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Tyler Murphy in his first game with Eagles shows he’s already a leader 08.30.14 at 7:57 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Quarterback Tyler Murphy made a triumphant debut for Boston College Saturday, completing 17-of-24 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown while rushing 13 times for 118 yards and a touchdown to lead Boston College to a 30-7 win over the University of Massachusetts at Gillette Stadium.

“I wanted to come out and take care of the football,” Murphy said afterward. “I realized it wasn’t going to be one of those days. I take what they give us. So I started to take a little shorter routes.”

With UMass dropping eight men back in coverage and taking away the long ball, Murphy began to use his speed to gain the corners and break big runs. Once he started to soften the Minutemen defense at the line and they came closer to the line of scrimmage, Murphy eventually took advantage, firing a 43-yard touchdown to Josh Bordner down the right sideline in the fourth quarter to break the game open.

“I thought I played all right,” Murphy said. “There’s still a lot of room to approve and ways to get better.”

His head coach was a little more exuberant.

“I was extremely proud and excited about Tyler today,” Steve Addazio said. “He managed the game like a veteran big time player.”

The most striking aspect of his debut Saturday is that he came in as a graduate student transfer from the University of Florida, where he played in nine games last season, starting six and completing 60.5 percent of his passes before injury ended it. The Florida Gators struggled to a disastrous 4-8 season but between the on-field struggles and his injury, he learned how to persevere. Now, those qualities are helping him lead a brand new football team.

“You have to find a way to motivate guys, push guys and get them to buy into the program,” Murphy said. “Letting them feel my presence, letting them know I’m there.”

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BC overpowers UMass in season opener at Gillette Stadium 08.30.14 at 5:58 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Tyler Murphy and Boston College were just too much for UMass.

The Battle for the Bay State turned into a ground war and the Minutemen were no match for the Eagles as BC outgained UMass, 338-55 on the ground, and 511-202 overall, as Boston College eased its way to a 30-7 win Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.

“Thought our team played a strong, hard, pretty clean game with a couple early penalties cost us in the red zone,” coach Steve Addazio said. “All and all, pleased with opening day, now put that with what it is- it’s opening day, we got a lot of work to do.

“I thought UMass, I thought [new head coach] Mark Whipple and his staff did a great job. You can see the improvement of their football team and that was evident to me. I think they have good things to come.”

In its first game without All-American running back and 2013 Heisman finalist Andre Williams, the Eagles and coach Steve Addazio seemed intent on proving they could still run the ball at will, led by their athletic option quarterback Tyler Murphy, a graduate student transfer from the University of Florida.

Murphy finished with 118 yards rushing on 13 carries, including a 1-yard bootleg keeper for a touchdown in the third quarter. Murphy finished 17-of-24 passing for 173 yards in his first game with the Eagles. He had a touchdown and an interception.

Sophomore tailback Tyler Rouse chipped in with 87 yards on 19 carries as the Eagles won 25th meeting between the two schools but the first since UMass moved up to Football Bowl Subdivision. BC has now won 20 of the 25 encounters between the two in-state rivals.

“We are trying to get better,” Addazio said. “Each week improve. The biggest growth in the football team is in the first few weeks. We took a positive step but we have to continue to grow.

“We are a real strong, physical, kind of move the ball down the field team, but I would like to see if we can create big-yardage explosives.”

Early on, it was a defensive struggle, with Boston College settling for a 44-yard field goal from Alex Howell just 39 seconds into the second quarter. Joey Launceford added a 28-yard field goal with 5:29 left before the half to put Boston College up, 6-0.

UMass had a golden opportunity to take the lead late in the second quarter when Murphy, making his first start as a graduate student transfer from the University of Florida, was intercepted by Randall Jette. The UMass defensive back returned the ball 20 yards to the Boston College 19.

But UMass self-destructed and went backwards from there. Quarterback Blake Frohnapfel took an intentional grounding on first down and threw an incomplete pass on second down. After a four-yard gain on third down, UMass was forced to settle for a 47-yard field goal from Blake Lucas that was wide right.

Murphy marched BC down the field just before half time and gave the Eagles a chance at more points but a 44-yard field goal attempt by Alex Howell was wide right and BC settled for a 6-0 halftime lead despite outgaining UMass, 276-84, including 211-22 on the ground. BC ran 45 plays in the first half to just 24 for UMass.

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Olivier Hanlan passes up NBA draft, will return to Boston College for junior year 04.16.14 at 6:23 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — While new coach Jim Christian is looking to rebuild the basketball program, he is getting a big piece back from the Steve Donahue era.

Sophomore Olivier Hanlan announced Tuesday that he will forego the NBA draft this spring and return to Boston College for his junior year.

