On First Downs

Chase Rettig #11 of the Boston College Eagles grimaces in pain after being hit by Andre Branch #40 of the Clemson Tigers at Memorial Stadium on October 8, 2011 in Clemson, South Carolina. Clemson won 36-14. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

If you needed any more proof of the complete and total regression on the offensive side of the ball, look no further than Boston College's 2011 first down total. The Eagles offense has managed just 100 first downs during the first half of the season, averaging just 16.7 a game. That puts BC 104th nationally, ahead of only Minnesota, Ole Miss, Kentucky and Vanderbilt from BCS AQ conferences. Those teams are a combined 8-14 this season.

If you remove the game against I-AA UMass, that rank drops to 109th, ahead of only Kentucky, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt (who is averaging a pathetic 10.5 a game). 

Here's how the Eagles finished in this statistical category from 2007-2010 (stats courtesy of cfbstats.com):

2007: 22nd nationally (23.4 / game)
2008: 77th (18.1)
2009: 107th (16.5)
2010: 116th (15.0)

Boston College's offense has gone from averaging 23.4 first downs a game to 18.1 to 16.5 to 15.0. And now 16.7. Progress? Probably not. Without the services of Montel Harris and a daunting second half schedule that includes four of the remaining six games on the road, there's little hope that BC will actually improve on that average, unless they start picking up a whole bunch of first downs in garbage time, I suppose. 

After the jump, a look at total number of first downs across the ACC. As you'd expect, BC ranks DFL in this category.

Rank Name G Rush Pass Penalty Total Total/G
23 Virginia Cavaliers 5 46 68 5 119 23.8
33 Clemson Tigers 6 51 74 12 137 22.8
38 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 6 100 31 4 135 22.5
42 Wake Forest Demon Deacons 5 34 68 9 111 22.2
44 Duke Blue Devils 5 32 71 7 110 22.0
44 Florida St. Seminoles 5 32 65 13 110 22.0
48 Maryland Terrapins 5 47 56 6 109 21.8
57 Virginia Tech Hokies 6 67 54 6 127 21.2
82 N.C. State Wolfpack 6 38 69 8 115 19.2
94 North Carolina Tar Heels 6 44 57 7 108 18.0
99 Miami Hurricanes 5 40 42 6 88 17.6
104 Boston College Eagles 6 33 62 5 100 16.7
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