Boston College - Virginia Tech Matchup

After losing to NC State two weeks ago, the Eagles are in desperate need of a big ACC victory. They will have the opportunity for that big win on Thursday when the Virginia Tech Hokies (4-1) visit Alumni Stadium. Like the Eagles, the Hokies are still stinging from their last ACC game, a 38-27 loss to Georgia Tech. The Eagles are coming off a solid, though hardly dominant, 22-0 victory over Maine ten days ago. The Hokies are currently a 2 1/2 point favorite.

The Quarterbacks
Matt Ryan -- 60.0% comp, 1,222 yards, 7 TD, 3 INT
Sean Glennon -- 57.4% comp, 1,116 yards, 7 TD, 3 INT

Top Rushers
L.V. Whitworth -- 314 yards, 4.4 ypc, 1 TD
  Andre Callender -- 266 yards, 4.8 ypc, 0 TD
Branden Ore -- 475 yards, 5.3 ypc, 7 TD
  George Bell -- 38 yards, 3.5 ypc, 1 TD

Top Receivers
Kevin Challenger (WR) -- 21 catches, 236 yards, 2 TD
  Tony Gonzalez (WR) -- 19 catches, 214 yards, 4 TD
  Brandon Robinson (WR) -- 13 catches, 191 yards, 0 TD
David Clowney (WR) -- 18 catches, 240 yards, 0 TD
  Josh Hyman (WR) -- 13 catches, 102 yards, 0 TD
  Eddie Royal (WR) -- 12 catches, 209 yards, 1 TD

Top Defenders
Jolonn Dunbar (LB) -- 39 tackles, 1 forced fumble
  Jamie Silva (FS) -- 28 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 INT
  DeJuan Tribble (CB) -- 23 tackles, 2 INT, 5 passes broken up
Xavier Adibi (LB) -- 41 tackles, 1 INT, 1 FF
  Vince Hall (LB) -- 38 tackles, 5 QB Hurries
  Victor Harris (CB) -- 16 tackles, 3 INT

The Kickers
Steve Aponavicius (walk-on)
Brandon Pace -- 6/6 FG, 19/21 PAT

The Punters
Johnny Ayers -- 42.1 yards per punt
Nic Schmitt -- 40.7 yards per punt

The Kick Returners
Jeff Smith -- 34.1 per KO return
DeJuan Tribble -- 5.5 per punt return
Eddie Royal -- 20.4 yards per KO ret
16.3 yards per punt return

Final Analysis

Despite their mediocre play this season ("mediocre" is probably generous), the Eagles were ten seconds away from being 5-0 overall, 2-0 in the ACC and ranked in the top 15 nationally. The meltdown against NC State in the final thirty seconds puts BC in a very precarious position heading into the next two games against Virginia Tech and Florida State. At the very least, BC needs to win one of those two games to remain in contention for the ACC Atlantic Division title. In my humble opinion, Virginia Tech is not nearly as good as they have been the past two years. The bad news .. neither is BC.

I guess the Eagles can take solace in the fact that no one named "Vick" will be behind center for the Hokies on Thursday. However, Virginia Tech's new signal caller, Sean Glennon, has played very well this season. He passed for a career-best 339 yards against Georgia Tech. Running back Branden Ore is also off to a great start in 2006. If there is a weakness for Virginia Tech, it might be the offensive line which has surrendered a combined seven sacks in the last two games. Unfortunately, BC has not generated much of a pass rush this season. I they can this week, their chances of winning this game will rise dramatically.

As usual, the Virginia Tech defense is one of the nation's best. The Hokies rank eighth nationally and have been exceptional against both the pass and run. Hokie opponents are averaging only 2.8 yards per rush and 140 yards passing per game. As always, special teams is a big concern for Virginia Tech opponents. The Hokies have blocked a remarkable 112 kicks (field goals, extra points and punts) under Frank Beamer. Eddie Royal is 13th in the nation in punt returns. Kicker Brandon Pace is 6 for 6 in field goal attempts this season.

Given the way BC has played the past five games, the injuries (Jamie Silva may be out this week) and the kicking situation (a walk-on will replace the suspended Ryan Ohliger this week), defeating the Hokies appears unlikely. On the other hand, isn't BC due for a great game? If BC is going to win this week, they would be well advised to follow Georgia Tech's example and take an early lead. Two Saturdays ago, the Yellow Jackets took an early 14-0 lead on a pair of Calvin Johnson touchdowns then proceeded to pound VA Tech with the running game for the rest of the night (36 carries for 149 yards). This is easier said than done (for one thing, Calvin Johnson does not play for BC). BC will also need to win the turnover battle. The Eagles have already fumbled 12 times this season (and lost seven). If the Eagles can minimize turnovers, prevent Virginia Tech from scoring on special teams and avoid costly penalties, I think they have a good chance to win this game. Unfortunately, I think the odds are in Tech's favor.

Final Score: Virginia Tech 29 Boston College 19

Virginia Tech Links
Official Site
Rivals Site
CBS Sportsline
Fox Sports

VA Tech by the Numbers

Since 2000, Virginia Tech leads the nation in interceptions with 129 (USC is second with 114)

Virginia Tech has 104 defensive or special teams TDs in 20 years under Frank Beamer

The Hokies have 112 blocked kicks (including punts) under Beamer

Offense - Run 74 90
Offense - Pass 26 30
Offense - Total 44 61
Defense - Run 38 28
Defense - Pass 109 6
Defense - Total 92 8

Offensive Lines
Avg Height 6'4" 6'3"
Avg Weight 306 306