The games are lined up in succession. Three weeks, three challenges, three chances to prove that Boston College is ACC title game worthy.
At Florida State. At Wake Forest. Home against Maryland. Win all three games and the Eagles will be in Tampa for the ACC title game in December. Win a combination of the three and the Eagles will most likely be bowling some place other than the bowl game in Washington on Dec. 20th. Eagle athletic director Gene DeFilippo has ruled that game out because of a conflict with the Eagles exam schedule during the period prior to the game.
Can the Eagles do it?
"That was a great game,';' said BC defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani, who is already trying to prepare some exotic formula to slow down Florida State, which is starting to look more and more like the old dominant FSU team. "They just went out and played. (Linebacker Mark) Herzlich, (safety Paul) Anderson, all of them. They just got it.''
What the Eagles "got'' was a near perfect execution of Spaziani's defensive game plan in a 17-0 win over Notre Dame which wasn't as close as the final score might suggest. The Eagles held Notre Dame to 292 total yards in offense and intercepted Irish QB Jimmy Clausen four times. They contained the ND running game to 66 rushing yards, with the longest run of 12 yards. Clausen's longest pass completion was for 32 yards. Eight of Notre Dame's 14 offensive series were four plays or less with their longest drive lasting 3:17.
At crunch time in the fourth quarter when the Irish were trying to put some offensive spurt together and the Eagles, with a 17-0 lead, were more in a prevent defense mode, the Irish had two of their three drives end with turnovers.
Not surprisingly, BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski was pleased with the outcome and the defensive effort. Offensively, which includes the kicking game, is an area which Jagodzinski knows must be improved sooner rather than later, although QB Chris Crane had a solid night of "managing the game''. and freshman running back Montel Harris, who picked up 120 yards on 23 carries, proved once again that he is star in the making.
As Jagodzinski said earlier in the season, when Harris first emerged as a "go to'' running back in a system which began with the planned rotation of freshman Josh Haden, junior Jeff Smith and Harris, "We may have something (in Harris).''
But the Eagles know they must now upgrade their performance level. As Spaziani joked after the game when talking about preparing for the Seminoles.. "Against Notre Dame I tried to find a way to stop one rabbit (Clausen), with Florida State, their are a whole bunch of rabbits.''
In his weekly conference call this afternoon, Jagodzinski said the Eagles are ready for their final regular season push, starting next week in Tallahassee. "It's going to be a tall order,'' said Jagodzinski. "It's the same speed (which they saw against North Carolina and Clemson). They are very fast, with a lot of team speed.''
Jagodzinski announced that fullback James McCluskey suffered a broken leg against Notre Dame and is done for the season. "We're going to find another guy to take his place,'' said Jagodzinski. "I don't know who that is yet, but we will find someone.'' With Steve Aponavicius missing two of three field goal attempt, Jagodzinski said that the job of field goal kicker is open for competition, presumably between Aponavicius and freshman punter Ryan Quigley, who also handled the kick off chores. Jagodzinski had praise for the defense and Herzlich in particular. "He's stringing a bunch of them together,'' said Jagodzinski. "When you see the same number over and over again, the guy is doing something right.''
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell