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Time running out on Eagles

BC facing must-win against Maryland

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / October 27, 2011

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It is simple in so many ways.

Basic, really.

Score more points than your opponent, and you will win.

Boston College has played seven football games this year. Lost six of them.

One more loss - perhaps against Maryland Saturday - and the Eagles’ season will end following their game at Miami Nov. 25.

No winning record.

No bowl game.

The Eagles’ attitude going into their meeting with the Terps (2-5, 1-3 ACC) is one of anticipation. This, in their minds, is a winnable game.

But when you break down what has gone wrong with BC this season, the focus generally falls on the offense. Seventeen points against Northwestern, 3 points against Central Florida, 19 points against Duke, 19 points against Wake Forest, 14 points against Clemson, 14 points against Virginia Tech.

“Our goal is usually to keep our opponents under 17,’’ said middle linebacker Luke Kuechly. “Usually, if we do that, we think we have a pretty good shot at winning the game.’’

But using that benchmark, BC still would have lost at least three games.

Six losses, and not more than two touchdowns in any of them. Even with a world-class defense, winning with that kind of offense would be very difficult - and BC is last in total defense and last in passing defense in the ACC. It is also last in the ACC in total offense.

The question that coach Frank Spaziani and his staff have spent most of their time on the past several weeks is how to fix these problems on the fly. Spring drills are over, training camp is over, the bye week is gone. The teaching aspect of coaching is on hold, for the most part.

Game weeks are for preparation and repetitive drills. But the mistakes still come.

“So many little things we’re doing wrong,’’ said wide receiver Bobby Swigert. “We have the talent, we just have to be able to put four quarters of football together.’’

But even when the Eagles do things correctly, it is not enough.

Take last week’s game at Virginia Tech. The defense opened the game with two three-and-out series. The offense, for only the second time this season, scored a touchdown on its opening drive. Yet, at the half, BC held only a 7-6 lead.

By the end of the third quarter, Virginia Tech was ahead, 20-7, and the outcome was basically settled.

The end result for BC has been a steady rise in the frustration index.

“The frustration has been building the last five or six weeks,’’ conceded Swigert, who did not catch a pass against Tech, ending a 19-game streak.

Winning obviously defuses it. The Eagles are past the point of taking positive style points from losing efforts.

Maryland coach Randy Edsall said he might use both Danny O’Brien and C.J. Brown at quarterback against the Eagles . . . One of the bright spots on the BC defensive line has been the development of freshman end Manny Asprilla, who had eight tackles and broke up a pass against Virginia Tech . . . BC and Maryland have split their last four meetings, all of them decided by 7 or fewer points.