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Eagles know this game will be different

11/16/2012

NEWTON, Mass. -- It’s different for everyone.

Saturday is Senior Day at Alumni Stadium (12:30 p.m. vs. Virginia Tech), the last go-round in front of the home crowd for 16 Eagles.

The list of players suiting up for the final time in Chestnut Hill includes both offensive tackles (Emmett Cleary and John Wetzel), two backup QBs (Mike Marscovetra and Dave Shinskie), two specialists (long-snapper Sean Flaherty and punter Gerald Levano), all four co-captains (Cleary, Jim Noel, Chris Pantale and Kaleb Ramsey), the team’s leading tackler this season (Nick Clancy, who may not play because of a concussion), two wide receivers (Donte Elliott and Colin Larmond), two walk-ons (Mike Javorski and Joe LaCorte) and one defensive end (Bryan Murray).

Seven of the 16 are starters, and each had a slightly different take on what these last two weeks of the season will mean.

“It’s gonna be a real emotional day on Saturday,” Pantale said. “There’s gonna be excitement, sadness. ... It’s just scary to reflect back on the amount of time I spent here and how fast it went by. I think Saturday will be a lot more enjoyable if we get a win and leave Alumni with a good taste in our mouths.”

For the long-snapper, Flaherty, the fact Saturday will be the last time he gets dressed in the home locker room and runs onto the field in maroon and gold brings up a lot of memories.

“It’s a pretty nostalgic time,” he said. All that’s left to do is to “try to have my best game at home this last one.”

Shinskie, the 28-year-old former minor league pitcher, wasn’t quite ready to admit this game against Virginia Tech could be his last home game as an Eagle.

“Hey, you never know, man, I could still redshirt,” he said with a smile. “These last four years have been probably the most memorable time in my life. This time here, I met a lot of guys. You’re not just with the guys during football practice, you’re with them in the dorm, late nights, going to get something to eat … It’s the friends that, to me, are gonna get to me the most.”

And then there’s the fact the Eagles (2-8, 1-5 ACC) have to deal with the Hokies (4-6, 2-4), who are still fighting to make something of their season.

That Frank Beamer’s squad isn’t having a typical 10-win, Virginia Tech season doesn’t affect how the Eagles think of them at all.

“No. It’s still Virginia Tech,” center Andy Gallik said. “We’re gonna have a little more emotion, being Senior Day … We know that they’re gonna bring everything they’ve got. They gotta win out to make a bowl game, and if they don’t it’ll end their streak.”

The Hokies have played in a bowl for 19 straight seasons, one of the five longest streaks in the nation.

BC head coach Frank Spaziani said there haven’t been glaring differences in Blacksburg, Va., this season.

“It’s subtle. The 10-win Virginia Tech team and this one, there’s not much difference,” Spaziani said. “Except they’re giving up some bigger plays on defense than they have in the past.”

The Hokies have given up four plays of 60-plus yards this season, according to cfbstats.com. The Eagles have given up only two such plays this season.

Virginia Tech has also scuffled when it has left the comforts of Lane Stadium, losing its past seven games away from home dating back to last season.

Yet despite all of that, the Eagles can’t afford to think less of any opponent and they know it.

“It’s still about us taking care of ourselves, our business, as always,” Spaziani said.

That’s what has been on one senior’s mind this week.

“In one sense we’re kinda too wrapped up in the day-to-day to really think about that,” Cleary said, when asked about the emotions of Senior Day. “This is just a big conference game against Virginia Tech, who is an opponent we get up for every year.

“But for all the guys who it’s their last game, it’s definitely significant -- you want to play well and you want to obviously get the win. It might get to me on Saturday. We’ll see.”

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.