Sunday, November 17, 2013
BC seniors enjoy fortuitous turnaround
By Jack McCluskey
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Just about everything that could go Boston College’s way did on Saturday.
Don’t misunderstand -- Andre Williams made a lot of his own luck in his 42-carry, 339-yard, two-touchdown masterpiece in BC’s 38-21 win over NC State. But even when the star back did make mistakes, they ended up working out for the Eagles.
First, the play that set the record. Williams entered the game needing 256 yards to break Mike Cloud’s BC single-season rushing record (1,726), and with fewer than 9 minutes to go in the game he was sitting on 223 yards.
BC had a second-and-3 from its own 34-yard line, and Williams got the call.
Kevin Pierre-Louis brings down NC State's Pete Thomas for one of BC's four sacks on the game. The Eagles have 29 sacks on the season.
The 6-foot, 227-pounder burst through the left side, following the pulling Harris Williams through a massive hole and then shaking off three would-be tacklers and sprinting for the end zone. As he neared the paint, though, Justin Burris tomahawked the ball free and it scooted into the end zone.
What would have been a fitting way to run into the record books almost became a disaster.
Luckily for Williams and the Eagles, however, Alex Amidon -- Williams’ roommate and fellow offensive standout, as BC’s all-time leading receiver -- was there to fall on the ball in the end zone for the touchdown.
Asked if he had anything special to say to Amidon after the recovery, Williams laughed.
“I’ve been rooming with Amitron since freshman year, and we’ve always been there for each other,” he said. “And right when I needed him, he was there for me to scoop the ball after they raked it out. I’m just happy that I know that guy.”
The fumble on the record-breaking run was Williams’ second of the afternoon, after a second-quarter miscue gave NC State a shot to cut into the 17-7 BC lead. But Kevin Pierre-Louis got a key sack and the defense snuffed out that chance, a bad snap on a field goal attempt meaning the Wolfpack got zero points from BC’s two fumbles.
While the bulk of the day’s praise has been sent Williams’ way, the defense deserves a mention, as well.
With four sacks on the afternoon, BC has 29 for the season (after totaling six sacks in 2012). That’s the most sacks by a BC defense since B.J. Raji, Mark Herzlich & Co. had 35 in 2008.
The Eagles held the Wolfpack to just 35 yards rushing on 26 attempts, BC’s fewest rushing yards allowed this season and the fewest overall since the Eagles held Kent State and Duke to 4 yards rushing each in separate games in 2010.
Defensive coordinator Don Brown’s unit again was dogged by long plays, giving up receptions of 61 (on a short catch and run), 49 and 52 yards -- the latter two going for Wolfpack touchdowns. But overall, it held NC State to 360 yards of total offense -- just 21 yards more than Williams produced himself.
Pierre-Louis said the BC defense’s seniors knew they needed to take control of the game, to become bowl eligible at home on senior day.
“It was one of the first times where, as a whole senior class, we took hold of that game,” Pierre-Louis said. “[The senior defenders] looked at each other and said, ‘We have to have this game. It has to come from us. We can’t count on the younger guys to pick us up. This is our game, this is our day, this is our last chance.’”
After the win, the Eagles enjoyed a neat moment when the fans flooded the field and celebrated alongside them. It was a great contrast to the dire circumstances the Eagles have found themselves in during recent years.
“I just feel really lucky to be a part of that,” coach Steve Addazio said. “That’s the emotion of a university coming together. I think it was great for our fans, great for our students and great for our players. It was a great moment. What happens is you just want to really enjoy that, but in the same breath you’re racing ahead right now.”
Things have mostly broken BC’s way, lately, and though they’re as bruised and banged up as any team after 10 games, now that they’re bowl eligible for the first time in three years they’re not ready to stop.
“We set a high bar before the season and we just want to win every game that we’re playing in,” said Kasim Edebali, who recorded a sack Saturday to push his team-leading total to 9.5. “I can tell already, everybody’s ready to play the next one. We’re trying to get [win No.] 7 and then put us in a position where we can get [win No.] 8.”
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.