|10.14.09 at 2:52 pm ET|
|10.10.09 at 8:08 pm ET|
There were not many people who expected Boston College to travel to Virginia Tech and come out with a win against the fifth-ranked Hokies.
They probably did not think it would be quite so bad.
For the second time this season, the Eagles took their show on the road against an Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division opponent, and for the second time, they were manhandled en route to a lopsided loss. The Hokies came away with a 48-14 victory Saturday afternoon in Blacksburg, Va.
The Clemson Tigers are a decent team, but they might as well be earth-dwellers in comparison with Virginia Tech. Coach Frank Beamer’s group is fast, strong and mean. The Eagles were picked apart from the very beginning of the game by redshirt freshman tailback Ryan Williams and Michael Vick aspirant Tyrod Taylor, a junior quarterback.
The speed was just too much for the young Eagles defense. On the first drive of the game, Williams had five carries for 46 yards and mashed up Boston College like pig intestines through a sausage grinder. That was just the start, as Williams would finish the day with 18 carries for 159 yards and a touchdown, good for 8.8 yards per carry.
The lesson here was not so much the deficiencies of Boston College; we know by now that this is a middle-to-above-average team this season, but rather that the Hokies are head and shoulders above the rest of the mediocre teams in the ACC.
No other team in the conference has played as tough a schedule as the Hokies. Really, no other team had the nerve to schedule such tough opponents, except for maybe Miami, which squeaked by Oklahoma last week. Virginia Tech started the season against BCS championship contender Alabama, suffering a 34-24 loss before coming back to rip off victories over Nebraska, Marshall, Duke and Miami. There are not many teams outside of the SEC or USC that see that kind of competition (‘Bama, Nebraska, Miami) in three of the first five games. The Hokies tested themselves early and came out of the gauntlet at 4-1 and have set themselves up for another ACC championship run and BCS bowl berth.
Compare Virginia Tech to Boston College, which faced cupcakes and candy in its first two games against Northeastern and Kent State before the loss to Clemson. In the last two weeks, BC eked out wins against middling ACC opponents Florida State and Wake Forest before returning to Blacksburg for today’s beat-down.
If Virginia Tech was just another ACC also-ran destined to be the best of the mediocre teams in the conference, then today would have been different, a much more competitive game. Really though, Virginia Tech is a worthy top-five team with national title aspirations. Boston College, well, is not.
Besides learning just how good Virginia Tech really is, here are four other things we learned Saturday:
THE BC OFFENSE IS NOT VERY GOOD ON THE ROAD
The first half of this game was almost a replica of the Clemson game, with the exception that Virginia Tech scored touchdowns where the Tigers kicked field goals.
Both times the Eagles have gone south to rowdy, loud stadiums (Lane Stadium is particularly hostile) they have come out less than flat. Awful might be a better word. The only way Boston College was able to have any positive yardage at the end of the first half was because sophomore running back Montel Harris had a 6-yard run near the end of the second quarter to bring the total up to 2 yards.
Freshman quarterback Dave Shinskie also had a bad case of the 0-fer’s. Only one of his first-half passes was caught. Too bad it was to Virginia Tech cornerback Rashad Carmichael, who took it 21 yards the other way for a touchdown. Other than that, Shinskie was 0-9 and underthrew, overthrew or flat-out missed his targets. It got so bad that in the middle of the second quarter BC coach Frank Spaziani took almost his entire first-team offense out of the game and replaced it with the second unit and 18-year old true freshman quarterback Mike Marscovetra.
Marscovetra paid for that with his body as he was flattened by Tech defensive ends Nekos Brown and Jason Worilds (more on that below). Shinskie and the first team would return on the next series but did not play any better than before.
Shinskie still is adjusting to life back in football after his professional baseball career ended, but he has proven twice now that he cannot handle road pressure against big and speedy teams. He has a pretty steep learning curve in that aspect, but with road games coming against Notre Dame, Virginia and Maryland, he will need to learn quickly.
