BC's Williams rushing into record books

November, 7, 2013
11/07/13
8:22
PM ET
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Boston College running back Andre Williams has been chasing two numbers: Six and 1,000.

He got the second one first. In the Eagles' seventh game, a loss at North Carolina, the senior carried the ball 26 times for 172 yards and a TD, finishing the day with 1,010 yards for the season.

The 1,000-yard mark is significant for a running back, and Williams had never reached it in his injury-marred first three seasons. The 6-foot, 227-pounder from Schnecksville, Pa., entered the season with career single-season highs of 584 yards and 130 carries, set in nine games in 2012.

[+] EnlargeAndre Williams
Anthony Nesmith/CSMBC RB Andre Williams has rushed for 100 yards or more in six of eight games so far in 2013.
He's blown past those marks in 2013, his first year as a true workhorse under new coach Steve Addazio.

Entering Saturday's game at New Mexico State (3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3), Williams is first in the country in attempts (216) and attempts per game (27.0), and second in total rushing yards (1,176) and rushing yards per game (147.0). He leads the ACC in attempts, yards, TDs (10), attempts per game and yards per game.

If he can produce another big game behind his veteran offensive line, led by tackles Ian White and Matt Patchan, Williams may just lead BC one step closer to that first number, as in the six wins needed to become bowl eligible.

"I'm not really too worried about the stats this game, because I know the real difficulty is just being able to stay focused and have your mind on the right things through the long trip, the travel from Texas to New Mexico," he said after practice Wednesday on Shea Field. "It's gonna be a different environment, and we just have to be ready to get a win on the road -- which we haven't done yet."

By now, the Eagles' road woes are well known. They've lost nine straight games away from Alumni Stadium, dating back to the 2011 season finale at Miami. So far this season, they've fallen at USC, Clemson and UNC. They'll fly to El Paso, Texas, on Friday and stay there overnight before busing to Las Cruces, N.M., for the game on Saturday.

"I think we need to go on the road and put both things together," Addazio said in his Monday media session. "We've gotta play with great energy, I think we've gotta be a physical team but then we've gotta execute at a high level so that we can move the chains. And that's what we need to do, and we haven't done that yet."

Williams prides himself on wearing defenses down and keeping those chains moving. He also makes no secret of his desire to one day get paid to do so.

"I'm here because I was blessed with something and I need to sharpen that something, not really look to trying to bring out some other skills," he said in an interview in September. "I'm a power back, I'm 230 pounds now -- there's no escaping it. So I'm just embracing it this year. And just watching running backs in the league, trying to see how different backs bring their talents to the field, that's really what I've been up to."

Asked which league he was referring to, Williams had a ready answer: "The NFL."

Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson is his favorite running back, but he said he'd also been watching a lot of Seattle Seahawks stud Marshawn Lynch.

"He's something else," he said. "I really admire the way he runs. I don't wanna say I want to be Marshawn Lynch -- I want to be Andre Williams -- but I have to be really true to myself and embrace what that is."

The buzz is building a bit for BC's lead back. ESPN NFL draft analyst Kevin Weidl reviewed Williams' performance against North Carolina, saying he looks like "an ideal No. 2 back at the next level" and that he could be in the "fringe Day 2 mix" in May's draft.

And though he has wheels that can catch opponents by surprise, as he showed in breaking off a 62-yard TD against Virginia Tech last week, Williams has doubled down on the physicality this season.

"Four games to go, I'm just hoping that there's enough people sending prayers up for me that I can finish the season healthy," he said Wednesday. "I don't feel too bad, I'm all right, and I think I'm gonna make it."

Though he said he's just focused on winning Saturday, the stats suggest Williams' eyes will get big when he lines up against NMSU. Former BC offensive coordinator Doug Martin's Aggies are dead last, No. 125, in the country in rushing defense, allowing an average of 312.11 yards a game on the ground.

"Andre Williams is a good back," Martin said on a conference call this week. "He's a good ACC back and he's having a tremendous year. I know one thing, you don't want to hit him up high. If you hit him up high he's gonna go right through you."

That's been BC's plan all season long, and it doesn't figure to change this week.

Williams is on pace to set new BC single-season records for attempts and yards, potentially passing Derrick Knight (321) and Mike Cloud (1,726). If he hits his average in each of the final four games, Williams would finish 2013 with 324 carries for 1,764 yards.

"Honestly, I'm just gonna keep pushing as hard as I can," Williams said. "I don't know what I can finish with, but I know if I keep doing what I've been doing I'll probably end up with a number I couldn't even imagine."

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

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