Eagles poised for late takeoff

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / November 10, 2008
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Three weeks, three challenges, three chances for the Boston College football team to prove it is Atlantic Coast Conference title game worthy.

At Florida State Saturday night. At Wake Forest. Home against Maryland. Win all three and the Eagles will be in Tampa for the conference championship game Dec. 6 and undoubtedly on their way to a nice bowl game.

Any other combination and it'll be a lesser bowl.

Can the Eagles do it? They certainly played well in a 17-0 win over Notre Dame Saturday night at Alumni Stadium.

"That was a great game," said Eagles defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani, who already is preparing a plan to try to slow Florida State. "They just went out and played. [Linebacker Mark] Herzlich, [safety Paul] Anderson, all of them. They just got it."

What the Eagles "got" was Spaziani's plan to combat the Fighting Irish in a game that wasn't as close as the final score might suggest.

BC held Notre Dame to 292 total yards and intercepted quarterback Jimmy Clausen four times. The Eagles held the Irish to 66 rushing yards, with a long gain of 12. Clausen's longest completion was for 32 yards.

At crunch time in the fourth quarter, the Irish had two of their three drives end with turnovers.

Coach Jeff Jagodzinski was pleased with the defense, particularly Herzlich, and said quarterback Chris Crane did well managing the game. Freshman running back Montel Harris, who had 120 yards on 23 carries, proved again he is star in the making.

But the Eagles know they must upgrade their performance even more.

In his weekly conference call yesterday, Jagodzinski said the Eagles are ready for the final regular-season push.

"It's going to be a tall order," he said of facing the Seminoles. "It's the same speed [we saw against North Carolina and Clemson]. They are very fast."

The Eagles will be without fullback James McCluskey, who suffered a broken leg against Notre Dame and is done for the season.

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