THE OFFENSIVE LINE ALSO IS NOT GOOD ON THE ROAD
You have to feel for Shinskie. As long as you do not feel LIKE Shinskie, after the beating he just received. The offensive line failed the Eagles again on the road, proving the linemen also have a steep learning curve when it comes to defending against top-notch pass rushers in hostile environments. Against Clemson it was the “Bamberg Bookends” of Ricky Sapp and Da’Quan Bowers. Against Virginia Tech it was the fearsome duo of Brown and Worilds.
Any time Shinksie wanted to step into a throw, one of those two were there for the big hit right after the ball was released. When Marscovetra was in the game, he felt the same wrath.
It was not until the second half that the offensive line was able to get the running game going at all. Montel Harris finished the game with 11 carries for 41 yards. True freshman Rolandan Finch ended up with eight for 14 yards and Josh Haden had five for 8. With the losses suffered by the quarterbacks, the BC rush total of the day was 43. For a team looking for an upset on the road, that is a low total and is very indicative of the way the game went.
MARSCOVETRA WAS DECENT IN GARBAGE TIME
Midway through the third quarter, Shinskie and the rest of the first-team offense got the hook for good. One would have thought, the way the beginning of the season had played out, that redshirt freshman Justin Tuggle would have gotten the call to get his head bashed in by the Hokies. Instead, Spaziani elected to go with the 18-year-old Marscovetra.
Marscovetra was decent against the Hokies’ second- and third-team defense. He completed the first touchdown pass of his career, a 62-yard bomb to Colin Larmond Jr., early in the fourth quarter for Boston College’s first score. He added a fourth-and-goal touchdown toss to tight end Lars Anderson from the 1-yard line with 33 seconds left for the final margin.
Perhaps it was a shift of the depth chart for Spaziani or maybe he just wanted to get the freshman’s feet wet. Either way, Marscovetra was the only decent spot for the Eagles on a difficult day.
Marscovetra finished the day 10-of-16 for 114 yards and the two touchdowns.
RYAN QUIGLEY MAY HAVE A CASE OF THE YIPS
BC punter Ryan Quigley was busy. He had nine punts that totaled 350 yards, for a 38.9-yard average. But it seems that Quigley has lost his early season magic. He had a stretch when he was able to consistently put balls within the 20-yard line and set opponents back against the wall. He was not able to put ball inside the 20 at all against Virginia Tech, nor did he register a touchback.
Quigley’s kickoff to open the game was a squiggley liner that ended up out of bounds for a penalty. On a couple of his punts he shanked the ball off the side of his foot for low yardage. After his great start to the season, Quigley has come back down to Earth in the last couple of games, with his shank-off-the-side problem causing headaches for the BC defense in the last three games.
|10.10.09 at 2:48 pm ET|
Some good news in the fourth quarter. True freshman quarterback Mike Marscovetra has thrown his first ever touchdown as a member of the Boston College Eagles. Marscovetra tried to go deep on the right sideline twice, the first time it landed incomplete as redshirt freshman Clyde Lee pulled up lame on the play and limped off the field. On the next play he tried again, tossing it up for Colin Larmond, Jr. who went over the top of Hokie cornerback Jayron Hosley to haul in the 48-yard touchdown.
It did not really matter much, except for Marscovetra maybe, because Virginia Tech’s first play from scrimmage on the next series Ju-Ju Clayton hit a wide open Marcus Davis for an 80-yard touchdown. It was Clayton’s first ever completion and scoring pass for the Hokies.
Virginia Tech has just punched in another touchdown after an Eagles turnover. David Wilson got the score for the Hokies.
With :33 seconds left in the game Marscovetra has thrown his second touchdown of the game to Lars Anderson to make it 48-14.
6:40 left fourth quarter: Virginia Tech 48 Boston College 7
|10.10.09 at 2:27 pm ET|
On the first drive in the third quarter Boston College did a couple of things it had not done all game. It got its first: first down, complete pass, run longer than four yards, first turnover, first punt return, first quarter to post a shutout.
