Friday, October 12, 2012
BC RB Andre Williams flying high
By Jack McCluskey
NEWTON, Mass. -- No different from many college students, Andre Williams dreams of doing today's work tomorrow.
The Boston College junior does his business on Saturdays now, but he would really like to do that business on Sundays someday.
BC RB Andre Williams is hoping to keep his momentum going against Florida State.
Games like the one he had against Army, in which he carried the ball 24 times for a career-high 191 yards and two touchdowns, just might help him get there.
"It felt really good," Williams said of his big game when he met with the media before practice Wednesday. "It had to come at some point during the season. It was definitely a confidence-builder going into an even bigger game this week."
The Eagles (1-4, 0-2 ACC) travel to Tallahassee on Friday for Saturday's game (5:35 p.m. ET, ESPN2) with No. 12 Florida State (5-1, 2-1).
BC is 6-4 all-time against FSU, having lost the previous two meetings and sitting at just 3-4 against the Seminoles since joining the ACC. The common thread between the most recent wins was big performances by Montel Harris and a strong defensive effort.
Harris, the school's all-time leader in rushing yards, has moved on to Temple after being dismissed from the Eagles. When it became clear Harris was no longer in the picture, it looked like BC had three backs who would split the duties in the run game.
"It started out looking so perfect, having all three of the running backs who are all capable of doing such diverse things, each of us having our different skill sets," Williams said. "But as it is now, it's just me out here."
That's because Finch has dropped off the depth chart and Kimble has been banged up.
So now it falls to Williams to shoulder the load. He doesn't mind at all.
"I think it's a great opportunity to be able to be the featured back," he said, "and I'm just trying to make sure I make the most of it."
Coach Frank Spaziani is happy to see Williams where he is, after he had trouble with ball security to begin the season.
"He stumbled a little early and then he responded," Spaziani said. "He responded to his adversity and the coaching and what we told him needed to be done. And the last four weeks, he's taken on the challenge, and it shows. Hopefully it'll continue."
It has to continue if BC has any hope of leaving Doak Campbell Stadium with a W.
"You have to run the ball," Spaziani said. "The years we've beaten them, we've made them work defensively and had a running game. So that's a good recipe for success that we haven't been able to have."
"I think we're gonna have to run the ball well, and then we're gonna have to do what NC State was able to do and try to complete upwards of 30 passes," quarterback Chase Rettig said of the game plan against FSU, referencing the Wolfpack after their 17-16 upset of the Noles this past weekend. "We have to have a pretty balanced game."
Balance has been in short supply for BC. Rettig ranks at or near the top of the ACC in most passing statistics, but the Eagles are 11th in the ACC in rushing offense with 104.8 yards a game.
Rettig said the Eagles have worked to simplify the run game, focusing on a few plays and doing them well.
"He's a really hard worker," the QB said of Williams. "Andre is a good back, a fast back. We look to him to carry the load and get 3 or 4 yards every time. He knows he's capable of doing it, and we're behind him."
The Eagles' confidence in Williams was hard to miss late against Army. After the defense made a goal-line stand to preserve a 31-27 lead with a little more than two minutes to go, BC was pinned deep in its territory and just needed a first down to potentially seal the road win.
Williams got the ball three straight times but managed only 7 yards, and the Eagles had to give the ball back to the Black Knights, who converted that possession into the game-winning score.
While in hindsight it seems the Eagles might have benefited from throwing the ball in that situation, Williams said the play calling wasn't to blame.
"Ultimately the responsibility still lies on us because we didn't get the first down," Williams said. "The plays that we ran, we ran them more effectively in earlier parts of the game so it still lies on us that we didn't get the first down.
"I definitely felt confident getting the ball in that situation. I thought I might break it again or, I didn't want to be selfish, but if I would've gotten it on fourth down, I wouldn't have minded that, either."
The highlight of the afternoon came in a similar situation, with the BC offense on its own 1-yard line in the second quarter. On that one, Williams got the call and ran all the way into the record books.
"I think it just worked out perfectly that the hole was there, that the line made the perfect hole and I hit it with the right speed to just be gone after the second level," he said of his 99-yard scoring run.
The play is the longest rushing touchdown in school history and tied Williams with eight others for the longest rushing score in NCAA history. The first such player to do so? Gale Sayers.
Not bad company to keep.
"It just feels great that even though we didn't get the win, I still have something to sit back on, I still have something to build on for the next game," Williams said of the 99-yarder. "I have dreams and aspirations to go on to the next level, and I think that being able to do things like this just makes it a little bit closer, a little bit more real for me.
"I want to keep building on it and I want to keep breaking records."
He just hopes the next record-breaking performance comes in a BC win.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.