ACC: Boston College Eagles
Boston College will emerge under the lights Saturday at Alumni Stadium looking a little different before it takes on USC.
The Eagles will be wearing helmets, gloves and cleats emblazoned with a red bandanna, in honor of lacrosse alumnus Welles Crowther, who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks after saving several people from the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
Crowther was an equities trader who had dreams of joining the fire department of New York. His father had given him a red bandanna when he was younger, and he carried it with him wherever he went. Crowther ended up becoming every bit the hero as those FDNY members who gave their lives 13 years ago, leading people to safety amid the horror of that tragic day. "Outside the Lines" has documented his incredible story, which you can watch in the video above.
The Eagles' equipment staff tweeted out pictures of the gear Wednesday afternoon. The design is great. More important, the gesture is tremendous, and one we hope to see the program carry on each year in the home game closest to this tragic anniversary.
The school already has a Red Bandanna 5K run every October in his honor. Pat McCavanagh, Crowther's former teammate and the current BC men's lacrosse coach, hands Crowther's No. 19 jersey out each year to the player who best exemplifies the fallen hero's traits.
Kudos to BC for keeping Crowther's memory going, and for sharing his story with a prime-time, national television audience this weekend.
In advance of Saturday's matchup between the Eagles and Minutemen at Foxborough's Gillette Stadium, someone -- we're just going to guess a UMass supporter -- decided to go to BC's Alumni Stadium and dress up the statue of the school's most famous football alum: 1984 Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie.
Whether they had anything to do with it or not, the UMass program and its mascot were more than happy to point it out to Flutie on Twitter.
Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY SportsAndre Williams has been a dominant running back this season.
After last season, the Eagles had nowhere to go but up. They finished 2012 with a 2-10 record, their worst winning percentage since losing a school-record 11 games in 1978.
To right the ship, Boston College hired Steve Addazio as their new head coach. Addazio has implemented a power-running scheme that heavily features senior running back Andre Williams.
With 263 yards Saturday against Maryland, Williams became the 16th player in FBS history to run for at least 2,000 yards in a season and the first since Connecticut’s Donald Brown in 2008.
With two games to go -- against Syracuse and a bowl game -- Williams has already set Boston College’s single-season rushing record, eclipsing Mike Cloud’s 1,726 yard season in 1998.
What makes him so good
Williams has gained 958 of his FBS-leading 2,079 yards after contact, 254 more such yards than any other running backs from a BCS automatic-qualifying (AQ) conference. Only 35 FBS players have more total rushing yards than Williams has after contact. Williams has broken 28 tackles this season, seven more than any other AQ running backs.
Williams has accomplished this despite opposing defenses focusing on stopping him. Boston College’s opponents have put an average of 7.9 players in the box on Williams’ carries, the most among any AQ running back with at least 75 rushes.
Williams has 41 more rushes against eight or more defenders in the box than any other AQ running back. In such situations, he has gained 7.0 yards per rush and scored 15 of his 16 touchdowns, the most such touchdowns by any AQ running back.
Williams's 263 rushing yards last week against Maryland was his lowest output in his last three games. Three weeks ago, he set the school-record for rushing yards in a game with 295 against New Mexico State and then broke it a week later with an ACC-record 339 against North Carolina State.
He is the only player in the last 10 seasons to have three straight games with at least 250 rushing yards. In fact, there have only been five other occurrences in which a player has had three straight 200-yard games during the last 10 seasons.
Williams has accounted for 51 percent of BC’s total yards this season, the highest rate for any FBS running back in the last 10 seasons. It is also almost 20 percentage points higher than any other FBS running backs this season.
Finally, consider this: Williams has more rushing yards than 78 FBS programs have as a team.
If Williams gains his average in the next two games, 188.5 rushing yards per game, he would total 2,450 rush yards for the season. That would rank third in FBS history behind Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State in 1988 and Kevin Smith of UCF in 2007.
