Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Season wrap: Boston College
By ESPN.com staff
BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES
Record: 4-8, 3-5 ACC
Overview: Boston College wasn’t expected to win the ACC this season, but it also wasn’t expected to be home for the holidays. BC snapped its streak of 12 straight seasons in bowl games, and once again struggled for answers offensively. Part of the collapse can be attributed to injuries, as BC lost the ACC’s 2010 leading rusher, Montel Harris, for the season, and a total of five players had season-ending injuries. Injuries resulted in three different running backs at the top of the starting lineup, and there was also the surprising decision in early September of first-year offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers to take a leave of absence for health reasons.
It all added up to a dreadful 1-6 start for Boston College, with the lone win coming against Massachusetts. The Eagles finally stopped the bleeding with a 28-17 win over Maryland, but a loss at Florida State the following week ended any hopes of reaching a bowl game. BC found a way to win three of its last five games, though, including road win on Miami’s senior day. Four of BC’s losses this season were by eight points or fewer. Despite the late improvements, coach Frank Spaziani heard the wrath of the most passionate BC fans, but athletic director Gene DeFilippo told the Boston Herald that he still has the right man for the job in Spaziani.
The bright spot in the Eagles' season, of course, was linebacker Luke Kuechly, who had another record-setting campaign and won the Butkus Award. Kuechly couldn’t do it all himself, though, and the Eagles were left searching for answers this offseason.
Offensive MVP: C Mark Spinney. He earned the Unsung Hero Award at this year's banquet, and with good reason. Spinney was a consistent anchor on an offensive line that showed steady improvement throughout the year. The fifth-year senior graduate student was one of two seniors on the two-deep.
Defensive MVP: Kuechly. He has 532 career tackles, including 299 solo tackles, in 37 career games and is averaging 14.0 tackles per game and 7.9 solo tackles per game. All four standards are unmatched among active collegiate football players. Kuechly broke the school's career record of 524 tackles in his 37th collegiate game and had the top two single-season tackle totals in ACC history (191 in 2011 and 183 in 2010). He has had 10 or more tackles in 33 (of 37) games since making his collegiate debut against Northeastern on Sept. 5, 2009.
Turning point: The 28-17 win at Maryland. An ACC road win still counts, even if it is against a struggling Maryland team. This game proved that BC hadn’t folded, and it was the first step in finishing the season on a positive note. Rolandan Finch ran for 243 yards against the Terps, and it gave the Eagles some confidence heading into the final month of the season.
What’s next: Spaziani will have to evaluate his staff and personnel and see what if any changes he wants to make, but recruiting and improving will again be the focus in the offseason.