<
>

Finch gives Eagles' ground game a boost

11/9/2011

Boston College running back Rolandan Finch, known as “Deuce” to his friends and family, caught the ACC’s attention with 243 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s 28-17 win against Maryland. It was pretty hard to ignore, as it was the most rushing yardage by a running back in the ACC this season.

Not bad for a player who started the season No. 4 on the depth chart.

His quick ascension came at the expense of injured teammates Montel Harris and Andre Williams, and he has made the most of the opportunity. Finch has been a surprise highlight for a position filled with turnover this year, and his emergence has helped the Eagles generate a respectable running game in recent weeks. The Eagles will be challenged to sustain that success tonight against Florida State, though, as the Seminoles are No. 4 in the country in rushing defense. Finch has run for at least 86 yards in each of the past three games – some of the most consistency the position as seen all season.

In mid-August, Harris had arthoscopic surgery on his knee and missed the first three games of the season. Andre Williams and Tahj Kimble were listed as the top two running backs. Williams started the first four games, but injured his ankle in the second quarter against Wake Forest on Oct. 1. On Oct. 8 at Clemson, Finch, who missed all of last season with an injury, earned his first career start and became the third running back to start the position through the first six games of the season. BC coach Frank Spaziani said Finch’s success has only been part of the equation.

“No. 1, our offensive line has been getting better,” Spaziani said. “You know, I think I've been quite consistent in saying that we have been, you know, able to hold that group together now for the last -- going on four weeks now, they have practiced and they have been out there every day. So that in itself lends itself to more proficiency and certainly Deuce has gotten a better flow of having to run the ball and what we are expecting of him. That added to it, and then that was two major contributing factors to the performance.”

BC enters the Florida State game with the No. 73 rushing offense in the country at 146.5 yards per game – not much worth bragging about. In the past four games, though, the Eagles have improved to 184.25 rushing yards per game. Unfortunately for BC, FSU is holding its opponents to just 77 rushing yards per game.

“Well, it will be a different level of intensity over there,” Spaziani said. “And certainly, it will be quite challenging to say the least. They do have quite talented people over there in their front seven and in their back end, also. So it's going to be a big challenge but once again in order for us to win any game, we have to be successful running. Now that's the key word; what is successful? So we are going to have to get some yardage and keep them off balance a little bit.”

And keep Finch right where he left off against the Terps.