Williams jumped from 11th to second in the latest ESPN Heisman Watch. He will look to be the sixth 2,000-yard rusher to win the Heisman trophy and first since Ricky Williams won it in 1998.
"For those of you who have yet to meet Steve," Bates told a crowded conference room at the team's Yawkey Center, "buckle up."
Addazio then took to the podium and talked -- or, more accurately, preached -- about dreams, about family, and, yes, even a little about ambitio.
At one point, Addazio said: "I'm here for the long haul and I'm here to win championships."
Click here for the rest of Jack McCluskey's story.
Boston College pulled a shocker Tuesday, hiring Temple coach Steve Addazio after just two seasons with the Owls.
"Steve Addazio brings three critical traits to Boston College football," athletic director Brad Bates said in a statement. "First, he genuinely cares about his students and will facilitate their formation and development in meaningful ways that creates a family culture extending into the entire BC community. Second, he has a passion that is contagious and an energy that will motivate those fortunate to meet him. Finally, he is a proven winner with an extensive history of success as an assistant and head coach that includes two national championships. We are very excited to have Steve Addazio leading Boston College football and look forward to an extraordinary future."
Boston College fired Frank Spaziani at the end of the regular season after going 2-10, one of the worst seasons in program history. Addazio has been at Temple the past two seasons, going 4-7 in 2012 in his first season in the Big East. Before that, he served as offensive coordinator at Florida.
"Steve Addazio has done a tremendous job with Temple Football in his two years at the University, and we wish him nothing but the best," Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw said in a statement. "Temple Football has never been stronger, and I am confident we will be able to attract a high-level pool of candidates for the position and the program will continue its upward momentum.”
A news conference has been set for Wednesday afternoon in Boston to introduce Addazio as the new Eagles coach.
Tommy Rees' erratic day finally reared its ugly head with a third-quarter interception by the Eagles' Max Holloway. Rees had several near-picks in the first half that, fortunately for him, bounced harmlessly to the ground.
The Irish start the fourth quarter from the BC 48 with a chance to score and put the Eagles away once and for all, something they have struggled to do all day long. The offense has looked stagnant, and it is not a stretch to say that the players may just be shaken up after watching senior running back Jonas Gray leave the game with what looks like a serious leg injury.
Gray hobbled back to the locker room and appeared to be on the verge of tears as several players offered their condolences. As big a loss as that may be for Notre Dame, the Irish cannot let that turn into a second loss today.
Turning point: Boston College marched 80 yards on nine plays on its second-to-last drive of the half, ending the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run from Josh Bordner. The score cut the Notre Dame lead to 10-7 and made this a game, as the Eagles will receive the ball to start the second half.
Stat of the half: Notre Dame began three separate drives in the first half from inside its own 6-yard line. The Irish managed as many as 45 yards on one of those drives, but were eventually forced to punt, resulting in a touchback. Boston College then scored on its next drive.
Best player in the half: Boston College's Luke Kuechly became the ACC's career leader in tackles and currently has nine on the day, leading all players. He has one tackle for loss and a pass break-up as well, and he has keyed an Eagles' run defense that has looked very impressive after an awful opening series, holding the Irish to a manageable 5 yards per carry through the first half.
Jonas Gray added to his spectacular senior campaign by rushing for a 26-yard touchdown, his eighth straight game with a score and his 12th during that stretch. The Irish added a field goal on their second drive, but they have been pinned inside their own 10 to start their last two possessions.
Luke Kuechly and Manti Te'o have played their lead roles fittingly so far, recording six and four tackles in the first period, respectively. Kuechly added a tackle for loss as well.
The Irish defense has been the better unit thus far, however, allowing just 43 total yards of offense. Boston College's defense could do its offense a big favor by creating a turnover deep in Irish territory and taking full advantage of the field position game. Notre Dame will start from its own 17 when the second quarter begins.
