Shinskie, BC offense lack zip in shutout
All Dave Shinskie had to offer was on display. There were some good passes, such as a gutsy first-down throw from the Boston College 1-yard line in the second quarter, which took the Eagles out of the shadow of their goal posts. There was a scramble at the end of the first half, which was stopped a half-yard short of being a tying touchdown.
But there were also turnovers — a fumble and an interception in the third quarter that led to Virginia Tech field goals.
And there was the ultimate failure for any quarterback, the inability to put points on the board.
All of that was evident at Alumni Stadium yesterday afternoon as Shinskie came up short time after time in a 19-0 loss to Virginia Tech. The game ended with Shinskie on the bench following an 11-for-25 outing in BC’s first shutout in 148 games, dating to Oct. 8, 1998 (a 17-0 loss to Virginia Tech).
Where it leaves Shinskie and the BC offense for next Saturday night’s game against Notre Dame will be the question of the week, as coach Frank Spaziani looks for a quick fix to a problem that has plagued the Eagles sporadically for the last two seasons.
“We will evaluate it as we see fit,’’ said Spaziani. “We have to win, we have to do what is best for the football team.’’
Whether Shinskie gives BC the best chance to win is now more of a question than ever, especially in games against quality teams such as Virginia Tech (2-2, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). A year ago against the Hokies, Shinskie was overwhelmed in a 48-14 loss in Blacksburg, completing only 1 of 12 passes for 4 yards. Shinskie thought it would be different this year, and at times in the first half it looked like it might be, much to the delight of the near-capacity crowd of 42,317.
Shinskie took the Eagles (2-1, 0-1) down the field in what looked like a sure-fire scoring march in the first quarter, reaching the Hokies’ 10. The drive, however, ended with a Shinskie interception into the end zone.
Near the end of the first half, Shinskie again brought BC down the field, with the Eagles trailing, 7-0. With 15 seconds left and the ball at the Tech 11 with no timeouts remaining, Shinskie looked for a passing lane. He saw none, and took off running. He got within a half-yard of the end zone before being tackled on the final play of the half.
“A drive means nothing if you don’t get any points on the board,’’ said Shinskie. “And that was our downfall today as an offense.’’
It may have been Shinskie’s downfall as a starting quarterback. Perhaps the most damning analysis came from Virginia Tech cornerback Jayron Hosley, who intercepted Shinskie in the end zone in the first quarter.
“He’s a good quarterback, but on film we saw that he folds under pressure,’’ said Hosley. “We wanted to put pressure on him, so when the time came for the DBs to make a play, we could. We were playing on edge, waiting for those big plays to come, and they did.’’
Shinskie was finally benched in the third quarter and replaced by fellow sophomore Mike Marscovetra, who fared no better.
When it was over, Shinskie was left to answer questions about whether he should continue in his role.
“I think I should still be the starting quarterback,’’ he said. “There’s a lot of stuff that goes into being a starting quarterback and I think I have that.’’
When asked when he would make a decision about the starter for the Notre Dame game, Spaziani said, “What if I have already?’’
The choice could be freshman Chase Rettig, who warmed up yesterday but did not come into the game.
Unlike on Sept. 11, when Rettig warmed up on his own in the second half of the Eagles’ 26-13 win over Kent State, prompting Spaziani to joke, “I don’t think a call came to the bullpen,’’ Spaziani acknowledged that he was ready to make the move yesterday.
“This time the call did come to the bullpen,’’ he said.
If that is the case, Rettig could indeed be BC’s quarterback of the present, as well as the future.