Thursday, November 14, 2013
BC RB Williams wants last W
By Jack McCluskey
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- The end is coming; it'll be here before they know it.
And while Andre Williams, in a literal sense, comprehends that in life all things come to an end -- even when we don't want them to -- he also hopes, like we all do, that on some level it's not true.
Andre Williams has enjoyed lots of running room in this record-setting season.
That something about him will live on once he's gone.
Along with 17 of his teammates, Williams will set foot on the Alumni Stadium turf for the final time as a Boston College player on Saturday when the Eagles (5-4, 2-3 ACC) play NC State (3-6, 0-6 ACC).
"It's gonna be my last game in Alumni Stadium," the running back said Monday. "This is our chance to become bowl eligible. It's just a lot of hype and excitement and all types of feelings about this game. After this one I have two left and I won't see Alumni Stadium again.
"I don't know how to describe the feeling."
For three years, Williams has been building to this. He's shown flashes of greatness before, with a 42-carry, 185-yard, 1-touchdown game at Syracuse as a freshman and with a 21-carry, 191-yard, 2-touchdown game at Army as a junior, but injuries and ineffectiveness had always prevented him from firmly establishing himself as what he's become this season.
That's a star.
After nine games, the 6-foot, 227-pound Schnecksville, Pa., native leads the country in rushing attempts (246), attempts per game (27.33), yards (1,471) and yards per game (163.44). He's tied for seventh nationally in rushing touchdowns (12).
On Thursday, Williams was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation's best running back. The three finalists will be announced Nov. 25, with the winner announced Dec. 12 during the Home Depot College Football awards show on ESPN.
With TD runs of 80 and 47 yards in the fourth quarter against New Mexico State, Williams set a new BC single-game rushing record with 295 yards and helped the Eagles to a 48-34 win that puts them just one victory from bowl eligibility.
Williams just missed setting the mark earlier this season, falling a yard short against Army of tying Montel Harris' 2-year-old record of 264.
Ian White (62) and BC's O-linemen are proud of the success of Andre Williams (44).
"For him to be so close to Montel's record against Army and then to actually break it and almost hit that 300-yard mark was unbelievable," right tackle Ian White said. "That's something that the offensive line has been trying to get him all year, so we're pretty proud of that."
BC coach Steve Addazio said the team gave offensive MVP awards for the NMSU game to both Williams and the blocking unit -- the offensive line and tight ends -- that opened the holes for him.
"The rushing game is real," Addazio said. "It's not just Andre, but certainly Andre's been fantastic and the offensive line has done a great job and I see the growth of Myles [Willis]. … I think that part of our game is still developing, it's still developing, it's still a work in progress. And it has to be [better], [because] I think this [NC State] front seven is really good. They remind me a lot of North Carolina."
NC State is ninth in the ACC in rushing defense, giving up 155.44 yards per game on the ground.
The first-year BC coach has a unique perspective when it comes to judging Williams' performance as the Eagles' stud back in 2013. He also coached the Eagles' previous stud back, career rushing leader Harris, after Harris transferred to Temple for his final season.
To Addazio, the difference is clear: Williams is a power back with speed, while Harris was a shifty, slashing runner.
"Two different styles, both really outstanding backs," he said. "Andre's a unique guy because of his speed, power and size. I don't think people realize how fast he is. He's got legitimate speed.
"Our style of run game matches him well. ... Andre's really blossomed in this style. That's what he's wired for."
With three games left in his BC career, Williams needs just 256 yards to break Mike Cloud's BC single-season record (1,726). If he can manage that, he'll leave yet another mark on the school record books, in which he already owns the records for carries in a game (42), yards in a game (295), longest rush (99 yards) and is tied for most rushing touchdowns in a game (5).
If he breaks Cloud's single-season record, might Williams come back to Alumni Stadium years down the road, look up at the banners of past BC greats and see himself, ball in hand, looking back from behind his favorite visor?
It's not a given, but it's also not the stretch it would've been before the 2013 season.
Yet the legacy the senior would really like to leave is about something bigger than himself.
"I don't know if I'm necessarily looking to top the last game, I just want the W," he said. "I want my last game in Alumni Stadium to be a win. That's more important than anything."
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.