Boston College season review

December, 15, 2008
12/15/08
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Overview: The Eagles lost 11 starters from their 2007 team and were picked to finish fourth in their division, but far exceeded those expectations behind a game-changing defense led by ACC Defensive Player of the Year Mark Herzlich. Despite breaking in a new starting quarterback and a freshman running back, Boston College made its second straight appearance in the ACC title game under coach Jeff Jagodzinski. The Eagles earned an FBS-best three shutouts this year, and massive offensive and defensive lines helped the Eagles win up front.

Offensive coordinator Steve Logan didn't ask too much of first-year quarterback Chris Crane, and put him in positions to succeed. When Crane broke his collarbone on Nov. 22 at Wake Forest, the Eagles turned to inexperienced backup Dominique Davis, a redshirt freshman who played well enough to get BC to the ACC title game, but struggled in the championship. BC led the nation in non-offensive touchdowns, and enters the Music City Bowl having scored a non-offensive touchdown in seven straight games, the longest streak in the nation. BC leads the nation in interceptions (26), with Herzlich and Paul Anderson accounting for six each.

Offensive MVP: Freshman running back Montel Harris. He played with a chip on his shoulder all season after not being heavily recruited and it showed. Harris had a freshman-record five 100-yard rushing performances and broke the freshman rushing record in the Eagles' win over Maryland. Harris has 832 yards on 164 carries.

Defensive MVP: Linebacker Mark Herzlich. He led the Eagles with 105 tackles (79 solo), and had 11 tackles for loss and three sacks. He seemed to be everywhere the ball was, and had six interceptions and seven pass break-ups. Herzlich also had two fumble returns in the ACC championship game.

Turning Point: A 17-0 win over Notre Dame on Nov. 8. The shutout came after back-to-back losses and started a four-game winning-streak that propelled the Eagles to their second straight ACC championship game appearance. BC had to beat three straight Atlantic Division opponents to get to Tampa, and it did.

What's next: BC owns the nation's longest bowl winning streak with eight straight and is looking to make it nine in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl on New Year's Eve. The Eagles (9-4) will face Vanderbilt (6-6) in what is likely to be another defensive struggle.

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