2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 3 - Duke at Boston College
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Sept. 17 Duke 20 … at Boston College 19
CFN Analysis: The passing game had problems over the first two weeks, and the running game was non-existent, but the offense was able to keep the pressure on the BC secondary all game long with Sean Renfree throwing 52 times for 359 yards and two scores with an interception. The running game, though, still didn’t do much with the offense all falling on Renfree. Even with all the success through the air, and even with all the positives, it still took a missed Eagle field goal to win. The Blue Devils will take the breaks when they can get them.
BC desperately missed Montel Harris. The running game can’t get going, and for a program that lives off of great offensive line play and controlling the ball, not being able to run is a killer. Even though Duke dominated the game and even though the BC secondary got blown away, there were still several chances to win the game. Nate Freese connected on field goals for 43 and 47 yards away, but he missed the game-winning chip shot off of one post, after missing an extra point late in the second by hitting the other post. Yes, the Eagles are 0-3, but they aren’t that far off from being 3-0. They just need some offensive punch.
(AP) BOSTON -- Sean Renfree tied a school record with 40 completions and scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard run with just under 10 minutes left to lead Duke to a 20-19 victory over Boston College in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams on Saturday.
BC had an excellent chance to win, but Nate Freese's 23-yard field-goal attempt hit the left upright and bounced back with 43 seconds left. Freese already had missed an extra point by hitting the right upright but made two long field goals.
Duke (1-2) won for just the second time in its last 11 conference openers. BC (0-3) is off to its worst start since 1991 when it finished 4-7 under Tom Coughlin.
Renfree threw 52 times for 359 yards and two touchdowns to Conner Vernon. He tied the Duke record of 40 completions set by Thaddeus Lewis in 2009 against North Carolina State.
Duke rallied from a 19-7 deficit late in the first half and went ahead with 9:57 to go. Renfree led the decisive 70-yard drive after the Blue Devils wasted two solid scoring opportunities in the second half -- an interception at the BC 3 and a missed 33-yard field goal attempt.
With a first down at the Eagles 4, Anthony Boone was held to no gain and Jamison Crowder gained 3 yards before Renfree just made it into the end zone on a play that was reviewed.
The game matched two of the worst run offenses in the ACC -- BC was ranked 12th and last, while Duke was 10th. And the Eagles, who led the nation in run defense last year, had allowed an average of 231 yards rushing in their first two games.
BC scored first on a 31-yard pass from Chase Rettig to Tahj Kimble, ending a 55-yard drive with 5:57 left in the first quarter. It began after Spenser Rositano blocked a punt by Alex King and Will Thompson recovered.
The Eagles made it 10-0 on a 43-yard field goal by Freese with 4:16 gone in the second quarter. Duke cut the lead to 10-7 on a 53-yard pass play from Renfree to Vernon, who caught the ball between two receivers and ran about 30 yards to the end zone. It was Renfree's first scoring pass of the season.
Freese's 47-yard field goal made it 13-7 with 4:03 left in the half. Andre Williams scored on a 7-yard run with 1:21 remaining, but Freese missed the extra point.
Duke then marched 63 yards in just 51 seconds to score on Renfree's 21-yard pass to Vernon and trailed 19-14 at halftime.
In his first two games, losses to Richmond and Stanford, Renfree completed 70 percent of his passes (42 for 60) but none for touchdowns.
BC struggled in the second half for the second straight game. It scored a field goal on its first series against Central Florida but lost 30-3.
Duke (0-2) at Boston College (0-2) Sept. 17, 12:30, ACC Network
Here’s The Deal … Although it’s only the third weekend of the season, Duke and Boston College might already be meeting to determine the 2011 occupant of the ACC cellar. Neither school has done much right so far or won a game. The Eagles are mired in a complete state of chaos. They’re 0-2 for the first time in 17 years, completely impotent on offense and banged up on D. As if the situation on the Heights couldn’t get any worse following a 30-3 loss to UCF, it was learned on Monday that offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers was taking a leave of absence for health reasons.
Duke’s winless start has been less dramatic, but more predictable. The perennial doormat wasn’t supposed to beat Stanford a week ago, but losing the opener to Richmond set the tone for the month. If the Blue Devils have any hope of reversing course, they better do it now because the second half schedule is going to be thorny.
Why Duke Might Win: With absolutely nothing going right at Boston College, the Blue Devils are hoping to seize an opportunity. They’ll be facing a banged-up Eagles secondary and an opposing front wall laboring to stop the run. While Duke may not generate much on the ground, it won’t stop QB Sean Renfree from peppering BC with a spate of well-timed throws. He’s due after going two straight games without a touchdown pass. The junior’s deep corps of pass-catchers, led by Conner Vernon, Donovan Varner and Cooper Helfet, is getting an additional boost from the emergence of true freshman WR Jamison Crowder.
Why Boston College Might Win: The Eagles could get a boost this week from the return of star RB Montel Harris, who has missed the team’s last four games with an injury. Even if he’s a scratch, Boston College is confident that RB Andre Williams can deliver against a mealy Blue Devils defense. The BC D, while on its heels this month, still has enough talent to clamp down on one-dimensional Duke. Linebackers Luke Kuechly and Kevin Pierre-Louis, in particular, can cover enough ground to limit the amount of damage being done by the Blue Devils.
What To Watch Out For: Boston College needs more production from QB Chase Rettig, or else there’ll be no hope for a recovery in 2011. Year 2 was supposed to be a stepping stone for the sophomore, but he’s yet to throw a touchdown pass. And the losses of Rogers and big-play WR Ifeanyi Momah for health issues have further hampered the quarterback’s development. While the return of Harris would help, the Eagles no longer have a defense stout enough to be so one-dimensional with the ball. A visit from Duke affords Rettig a chance to get back on track against a lower caliber of competition.
What Will Happen: This game is there for the taking—for either team. While the winner temporarily stops the bleeding, the loser will need to be checked for a pulse. Neither school will produce many big plays on offense, trading punts and field goal attempts. The worry for Duke is that its accomplished kicker, Will Snyderwine, is currently saddled with an ankle injury. Boston College will go old school on the Blue Devils, using a rugged running game and inspired defense to eke out a style-free victory.
CFN Prediction: Boston College 23 … Duke 13
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Boston College -7 O/U: 47
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