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ACC Week 15 Expanded Preview Blog

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 4, 2008


The big storylines and overviews for all the ACC games.

ACC Storylines Blog

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Big East By J.P. Girouard; Big 10 By Tony Castricone; Big 12 By Sean Martin; Conference USA By Greg Vacek; Independents By Adam Nettina; MAC By Adam Nettina; Mountain West By Jim Riffel; Pac 10 By Dan Greenspan; SEC By Gabe Harris and Barrett Sallee; Sun Belt By John Martello; WAC By Jon Tavares

Boston College (9-3) at Virginia Tech (8-4) 1 pm
--Boston College was hardly expected to be here a year after losing Matt Ryan and a slew of key players from last year’s team that lost to Virginia Tech in the ACC title game. The defense got even better, the offense has done just enough to get by, and the Eagles managed to survive the Atlantic Division with a 27-17 win over Florida State proving to be the tie-breaking difference. Coming in on a four-game winning streak, the team that was predicted by some to finish fifth in the division was able to get by Maryland last week with yet another strong defensive effort, a better one than the 28-21 final score might indicate. The Eagles already beat the Hokies earlier in the year 28-23 in Chestnut Hill as the D allowed just 240 yards of total offense, but the offense gave up two interception returns for scores.
--Roughly three weeks ago no one thought Virginia Tech would have a shot a defending its ACC title. With quarterback injuries, no offense, and coming off a 16-14 loss to Miami, as part of a streak of three losses in four games, everything seemed bleak. But wins over Duke and Virginia kept the Hokies alive, while Miami and North Carolina collapsed. Thanks to a 20-17 win over Georgia Tech in the ACC opener, the Hokies won the Coastal title to get their rematch against the Eagles. This might have been one of Frank Beamer’s greatest coaching jobs, getting his team to the title game with little to no offense whatsoever, one of the nation’s worst passing games, and spotty special teams, at least by Virginia Tech’s standards. However, the defense has stepped up to take over the season, allowing just 46 points over the last four games.
Boston College: The Eagles get back two key players just in time for the biggest game of the year. The team’s second leading rusher, Josh Haden, hurt his shoulder against Maryland and was knocked out, but he’ll be ready to go this week. DT Ron Brace is one of the stalwarts up front, but he suffered a foot injury last week and was considered questionable for this week. He’ll play.
Virginia Tech: So which quarterback will play well this week? After getting benched against Duke, Tyrod Taylor came back to completed 12-of-18 passes for 137 yards and touchdown, and he ran for 137 yards, in the win over Virginia. Sean Glennon struggled when he got his chance, completing just 3-of-9 passes for 39 yards with an interception. Last year, Glennon got the nod when the team needed a steady, experienced hand, but this year, the coaching staff has been more willing to give Taylor the nod in key moments to get some semblance of offensive explosion on the field.
Boston College has to … not screw up. The Eagles would’ve blown the Hokies away on October 18th if it wasn’t for the turnovers. With little offensive production of its own, BC can’t afford to be on the negative side of the turnover margin and it can’t have a slew of penalties. Virginia Tech’s offense isn’t going to suddenly explode on the tremendous BC D, so if the Eagles can win the field position battle and let the defensive front control the game, they should pull off the win.
Virginia Tech has to … get Darren Evans going right away. The Tech offensive line can’t pass block, but they’ve been able to lather up and go on dominant streaks to get the running game going. Job one for BC will be to keep Taylor from getting loose, meaning there will be several chances for Evans to make an impact. He was held to 27 yards on 17 carries by BC in the first meeting, by far his worst performance of the year, but when he’s allowed to be a workhorse, like he was against Maryland, he’s usually able to produce. If he’s not working, then Tech will likely have to turn to Glennon and the passing game to get things moving. Against this BC D, the Hokies don’t want that.
Keep an eye on … Boston College LB Mark Herzlich. The junior has been all over the place for the Eagle defense all season long, cleaning thing up that the great defensive tackles haven’t gotten to first. He leads the team with 98 tackles and six interceptions, with one of his best games of the year coming in the win over the Hokies the first time around with 13 tackles. With three interceptions in his last two games, he’s been coming up with more and more big plays, and this week, it’ll be his job to keep an eye on Taylor to not let him get to the outside.
The number to know: 199.5 – That’s the combined number of rushing yards the two teams allow per game. Virginia Tech is second in the ACC, and 19th in the nation, allowing 112.17 rushing yards per game, while BC is first in the ACC and seven in the country giving up 87.33 yards per game.
And the winner is … Boston College 23 … Virginia Tech 16