Most of the Notre Dame players warming up on the field now are in knit caps, long sleeves and high socks. Having not played here in three weeks, this is certainly the coldest home game anyone will have played in this season.
While Senior Days are fairly official ordeals, it is always different at Notre Dame, since there is so much uncertainty surrounding the upperclassmen. As you know, not all are invited back to complete their final year of eligibility, so we may not know if this is the last we truly see of some of them in a home uniform.
The biggest enigma among the four-year players with eligibility remaining is Dayne Crist, who started the last two openers only to lose his job to injury and a poor first-half performance in Week 1 this season. Crist has not spoken publicly since getting the hook, and I'm interested to see how he handles this game, whether or not he is invited back for a fifth year.
Crist is, by all accounts, a strong character guy who has handled his stretch of tough luck with grace, and I think I speak for all when I say he deserves a proper send-off today, if this truly is his final game at Notre Dame Stadium.
Don't go anywhere, as we'll have plenty of more from here throughout the afternoon.
The Irish's next three games are against Wake Forest, Maryland and Boston College. Two of the three are away from South Bend, but two of the three serve as Irish home games. (Confusing, we know.)
With the Irish 5-3 and set for confere ... er, ACC, play, Notre Dame blogger Matt Fortuna and ACC blogger Heather Dinich preview this week's matchup in Winston-Salem, along with the other two contests.
Matt Fortuna: Heather, first off, what do you make of this Wake Forest team? It is tough to judge from the Midwest -- it beats FSU, gets rocked by UNC and Virginia Tech. Also, the decision to make this a night game struck me as interesting. Are the folks down there treating this one like their biggest home game of the season?
Heather Dinich: Matt, there’s no question the Deacs are taking this one seriously, especially after such a poor performance against North Carolina. What to make of Wake Forest? This is a much, much better team than the one that finished 3-9 a year ago. They’re one win away from bowl eligibility and would like nothing more than to wrap that up this weekend against the Irish. Heading into this game, I thought Wake was overmatched, but now I think they’ll make it an interesting game. With both teams at 5-3, are they more alike than many thought they’d be? It’s hard to tell with such different schedules, but I think Notre Dame has the better win over Michigan State. Turnovers were a huge factor last week for the Deacs. Wake had turned it over just five times all season and then against UNC it had five turnovers. It was an uncharacteristic performance, to say the least. If the Deacs can take care of the ball and get the passing game going, they stand a chance. The bigger question to me is, are the next three weeks a foreshadowing of what’s to come with Notre Dame and the ACC? What are you hearing out of South Bend?
MF: Five turnovers in one game? No kidding, they really are alike. As for your question, Notre Dame will strive to remain independent in football at all costs. Right now I think the Irish are content to watch the dominoes fall in front of them until they are forced to make a move. If that time does come, however, I do think the ACC would be its best bet. For one, Notre Dame would be marginalized in the Big Ten, serving as just another regional power along with Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State. In the ACC it can still expand its recruiting bases from as South as Florida to as North as New York and Boston. Mike Brey, the men's basketball coach, has stated his preference is to remain somewhere East if Notre Dame is forced to move. Also, it is pretty funny that, in addition to this slate of games, the Irish have already traveled to future ACC member Pitt this season, and they currently seem bound for the Champs Sports Bowl, where they would face another ACC school. That would be five out of 13 games this season against current or future ACC schools, for those keeping count at home. While we're at it, Heather, who do you think looks like Notre Dame's likely bowl opponent should it find itself in Orlando?
HD: Right now I’ve got Florida State heading to the Champs Sports Bowl, Matt, and it seems like the most likely scenario. That would be a great matchup of two traditional programs, but let’s stick with the ones we know right now. Heading into this season, I predicted the ACC would strike out against the Irish with an 0-3 record. I still don’t see BC winning at Notre Dame on Nov. 19, considering what a dreadful season it’s been for the Eagles, and if BC isn’t going to get the W, there’s no reason to think Maryland can, even though that game is a virtual home game for the Terps in FedEx Field in Landover, Md. Maryland can’t even fill its own stadium, though, let alone a pro venue, and the Terps just lost at home to Boston College. It’s been a rough first season for Randy Edsall. So, it looks like the Deacs are the ACC’s best hope at picking up a W against Notre Dame, at least from my perspective. What are you predicting the Irish do against the ACC in three games?
