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A little Deuce coup

In his first start for BC, against Clemson Oct. 8, sophomore Rolandan “Deuce’’ Finch rushed for 81 yards on 19 carries, including this 20-yard touchdown in the first half. In his first start for BC, against Clemson Oct. 8, sophomore Rolandan “Deuce’’ Finch rushed for 81 yards on 19 carries, including this 20-yard touchdown in the first half. (Joe robbins/Getty Images)
By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / October 21, 2011

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His friends and family call him “Deuce,’’ since “Rolandan Finch’’ was also his father’s name and Barbara Finch wanted to give her son his own identity as quickly as she could.

“I guess when my mom found out I was a boy, she just called me Deuce,’’ said Finch, the Boston College running back who has moved up a notch to No. 1 - or 1A - on the depth chart for tomorrow’s game at 16th-ranked Virginia Tech.

The fact that Finch - or, as coach Frank Spaziani dubbed the 5-foot-10-inch, 209-pound sophomore, “Grande Uno’’ - is in that spot is one of the underlying success stories of what so far is a 1-5 season for BC.

When training camp began in August, Finch was one of the backs who didn’t figure to see much playing time behind Montel Harris, who has become BC’s all-time leading rusher, and Andre Williams, who was seen as the BC back of the future.

But another knee injury shut down Harris for the season, and Williams sprained his ankle before the game against Clemson two weeks ago, so Finch and sophomore Tahj Kimble suddenly found themselves cast in prime-time roles.

Although Clemson rolled to a 36-14 win over the Eagles, Finch and Kimble showed promise. Finch, in his first career start, picked up 81 yards on 19 carries, including a 20-yard sprint for a touchdown, while Kimble picked up 57 yards on 11 carries.

Kimble will miss the Virginia Tech game with a concussion, but Williams is healthy and ready, so he and Finch could make life a little easier for quarterback Chase Rettig.

At BC, Finch has shown flashes of the talent that made him an all-state running back at Kentucky’s St. Xavier High School, but he went into a holding pattern last year as he recovered from a pair of knee injuries.

“I was just having fun out there,’’ he said of his experience against Clemson. “Being out for a year was rough. I’m just thankful to be out there and do what I’m doing. It was fun.’’

He said his running style is simple.

“I try to run with power,’’ said Finch. “I try to make myself hard to bring down. My dad was also a running back [at Montana State and Indiana State]. He told me to try and run with some power and the rest will come.’’

If success is to come, the BC offensive line, which has been in flux all season because of injuries, must perform better.

“I think definitely they are improving, and with experience, people get better,’’ said Finch.

The linemen already have an appreciation for what Finch can do.

“Deuce runs really hard,’’ said tackle Emmett Cleary. “I love him. Everyone noticed him his freshman year and then he got hurt and kind of disappeared for a while.

“We all know what he is capable of. He’s very physical. He runs angry, which is something I like to say about running backs. He runs with an attitude. He finishes runs, which we appreciate as an offensive line.’’

So does Spaziani.

“Deuce is one of those guys who didn’t like his station and did something about it,’’ said Spaziani. “We like that. He’s always been a good back, but he had issues [i.e. injuries], like a lot of guys.’’

In a season in which few running backs are finishing what they started, Finch could be one of the keys for BC if it is to have any kind of revival in the next six games.

Mark Blaudschun can be reached at