Shinskie, after his 0-9 first half completed a four yard pass to Colin Larmond, Jr. The Horse, Montel Harris, though bridled all game, broke an 11-yard run for a first down (adding 15 yards on a face mask penalty at the end of the run).
Virginia Tech backup quarter back Ju-Ju Clayton also provided Boston College with its first turnover the game when was stripped by senior defensive tackle Nick Rossi who subsequently recovered the ball.
If you have seen the movie Zombieland (which you should) you would know that rule #32 of surviving in Zombieland is “Enjoy The Little Things.” Well, the Eagles are not doing much against the Hokies so here is to taking solace in the little achievements of the game.
Start of fourth quarter – Virginia Tech 34 Boston College 0
Uplifting Athletes Update – Virginia Tech has been selling cancer bracelets on campus to raise money for Mark Herzlich and Uplifting Athletes which provides treatment and research for cancer patients. Virginia Tech presented a check to Herzlich on the field in-between the first and second quarters in the amount of $9,400 in honor of Herzlich’s jersey number 94.
|10.10.09 at 1:37 pm ET|
This could not be going any worse for Boston College. At the half Virginia Tech leads the Eagles 34-0. Dave Shinskie was bench for a series and has been very far off target with all of this throws. The offensive line is having trouble keeping defensive linemen Jason Worilds and Nekos Brown off Shinskie’s back or making any type of room for Montel Harris.
Really though, the stats tell the story of Tech’s domination.
Time of possession:
Virginia Tech – 19:53
Boston College – 9:52
Total Yards (Rush/Pass)
Virginia Tech – 293 (167 rush, 126 pass)
Boston College – 2 (2 rush, 0 pass)
Virginia Tech – 12
Boston College – 0
3rd Down Conversion
Virginia Tech – 5/9
Boston College – 0/6
Virginia Tech – Tyrod Taylor 7/9, 126 yards, 2 touchdowns
Boston College – Dave Shinskie 0/9, 0 yards, 2 interceptions
Virginia Tech – Ryan Williams 15 for 138 yards, 1 touchdown
Boston College – Montel Harris 6 for 14 yards (Shinskie/Mike Marscovetra 2 for -21 yards)
Virginia Tech 2/7* Boston College 0/0
*Shinskie interception returned for 21-yard touchdown by Rashad McMichael in second quarter.
What does this tell you? Head coach Frank Spaziani’s boys are once again laying a goose egg on the road against a ACC Coastal opponent.
|10.10.09 at 12:54 pm ET|
True freshman Mike Marscovetra has started the second quarter at quarterback for Boston College. Starter Dave Shinskie took a big hit in the first quarter to his mid-section and could possibly have aggravated the ribs he broke during summer camp.
UPDATE – Shinskie is actually out on a coaches decision, as is most of the first string as head coach Frank Spaziani attempts to send a message to his offense. Marscovetra paid for it with a sack as he got clobbered by Jason Worilds and Nekos Brown.
UPDATE 2 – Shinskie is back in the game after the Eagles punted on the series with Marscovetra. On Virginia Tech’s first play from scrimmage after that Tyrod Taylor hit Jarrett Boykin for a 41 yard post strike and a touchdown.
|10.10.09 at 12:48 pm ET|
The game plan for Boston college is simple. Limit Virginia Tech redshirt freshman running back Ryan Williams and contain junior quarterback Tyrod Taylor in the pocket.
Well, so much for that.
On the first drive of the game Williams ran crazy with five attempts for 46 yards (9.2 average) with longs of 25 and 11 yards. The Eagles were able to hold the Hokies to a field goal when cornerback Isaac Johnson sacked Taylor on third down.
That was just a prelude. Boston College has been able to get to Taylor in the pocket, but with a quarterback that reminds many of another Virginia Tech alumni, Michael Vick, getting pressure may not always been the best course of action. When Taylor feels threatened he will pop out of the pocket, look down field and make a big throw.