MF: I'm with you, Heather. I just cannot see Maryland or Boston College beating Notre Dame, making Wake the favorite among the ACC teams to do so. Even then, the Deacs are clearly overmatched and will have a tough time keeping up with the Irish on both sides of the ball. I circled this one as a potential upset when making second-half predictions a little more than three weeks ago, but Wake has done little since (its only win was over Duke ... by 1) to convince me it can pull off the victory. Who do you got?
HD: I’m sticking with my preseason prediction, Matt, and going with the Irish. I’ll leave the score for tomorrow’s predictions post, but I just don’t see Wake Forest beating Notre Dame’s offensive line or slowing down that running game. Notre Dame’s offense line averages 305.6 pounds. Wake Forest’s undersized D-line checks in at an average of 247.5. No wonder Jonas Gray is averaging 8 yards per carry, and the Irish didn’t allow one sack in October. And of course, they’ve got one of the top linebackers in the country in Manti Te’o. Wake Forest will correct a lot of the mistakes it made last week against North Carolina, but it will come up short in a close game. Since you’re the visitor to ACC country, though, I’ll give you the final word.
MF: Not sure if that qualifies as southern hospitality, but it is appreciated nonetheless. I expect Gray to have a huge game as well. He's a guy who had zero career touchdowns until Week 4 at Pitt. He has had eight since, including three this past Saturday. Brian Kelly's teams are built for November and December, as evidenced by his 21-6 mark in the regular season's final two months. I think Wake Forest has a chance to keep it close early, but it lacks the depth and size to hang with the Irish throughout the night.
Earlier, during today’s weekly ACC coaches’ teleconference, I asked coach Frank Spaziani if he could explain the root of the Eagles’ problems this season.
“We are who we are and we never have excuses,” Spaziani said. “We have a leadership issue, we have very few upperclass seniors on the team, we’ve had the ones who were upperclass are injured and hurt. We’ve had guys in and out of the lineup and an inconsistency in our practice schedules that has shown up and manifested itself in a game. Once again they are realities and nothing we didn’t expect.”
Spaziani said he and the staff evaluated the team in the preseason, and, with the exception of the injuries, knew what they had – or rather, what they didn’t. Maybe the staff knew it would be a rough year, but I have a hard time imagining that those within the program were expecting such an abysmal start.
“We knew we had to play different coming in in some ways and as things have unfolded, we haven’t quite met the challenge doing that,” Spaziani said. “We understand we have to make some adjustments. I think I was quite forthcoming with what we needed to get out of certain people and how we had to play and what our role would be as coaches in putting guys in the right position.”
Unfortunately for BC, the toughest part of the season is only beginning. The Eagles are still looking for their first ACC victory, but Spaziani was adamant in his assertion that he has seen progress.
“We are getting better, let me just say that,” he said. “The record is what it is, but there’s improvement. Young players who are playing are getting better. The players are working hard. There’s a tremendous attitude and we’ll go one game at a time.”
- Former NC State quarterback Russell Wilson will visit Wisconsin next week, Tom Mulhern reports in the Wisconsin State Journal.
- North Carolina picks up another tight end commitment in Terrance Knox, Sammy Batten writes in the Fayetteville Observer.
- More than 40 New England Patriots players work out at Boston College's Alumni Stadium, ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss writes.
- Miami picks up a commitment from another homegrown prospect, CBSSports.com's Bryan Fischer writes.
- Virginia Tech's David Wilson is ready to take charge, FoxSportsCarolinas.com's Andrew Jones writes. Hokies cornerback Jayron Hosley is a Playboy All-American.
