Saturday, November 14, 2009

Boston College 14 Virginia 10

The Scoreboard

                      1        2        3        4       F      
Boston College 0 7 0 7 14
Virginia 0 0 10 0 10

The Story...

Not a bad way to start the blog. Everyone predicts a blowout and I get it right by calling a defensive struggle. This one was not pretty folks. The Eagles road struggles reared their heads for the 4th time this season. And make no mistake about it, against a better team, BC gets their asses handed to them in this game. But behind a heroic effort from Montel Harris (37 carries, 151 yards) and a key stop on 4th and 2 at the BC 15 by Mike Morrissey on Jameel Sewell, the Eagles escape with a 14-10 win.

By the Numbers...

2...The number of interceptions thrown by BC QB Dave Shinskie, 1 of which was returned for the Cavaliers lone touchdown of the game. He now has 7 interceptions in road games this season...nearly 2 a game.

37...The number of carries by BC's stud running back Montel Harris. Since coughing up the winning TD against Notre Dame, Harris has been terrorizing opponents (287 yards the last 2 games)...he's now over 1,000 yards for the season, the most since Derrick Knight patrolled the Heights.

1...The number of TD's Virginia had called back. Early in the 3rd quarter, Vic Hall returned a punt 74 yards for what appeared to be the tying TD...but it was called back thanks to a block in the back penalty. That play loomed large due to the final score.

13...The number of tackles by Luke Kuechly. If he weren't a freshman I would tell you that the guy is an absolute lock for ACC DPOY. As it is, he might even end up having to settle for 2nd place in the ROY battle because of the performance of Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams. Despite that, with 107 tackles now, there's no denying this kid is going to be a star.

Thumbs Up...

Not going to lie...there's not a lot to like about how the team played today other than the grit they showed. But let's try anyway...

Montel Harris. Harris gets the game ball thanks to the aforementioned 37 carries for 151 yards. He repeatedly broke tackles and made plays out of nothing to keep drives alive and put the offense in position to succeed. His combination of speed, balance, and power continue baffle opponents and make him an under the radar superstar. Without him, there is no question that they lose this game.

Mike Morrissey. Virginia had gone 65 yards in just over 90 seconds with the game on the line, and things appeared to be slipping away from the Eagles. Virginia though faced a 4th and 2 from the Eagles 15 yard line with 20 seconds remaining. The play was a designed QB draw for Jameel Sewell...Morrissey met Sewell right at the 1st down marker and did not give a centimeter. Replays confirmed that Sewell was stopped by inches. Not bad for a walk-on, eh?

Thumbs Down...

Where to begin...

Dave Shinskie. Wow. Just wow. 12/26 for 147 yards, 1 TD & 2 INT, 1 of which was returned for a touchdown. Time after time, Shinskie forced throws into coverage, refused to run with the ball or check down to open receivers/backs/tight ends, and generally played like a true freshman. He MUST cut down on the mistakes, and must learn when to throw the ball away. There were times today where it looked like he flat out looked like he didn't know what was going on...the interception in the end zone on the opening drive being the prime example...just awful. Keeping things in perspective, Colin Larmond dropped a gorgeous 60 yard-would be-TD pass in the 2nd, and Dave did make some timely throws in the 4th quarter including a 24 yarder on the Eagles final drive to help provide the Eagles with breathing room out of their end of the field.

Gary Tranquil. I've been pleasantly suprised with Tranq this season. He's not been nearly the dull play caller I had been expecting and has kept things well balanced. This was not one of his better days. Despite Shinskie obviously struggling with confidence in the 3rd quarter, Traq continued to dial up empty back field and shotgun sets for him to throw. I understand everyone's concern about Harris getting hurt or overworked...but you can't play scared. If Harris needs to touch the ball 45 times today for them to win, then so be it. Also, what is with the empty backfield calls on 3rd and short? Ugh...

Mike McLaughlin. I know we love the guy. I realize he's a tri-captain. I understand that he's a senior. But the guy is just not there. He's not been the same player since tearing his achilles and has often been a liability on the field this season. There I said it. Today was easily his worst game since returning to full time duty. He couldn't drop back into coverage fast enough to pick up the receivers over the middle, he repeatedly sold out the blitz way before the snap, and when he was close enough to the play to make a tackle he either missed, or couldn't get off his blocks. On the plus side at least he managed to not get called for a personal foul.

I'll stop there...yes, I realize they did win the game.


Everyone take a deep breath and say it with me...they won the game. Ultimately that's what matters, whether it was aesthetically pleasing or not. This is still a good football team, and they still are likely to win at least 1 of their last 2 games and finish with a very respectable 8 wins. And if nothing else it was nice to see them find a way to win a game without playing lights out on offense. The fact remains though, if they play this way next weekend (vs. North Carolina, time TBA tomorrow), they'll get hammered.

Scoreboard Watching...

Clemson 43 NC State 23...hard to ask a team like NC State to do your dirty work for you. The Tigers needs only to beat Virginia at home next week to clinch the Atlantic.

Georgia Tech 49 Duke 10...not gonna lie...when Duke ran out to a 10-0 lead I started paying attention as the upset seemed to be brewing...not so much. The Jackets are into the ACCCG and await either Clemson or BC.

North Carolina 33 Miami 24...Carolina is on a tear right now heading into the showdown with BC at Alumni. BC's undefeated record at home this season will be severely tested against an excellent Carolina defense.

Stay Tuned For...

The announcement of the start time for next week's North Carolina game will be out tomorrow morning...a little birdie informs me that a night game is a high probability. Tickets are still available through the BC Ticket Office.


  1. You had them covering the spread like the rest of us...which they sadly didn't :(

  2. Indeed...and in that respect maybe it was easier for other folks predicting 35 point blowouts...they knew their money was gone before halftime...I didn't know mine was until the 4th quarter.

  3. It was an ugly game, regardless of how you slice it. But...a win is a win, and I'll take it!