Thursday, November 1, 2012
BC gearing up to invade Wake Forest
By Jack McCluskey
NEWTON, Mass. -- It had been a while since the Eagles tasted victory. Six long weeks, in fact. Longer if you only count wins against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents.
Now that they've gotten another taste of winning, and all that comes with it, they never want to taste anything else again.
"Everybody's happy with the one win, but we're still a struggling football team," offensive co-captain Chris Pantale said before practice Wednesday. "So we need to get back on track and just keep winning the games, keep that taste in our mouth and keep things going in a positive direction."
Last year in Chestnut Hill, Chase Rettig and the Eagles lost 27-19 to Wake Forest.
Everything is better after a victory, a fact the 2-6 Eagles already knew but were reminded of after scoring a 20-17 win over Maryland this past Saturday.
"The body hurts a little bit less, you're in your mind a little bit less, as well," linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis said, checking off the list of side effects of a dose of Win-strol. "Classes are easier to sit through."
But time waits for no one, and BC knows it has to focus on the task at hand.
"Just like a loss or a win, we have to move last week behind us and just focus on Wake Forest," Pierre-Louis said. "I told the guys after workout [Tuesday], 'OK, we won our second game but realize what our record still is. We still gotta keep going forward, don't be happy just off of that one win.'"
Awaiting the Eagles at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, N.C., is a battered Demon Deacons team. Tanner Price and his teammates were embarrassed by No. 14 Clemson 42-13, falling behind 35-0 in the first half.
"As good as Clemson is, as talented as they are, especially offensively, we just didn't play very well," Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe told the media in his weekly ACC conference call. "We had a couple plays in the game where they just had a better player and made a great play. But several times we just didn't play the coverage very well and gave them big plays."
Grobe said the Deacons will try to use the experience against the Tigers to their advantage.
"We want to put it behind us, but we also want to improve," he said. "You don't improve much if you don't learn from past mistakes."
At 4-4 overall (2-4 in the ACC), Wake Forest still has a legitimate chance to become bowl eligible and will look to bounce back in a big way this weekend.
While technically Boston College (2-6, 1-4) still hasn't been eliminated from bowl eligibility, it would take a small miracle for the Eagles to win out with visits from No. 3 Notre Dame and Virginia Tech still on the schedule.
First things first, the Eagles know they're going up against a disciplined, dangerous team on Saturday (3:30 p.m., ESPN3).
"I think athletically we're pretty well matched," running back Andre Williams said. "They're very well-coached and we have to respect that."
Pantale echoed that sentiment.
"They're gonna be in the right spots, the right positions to make plays," he said. "We just have to execute our plays, get guys on guys and make sure we don't make mistakes -- because they're the type of team that will capitalize on mistakes."
The statistics say there's not much difference between the two teams.
Wake Forest has given up at least 34 points in three of its four losses (including a high of 52, to FSU). BC has given up at least 34 points in five of its six losses (including a high of 51, to FSU).
The Demon Deacons are seventh in the ACC in scoring defense, giving up 29.8 points per game. The Eagles, meanwhile, are 11th and are giving up 31.2 points per game.
There's not much separating the teams offensively, either. BC is ninth with 23.1 points per game, and Wake Forest is 11th at 20.9 points per game.
Neither team can afford a loss, and both teams will fight tooth and nail to leave with a win.
"You notice their toughness on film," Pantale said, "they don't turn down hits. We're gonna have our hands full."
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.