 tackles, one INT) highlights the play in the secondary, while rush end Jason Worilds (21 tackles, 4.0 TFLs, 2.5 sacks) must be accounted for off the edge.
BC head coach Frank Spaziani knows what is in store this week.
"These guys (Hokies) are a premier program in the country and they haven't skipped a beat since the last time we saw them. They are always improving. This is a very good football team. They are well coached in offense, defense and special teams. Especially in their venue down there, it is very difficult to play in there."
The homefield advantage should play into Tech's favor in this one, as the Hokies will do just enough offensively to get by the Eagles.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Tech 31, Boston College 20
10/07 10:47:08 ET