Hanlan, the 6-foot-4 swingman, broke onto the scene with a sensational freshman season and set an ACC tournament freshman record for scoring with 41 points against Georgia Tech on March 14, 2013. The Eagles won 84-64. Hanlan went on to win ACC Rookie of the Year.

This past season, Hanlan ranked third in the ACC in scoring (18.5), fourth in minutes (36.2), sixth in free throw percentage (.811) and seventh in field goal percentage (.447). During conference play, he ranked second in scoring (18.4) and fourth in field goal percentage (.460).

The Aylmer, Quebec, product became the third player in Boston College history and the 29th player in ACC history to reach 1,000 points as a sophomore (1,100). Troy Bell and Craig Smith were the other Eagles to accomplish that feat and they are first and second on the BC career scoring list, respectively.

Hanlan was an All-ACC third-team selection this year after being named the conference Rookie of the Year in 2013.

Read More: ACC, Boston College, Craig Smith, Jim Christian
Jim Christian hires recruiting wiz Scott Spinelli to help rebuild Boston College hoops 04.14.14 at 5:42 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL ‘€“ The first major move of the Jim Christian era is complete.

The new head coach of the men’s basketball program at Boston College announced Monday that he has hired recruiting specialist Scott Spinelli away from the University of Maryland. The news first broke minutes after Christian’s introductory news conference last Tuesday at Boston College. Christian said one of the keys of getting Boston College back on the map in the Atlantic Coast Conference would be “recruiting the right kids” and “recruiting the players who really want to be at Boston College.” Spinelli will lead that effort.

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman was the first to report the hiring of the man who spent the last three seasons on Mark Turgeon‘€™s staff at Maryland. He has coached with Turgeon for the last eight years at Wichita State, Texas A&M and in College Park.

‘€œWe are excited to have Scott join our basketball staff here at Boston College,’€ Christian said in a school news release. ‘€œHe is an outstanding young coach, a proven recruiter and he has developed strong relationships in the New England area. Scott has had success everywhere he’€™s coached and he has a few important qualities I was looking for: the ability to recruit and coach at a high level, and to develop the student-athletes in our program.’€

It’s a coming home of sorts for Spinelli, who is a native of Leominster, Mass. and a graduate of Boston University. Spinelli was the key recruiter that helped lead Texas A&M and Maryland to four NCAA Tournaments and one NIT appearance. In his four seasons at Texas A&M, the Aggies had the best four-year win total in program history.

Spinelli has helped the Terrapins bring in consecutive top-25 recruiting classes. Five of his players are currently playing in the NBA in Gal Mekel (Dallas), Donald Sloan (Indiana), Khris Middleton (Milwaukee), DeAndre Jordan (LA Clippers) and Alex Len (Phoenix.)

Spinelli first joined Turgeon’€™s staff as an associate head coach at Wichita State in 2006-07. He has served as an associate head coach since the 2005-06 season at Nebraska. He was an assistant coach for two years with the Cornhuskers prior to his promotion. Spinelli was also the associate head coach at Maryland (2011-14) and Texas A&M (2007-11).

Spinelli has also spent time with Loyola-Chicago (2001-03), Philadelphia 76ers (2000-01), Cincinnati Stuff of the IBL (1999-2000), American (1997-99) and Wyoming (1996-97). His first coaching jobs were as head coach at Milford (NY) Academy (1990-93) and the Winchendon School (1993-96).

Read More: Boston College, Jim Christian, Mark Turgeon, Maryland
Johnny Gaudreau wins Hobey Baker, signs with Calgary Flames, leaves BC after three seasons 04.11.14 at 7:37 pm ET
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After dominating his sport in his junior season at Boston College, Johnny Gaudreau won the hockey equivalent to the Heisman Trophy Friday as he was awarded the Hobey Baker award as the most outstanding player in college hockey. He joins Mike Motteau (2000) and David Emma (1991) as previous winners in school history.

With three winners, Boston College matches Harvard for the third-most in the history of the award, which began in 1981. Minnesota, which will play for the national title on Saturday night in Philadelphia, has four winners. Minnesota-Duluth has had five winners in the 34-year history of the honor.

Friday was a big day for Gaudreau, known simply as “Johnny Hockey” on the Chestnut Hill campus. After accepting the award, he agreed to sign on with the Calgary Flames, who had his draft rights dating back to 2011, when he was selected 104th overall in the fourth round of the NHL Entry Draft. Listed at 5’6′€, Gaudreau was one of the shortest players taken at the 2011 draft.