Boston College thought they had him. On the first two plays of a series it stopped Williams for a two yard loss and then right strong-side linebacker Mike Morrissey sacked Taylor. With third-and-long Taylor dropped back. The pocket collapsed and it appeared that defensive end Brad Newman had Taylor for another sack. Taylor kicked up his foot, scrambled to the flat and threw a rope to the back of the end zone to Danny Coale for the score.
Virginia Tech is driving again and Williams has just snapped off a 31 yard run to the Boston College 2 yard line. A play later he punched it in for the touchdown.
Beginning of the second quarter Hokies 17 Eagles 0
|10.10.09 at 11:57 am ET|
On Wednesday, after freshman linebacker Luke Kuechly was done talking to the media, one reporter turned to another and whispered, “Clark Kent?”
The other reporter laughed and nodded.
Kuechly, the 18-year old dynamo, is an unassuming fellow off the football field. He is polite, grounded and, like Superman’s alter ego, wears black rimmed glasses and has short black hair.
“It looks like he is going to go to a science experiment or something,” senior middle linebacker and co-captain Mike McLaughlin said. ”If you saw him walk in and say ‘hey, that is Luke Kuechly, he leads the team in tackles and this and that’ he would saw, ‘come on, you’re kidding me right?’”
The first-year from St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati does indeed lead the Eagles in tackles through the first five games with 45 (18 more than the next guy on the list, senior strong safety Marcellus Bowman). He has provided the big stops when they have been needed, such when he burst through the line on second-and-goal last Saturday to crush Florida State running back Lonnie Pryor before anybody else on the field knew what was happening. The Eagles were able to hold the Seminoles on the goal line stand, which proved to be the pivotal series in the game.
It looked pretty simple for Kuechly. He saw the ball, he went to the ball, he made the tackle.
|10.07.09 at 4:29 pm ET|
CHESTNUT HILL — The road to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship has been a one-way street of late. Like Gettysburg in the Civil War or Bastogne in World War II, all roads lead to the same point.
That point is Blacksburg, Va., home of the Virginia Tech Hokies.
“In the team meeting every Tuesday, coach [Frank] Spaziani made a very big point: ‘Anything that has to do with going to the ACC championship game goes through Blacksburg — goes through Virginia Tech,’ ” senior middle linebacker Mike McLaughlin said.
No team knows that better than Boston College. The Hokies and Eagles have met in the last two ACC championship games, with Tech taking home the trophy (and the automatic Bowl Championship Series bid) each time, by an average score of 30-14. As interdivision road rivals they are scheduled to play every year, alternating home and away. In those regular-season contests BC has won the last two, including the thrilling Thursday night special in 2007 when Matt Ryan threw a touchdown with 11 seconds left for the 14-10 Eagles win. But the trend of winning in the regular season and losing in the championship is one that Boston College would like to change.
“We respect that team. We win in the regular season and they continue to win the championship game. We have to switch that up or something, or just win both. But, obviously, it is frustrating,” senior center Matt Tennant said.
|10.04.09 at 1:26 am ET|
CHESTNUT HILL – Most teams would have been happy holding the opposition to a field goal when the opposition has four shots at getting the ball in the end zone from the 1-yard line.
But maybe that’s what makes these 4-1 Boston College Eagles special.
Florida State, following an offsides call on BC, had the ball first and goal at the Eagles’ 1. A touchdown would have put the Seminoles up in a game that had plenty of momentum swings in the first half.
So the Seminoles turned to their lead tailback Ty Jones three straight times. And three straight times it was true freshman Luke Kuechly who came up big with tackles to hold Jones to no gain.
On fourth and goal, quarterback Christian Ponder decided to take matters into his own hands. He rolled out to the right and Alex Albright chased him down from the weak side and tackled him at the 11-yard line. Read the rest of this entry »