2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 4 - UMass at Boston College
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Sept. 24 at Boston College 45 … Massachusetts 17
CFN Analysis: At least for this week, the Eagle found a running game – at least a little bit. The 193 yards were solid, but the ground attack only averaged 3.9 yards per carry. UMass isn't a bad FCS team and it moved the ball a little bit after getting down early, but BC never let it get interesting with four takeaways and great ball control. The defense didn't give up a touchdown until the fourth quarter when the game was well out of reach, and the offense looked like it needed this easy tune-up. After losing to Duke, this should help before getting a hot Wake Forest.
(AP) BOSTON -- Chase Rettig threw for three touchdowns and Boston College's linebackers returned two fumbles for scores to lead the Eagles to their first win of the season, routing Massachusetts 45-17 on Saturday.
The Eagles (1-3) were off to their worst start since opening 1991 with four losses under then-coach Tom Coughlin.
Kevin Pierre-Louis returned a fumble 96 yards for a TD and Nick Clancy had one of 20.
Jesse Julmiste had a 100-yard kickoff return for a score for the Minutemen, and Jonathan Hernandez carried 22 times for 80 yards and a TD.
Massachusetts (2-1), a Football Championship Subdivision school, is making the first of a two-year jump into the Football Bowl Subdivision. The Minutemen will be part of the Mid-American conference in 2013.
It was the 24th meeting between the schools, dating back to the first in 1899. BC leads 19-5, winning its seventh straight.
Rettig completed 14 of 22 passes for 196 yards with the three TDs and no interceptions. Andre Williams carried 20 times for 95 yards and last season's Atlantic Coast Conference leading rusher Montel Harris returned from preseason left knee surgery and ran nine times for 27 yards.
Colin Larmond Jr. had two TD catches -- 36 and 37 yards -- and backup running back Tahj Kimball had a 3-yard run for a score.
The Eagles' Spenser Rositano picked off UMass quarterback Kellen Pagel on the first offensive play of the game, giving BC the ball at UMass' 47. Eleven plays later, Rettig hit tight end Lars Anderson with a 1-yard score to give BC a 7-0 lead.
After a short drive by the Minutemen, the Eagles took over on their own 45 and marched to the UMass' 8 before the stalling. Nate Freese booted a 26-yard field goal, making it 10-0.
Things weren't going very well early offensively for the Minutemen. Rettig had as many completions (6) as UMass had offensive plays late in the opening quarter.
BC took over in UMass territory early in the second quarter after a short punt gave them the ball at UMass' 44. Kimball ran in from the 3 five plays later, making it 17-0. Rettig hit Johnathan Coleman for a 24-yard strike on the prior play.
Julmiste took the ensuing kickoff a couple of steps in his own end zone, broke free up the left sideline for his score, making it 17-7. NCAA statistics only list returns of 100 yards despite Julmiste taking the ball back about 102.
But BC struck back on its next offensive series. Rettig hit a wide-open Larmond Jr. along the left sideline for a 36-yard score, capping a 54-yard drive that took seven plays and increased the lead to 24-7.
The Eagles, coming off a heartbreaking 20-19 loss at home to Duke last week when Freese hit the left upright with a potential game-winning field goal in the closing minute, dominated on the scoreboard, statistics and time of possession in the opening half. The Eagles doubled UMass in total yardage and held the ball nearly 21 minutes to just over nine for the Minutemen.
Brendon Levengood kicked a 38-yard field goal, cutting BC's lead to 24-10 late in the third quarter.
Larmond Jr.'s second TD of the game -- a leaping 37-yarder in the left side of the end zone -- made it 31-10. Clancy picked up Hernandez's fumble and ran in untouched for a score on the next series.
Pagel was hit near the goal line, Pierre-Louis caught the ball in the air and ran down the middle of the field.
Massachusetts (2-0) at Boston College (0-3) Sept. 24, 1:00, ESPN3.com
Here's The Deal … How low can you go, BC? Boston College continued its descent toward being one of 2011's most disappointing programs, falling to Duke at home, 20-19, to start a season 0-3 for the first time since 1991. The Eagles are also in grave danger of missing the postseason for the first time in over a decade, barely exhibiting a pulse during the month of September. On a positive note, the recent addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC means BC will be reuniting with a pair of former rivals from its Big East days.
For Massachusetts, a trip to Chestnut Hill is always a big deal, but especially this fall. The Minutemen, which have opened with consecutive wins over Holy Cross and Rhode Island, are beginning their final year in the FCS, and are set to join the MAC in 2012. Besides the obvious local bragging rights, a win over Boston College would go a long way toward validating the program's impending step up in weight class.
Why Massachusetts Might Win: Beyond just being confident following their 2-0 start, the Minutemen will also be facing a Boston College squad that is in utter disarray. Not only have the Eagles lost all three games against unranked opponents, but they're last in the ACC in total offense and total defense. Massachusetts is a legitimate threat in this game. It's excelling on the ground, both offensively and defensively. The Minutemen rank No. 7 in the FCS in rushing, while RB Jonathan Hernandez is setting the tone on offense. The senior workhorse has rushed for 318 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 61 carries.
Why Boston College Might Win: Just about nothing has gone right for the Eagles in September. Nothing. However, a visit from an FCS school could be just what the program needs to stop the hemorrhaging for now. Boston College will get back to basics this weekend, using its advantage in size along the lines to out muscle the smaller Minutemen. It'll run right at Massachusetts with powerful back Andre Williams and Montel Harris if he's finally cleared to play. The defense is poised to release three weeks' worth of frustration on Saturday afternoon. With LB Luke Kuechly, the nation's leading tackler, spying Hernandez's every move, the Minutemen will finish the day with more punts than first downs.
What To Watch Out For: If the Eagles had a better option behind center, he'd probably be in the huddle right now. They don't, which is why Chase Rettig still has a job. The sophomore has been a microcosm for Boston College's woes, throwing just one touchdown pass and three interceptions. Although the receivers have been a factor in the passing game's hiccups, Rettig has done his part by misfiring repeatedly and making poor decisions. He's one of the linchpin Eagles who has to produce more consistently if BC has any hope of stabilizing before the midway point of the year.
What Will Happen: A visit from Massachusetts couldn't come at a better time for Boston College. While nothing is a given these days on the Heights, the Eagles should be able to use their edge in physicality to shove the Minutemen around the field. The ground game will produce for a change, putting up 175 yards and a couple of touchdowns. The defense will be stout, conjuring up memories of last year's unit.
CFN Prediction: Boston College 28 … Massachusetts 10
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No Line O/U: NL
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