- The Orlando Sentinel takes a snapshot of new Maryland coach Randy Edsall. Former Maryland quarterback Tyler Smith lands at Elon University.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
The good news for BC? The Eagles open with Northeastern, not Bama.
Boston College released its depth chart on Sunday, and at quarterback, it's listed as either redshirt freshman Justin Tuggle or freshman Mike Marscovetra. Codi Boek is No. 3, and Dave Shinskie is still recovering from a broken rib.
None of them have taken a collegiate snap in a game, but can ease into it against Northeastern, an FCS program in the Colonial Athletic Association that finished 2-10 last year. It should be a fairly sloppy game, as Northeastern also has question marks at quarterback, having lost its top two signal-callers from a year ago and returning none with any experience.
BC has exactly two weeks to find its identity before traveling to Clemson for an Atlantic Division matchup against Clemson. Four true freshmen -- offensive tackle John Wetzel, Marscovetra, linebacker Luke Kuechly and strong safety Jim Noel -- are listed on the two-deep for BC, along with nine redshirt freshmen.
Boston College fans often bemoan the low expectations outsiders set for their program, but one look at the depth chart tells you this is not the same team that played for the ACC title a year ago. Or two years ago. There are new linebackers, new interior defensive linemen, a new coaching staff and a new quarterback. Those are legitimate reasons for doubt, but they're also motivation for the Eagles to prove the naysayers wrong -- again.
n said. "He kind of looked like he had solidified the job and then he opens it up again." Defensive back Eric Franklin, a true freshman, made a scrimmage-best eight tackles and picked off Turner on the sixth possession. MIAMI The Canes wrapped up their final two-a-day of fall camp on Sunday, and coach Randy Shannon said everything -- that's right, everything -- is still up for grabs. Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post had a couple of notes for you off Sunday's practice. Morning Practice Highlights -- (pads) Joe Joseph and Marcus Robinson each had a sack in 11-on-11 drills. Randy Phillips (INT, pass break-up) and DeMarcus Van Dyke (two pass break-ups) stood out in the secondary. Lee Chambers and Damien Berry each broke off a couple runs of 15+ yards. Javarris James caught several passes in both 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 sessions Afternoon Practice Highlights -- (shells) Sam Shields (red zone), Chavez Grant (7-on-7) and C.J. Holton (11-on-11) all recorded interceptions. Grant returned his for a touchdown while Holton caught his off a tipped pass. A.J. Highsmith connected with Tommy Streeter (11-on-11) and LaRon Byrd (7-on-7) for significant yardage. Damien Berry took a short pass in the flat from Taylor Cook for a long gain. Other highlights include a near interception by Randy Phillips, a pass break-up by Ramon Buchanan and a sack by Micanor Regis. Red zone touchdowns included Jacory Harris to Richard Gordon and Taylor Cook to Jimmy Graham. VIRGINIA TECH So ... add Ryan Williams to the list of VT running backs who are banged up. Williams sprained his ankle, and Josh Oglesby has "the worst infection" coach Billy Hite has ever seen on a foot. Also, the coaches want to redshirt Logan Thomas, and Kenny Lewis Jr.'s recovery has been delayed. Not a lot of happy news coming out of Blacksburg these days. To read Virginia Tech's entire scrimmage report, click here. Tyrod Taylor completed 8 of 11 passes for 78 yards. Xavier Boyce led all receivers with two catches for 47 yards. Freshman running back Tony Gregory rushed 18 times for 48 yards and two touchdowns. Williams rushed just five times for 22 yards before spraining his ankle and sitting out the rest of the scrimmage. He did score on a 4-yard run and he returned several punts. Matt Waldron was 4-for-4 on his field goal attempts. (31, 32, 43, 30) Defensive tackle Cordarrow Thompson led the defense with seven tackles, four for a loss, and one sack.