After attending the Flames training camp, Gaudreau started his career with Boston College. He originally signed a letter of intent to play with Hockey East rival Northeastern University but opted for Boston College when Northeastern Hockey coach Greg Cronin resigned in June 2011, to take a position with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

As a freshman, Gaudreau scored 21 goals and 23 assists in 44 games, leading all freshmen in scoring. Gaudreau played a key part in Boston College’s win in team’s National Championship, scoring a highlight reel goal late in the third period in their 4′€“1 win in the final over Ferris State. Gaudreau was awarded the Bill Flynn Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the Hockey East Championship tournament. Gaudreau also helped BC win the traditional Beanpot Tournament for the third year in a row and was named “Beanpot MVP” after the tournament.

Instead of leaving after his sophomore season last spring, Gaudreau stayed and Boston College. “Johnny Hockey” would post one of the most memorable hockey seasons in his school’s history.

He tied Paul Kariya‘s record for the Hockey East single season scoring streak at 31 games recording 29 goals and 61 points during this spree. He was named the Hockey East Player of the Year for the second straight season, as well as earning the league’s scoring title with 36 points in 20 games, and was named a unanimous First-Team All-Star. On March 20, he was also named a Hobey Baker top 10 finalist and a top 3 “Hobey Hat Trick” finalist for the second straight year on April 2.

His season came to a stunning end Thursday when BC lost to the Union Dutchmen in the Frozen Four, he finished the season with 36 goals and 44 assists for 80 points in 40 games played.

Gaudreau said after his sophomore season that one of the main reasons he stayed was to play with his younger brother Matt, who joined the team in the fall.

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Read More: Boston College, Calgary Flames, David Emma, Frozen Four
Jim Christian makes his passionate case – and plan – to make Boston College hoops relevant again 04.08.14 at 9:18 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — Jim Christian was officially introduced by athletic director Brad Bates Tuesday as the new head coach of the men’s basketball program at Boston College. Christian, who replaces the fired Steve Donahue, says he plans on boosting the image of Boston College through selective recruiting and has already reportedly attracted a prominent scouting coach from the University of Maryland. Meanwhile, Christian said he had reached out to star player Ryan Anderson, who has informed the school he will be transferring to another school after getting his injured shoulder treated.

In introducing Christian, Bates explained his reasoning for selecting the 49-year-old who has previously coached at Kent State, TCU and, most recently, Ohio University. Bates, the former athletic director at Miami of Ohio, indicated he was familiar with Bates from his time at Kent State, where he led the Golden Flashes to six consecutive seasons of twenty or more wins, four MAC East division titles, two overall MAC titles, and two conference tournament championships. His teams also had five post-season appearances, three in the NIT and two in the NCAA Tournament. His record at Kent State was 137′€“59. He moved onto Texas Christian in 2008 before a two-year stint at Ohio University.

“Exciting day in Boston College basketball,” Bates said. “There are a lot of characteristics you look at when you are selecting the next leader of your basketball program.

“There are some core elements at Boston College that go without question, they’re fundamental. Integrity, competitiveness, ability to coach and recruit. But beyond that, Jim Christian brings really four elements that makes me really excited to have him leading our program. 

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Read More: Boston College, Brad Bates, Jim Christian, Kent State
Thatcher Demko has ‘unspeakable amount of excitement’ for Frozen Four in Philadelphia 04.08.14 at 7:09 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — Boston College standout freshman goalie Thatcher Demko is looking forward to heading to Philadelphia and taking on Union College in the NCAA Frozen Four national semifinal on Thursday at Wells Fargo Center.

“Unspeakable amount of excitement I think,” Demko said before hopping on a bus that would take the team to the airport and a flight for Philadelphia. “Everyone is just really excited to get out there. Looking forward to it.”

The Eagles, the No. 2 seed in the 16-team field, will play No. 3 seed Union College on Thursday night. The winner of that game will take on the winner of the No. 1 seed Minnesota and North Dakota in the national championship Saturday night in Philadelphia.

Boston College players and coaches, led by NCAA wins leader Jerry York, left campus Tuesday afternoon for the trip to Philadelphia and to begin preparations at Wells Fargo Center. One player who will be especially looking forward to the trip is Hobey Baker favorite Johnny Gaudreau, a junior and native of nearby Carneys Point, New Jersey.

“I know it’s his hometown so he’s going to owe some guys [dinner],” Demko said.

Even new men’s basketball coach got in on the act Tuesday during his introductory news conference, “Give my all of my best to Coach York and the BC hockey team as they set out to hang another banner in Conte Forum and win the national championship. You don’t have to be here long to know who ‘Johnny Hockey’ is and his quest to win the Hobey Baker Award.”

