Victory meal sets tone for next challenge
October, 7, 2013
By Jack McCluskey | ESPNBoston.com
NEWTON, Mass. -- The Eagles hit the road Sunday night, not to play but to celebrate a third win in four tries at home this season.
Boston College coach Steve Addazio and his staff took the team to an upscale Brazilian steakhouse in Copley Square for their third victory dinner of 2013. And if there’s to be a fourth victory dinner this coming weekend, the team will have to prove the positive steps it’s made in the friendly confines of Chestnut Hill will translate on the road.
The Eagles (3-2, 1-1 ACC) head to Clemson, S.C., for a matchup with the unbeaten, No. 3-ranked Tigers (5-0, 3-0 ACC) on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN2).
“We were pretty dominant on the offensive line [against Army],” Addazio said Monday, in his weekly session with the media. “I was really impressed with the way our front and our tight ends played. The holes and the opportunities for Andre [Williams] were incredible.”
BC racked up a season-high 320 yards rushing and five rushing TDs on Saturday, the vast majority of that production coming on the legs of Williams, the senior workhorse back who leads the country in carries (133), carries per game (26.6) and rushing yards per game (153.6), and is third in rushing yards (768).
Liz Condo/USA TODAY SportsThe Eagles will have their hands full this weekend against Clemson QB Tajh Boyd, a Heisman candidate who has lived up to the hype so far this season.
“I loved the way we competed,” Addazio said. “We were physical. We moved ourselves forward special-teams wise, offensively, so that’s what I came away with.”
But that was last week, and now the Eagles face a new challenge with their second game against a Top 10 team in three weeks. The Eagles didn’t practice Monday and will get to work in earnest for Clemson on Tuesday.
“Now, of course, really all I care about is getting ready for this week,” Addazio said, “because we’ve got a tremendous challenge, we’re playing probably one of the finest teams in the country.”
That’s no stretch. The Tigers are stacked, with Tajh Boyd (2012 ACC Player of the Year), Sammy Watkins (Biletnikoff watch list member) and the nation’s 13th-ranked offense (44.2 points per game), as well as a playmaking defense.
“They’re extremely explosive on offense,” Addazio said. “Tajh Boyd is a sensational quarterback. He’s experienced, he’s a veteran, he can throw it, he can run it.”
Boyd was named the ACC Offensive Back of the Week on Monday, after he threw for a school-record 455 yards and five touchdowns in Clemson’s 49-14 win over league newcomer Syracuse.
With only one road trip to date this season, a 35-7 road loss at USC in Week 3, the Eagles don’t really know what kind of road team they can be yet. They’ll find out soon, with five of their final seven games on the road.
BC hasn’t won on the road since the end of the 2011 season, a 24-17 win over Miami in Luke Kuechly’s final game in maroon and gold. Including the loss to USC, that’s seven straight losses away from Chestnut Hill.
“We’ve gotta learn to take it on the road and keep the intensity and not let the atmosphere or the stadium, the crowd [affect us] -- there’s a tremendous home-field advantage there,” Addazio said. “We’ve gotta overcome that. The old saying, you go on the road, you pack your defense and pack your run game and pack your toughness and your senior leadership. We’ve gotta put all that together and play our best game.
“But I feel right now that we have an opportunity to do that.”
Defensive tackle Kaleb Ramsey was limited against Army because of a shoulder strain. That injury is improving, but may linger a while.
“I think he’ll be a lot like he was last week, limited but getting better,” Addazio said of the sixth-year senior.
Otherwise, outside of a season-ending injury to defensive tackle Mehdi Abdesmad, the Eagles have been relatively lucky with injuries to date.
Addazio said he’s hopeful that the team will get Spenser Rositano back this week, after the junior defensive back sat out last week because of a concussion.
“We thought maybe he’d get cleared toward the end of the week but it just didn’t happen,” Addazio said.
“I’d say overall we’re dinged up a little bit,” he said. “We have a few bumps and bruises, for sure, and there'll be some guys limited in practice, but I’m hoping -- and it’s still early on Monday -- I’m hoping that we’ll have everyone else ready to roll.”
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.