Demko is 16-4-3 in 23 games with BC this season with a 2.16 goals-against average, two shutouts and a .920 save percentage. The NHL Central Scouting Bureau has him ranked as the top draft-eligible goalie in this year’s NHL draft.

He is the likely starter Thursday against Union after making 18 saves in a 6-2 victory against Denver in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 29 and 29 saves in a 4-3 victory against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in the quarterfinal round on March 30. Demko is a freshman who is trying to lead the Eagles to their sixth national title and fourth in seven years. The Eagles have won the NCAA championship in each of the even-numbered years since 2008.

Demko said Tuesday he’ll be relying on juniors like Gaudreau and senior Kevin Hayes and Patrick Brown to show the underclassmen how it’s done on the big stage.

“Absolutely. We have a lot of guys that have been through it,” Demko said. “Juniors and seniors have both won a national championship so that experience is huge for us. Their experience is coming down to the lower class guys and helping us out and getting us ready for it.”

Read More: Boston College, Frozen Four, Johnny Gaudreau, Johnny Hockey
Shabazz Napier, UConn stun No. 1 Florida, get Kentucky in title game Monday night 04.05.14 at 9:07 pm ET
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The pride of Boston’s Mission Hill has led his team to the ultimate game of the college basketball season.

Shabazz Napier had six assists and four steals while DeAndre Daniels scored a team-high 20 points to lead UConn to a 63-53 win over top-ranked Florida on Saturday night in the first of two national semifinal games at the Final Four at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The Huskies will try for their fourth NCAA championship Monday night against another team that has found late-season rhythm, the Kentucky Wildcats, a 74-73 winner over Wisconsin in the other national semifinal Saturday night. Aaron Harrison’s 3-pointer in the closing seconds was the difference for John Calipari‘s team.

Napier, a Boston product who was recruited by Jim Calhoun, leads a team that is advancing to the national title game Monday night against the winner of the Kentucky-Wisconsin national semifinal.

The win provided a bitter bookend for the Gators, whose last lost was on Dec. 2 to the Huskies. Since then, the Gators won a school-record 30 straight games.

The Gators raced out to a 16-4 lead and contained Napier for most of the first half. But the Huskies used an 11-0 run to help wipe out the deficit. A 21-6 run to end the first half gave them a 25-22 lead at the break. The Huskies never relinquished the lead in the second half, en route to their 31st win of the season. Napier and Ryan Boatright combined for 25 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

The Huskies are advancing to their fourth national title game since winning their first national championship in 1999. They are 3-0 in their previous three trips to the Monday night game. UConn was beaten by Michigan State in the national semifinal in 2009.

The improbable run for the No. 7 seed in the East began with an overtime win over Saint Joseph’s in the second round. UConn then stunned No. 2 Villanova before dispatching Iowa State and then Michigan State in the East Regional final at Madison Square Garden last weekend.

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Steve Addazio on Andre Williams as a Heisman candidate: ‘Why not Andre?’ 11.16.13 at 5:19 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — After Saturday’s 339-yard rushing effort in a 38-21 win over North Carolina State, Boston College head coach Steve Addazio feels Andre Williams has certainly earned a December trip to New York City as a Heisman Trophy finalist.

“Absolutely, I think that any time you have a dominant football player that is all about the right things and stands for what is right in college football, then that is what that award represents,” Addazio said. “There are some tremendously worthy players out there but why not Andre?”

One week after rushing for 295 yards and setting a Boston College single-game record, Williams topped the 300-yard plateau, rushing for 339 yards on 42 carries. The 42 carries ties his own single-game school record.

The 339 yards passed John Leach of Wake Forest for the ACC single-game record. Williams also set the single-season rushing mark with two games remaining. He has 1,810 yards in 10 games for an astounding 181 yards per game average.

“That’s for other people to decide, added BC quarterback Chase Rettig. “We know he’s our Heisman.”

Read More: Andre Williams, Boston College, John Leach, Mike Cloud
Andre Williams runs wild (339 yards) as BC thumps NC State for bowl eligibility 11.16.13 at 4:06 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — Senior Andre Williams set a single-game school and ACC record with 339 yards rushing on 42 carries and set the new single-season school record for rushing as the Boston College Eagles beat North Carolina State, 38-21, Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium.

The Eagles raced out to a 10-0 lead and led, 17-7, at the half.

The Eagles scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to put the game away and help BC improve to a 6-4 record (3-3, ACC) and clinch bowl eligibility in coach Steve Addazio‘s first season with the Eagles.

Senior kicker Nate Freese also had a record setting day, setting the new school scoring record when he converted the extra point on Boston College’s first touchdown of the day, a Williams 17-yard run in the first quarter.

Read More: Andre Williams, Boston College, nate freese, NCAA
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