Due to a DVR malfunction (or was it a regional blackout?), Jeff didn't get to watch this week's Central Michigan game. So you are left with my thoughts on the game.
10/31/2009 - Boston College 31, Central Michigan 10 - 6-3 (3-2 ACC)
"Bend but don't break." It has been the calling card of the Frank Spaziani era at Boston College. The Eagles defense did just that in the first half and bought the offense enough time to wake up and put some scoring drives together in the second and third quarters. At halftime, it appeared that Central Michigan was going to give BC all it could handle. Chippewa Dan LeFevour finished the first half going 17-of-27 for 135 yards. The Chippewa offense crossed the 50 yard line three times in the first half only to punt the ball away shortly thereafter. It seemed like the Eagles defense ceded LeFevour some yards through the air in favor of keeping him contained in the pocket and limiting the damage LeFevour could inflict on the ground. LeFevour gained only 24 yards on 9 carries at half.
I thought the defense put in a solid performance on Saturday. Luke Kuechly continues to impress and put in another double-digit tackle day. As a unit, two statistics immediately jumped out at me during the ESPNU telecast. One was that the Eagles are 2nd in the country with the most interceptions by a defense since 2000. The Eagles have intercepted the ball 177 times, second only to Virginia Tech (185) and 5 ahead of Oklahoma. That is some fine company to be in. The other statistic is that the Eagles haven't allowed the opponent to score in the third quarter for three consecutive games going back to the NC State game. While a lineup of NC State, Notre Dame and Central Michigan isn't necessarily a murderers row, these teams have enough offensive weapons to consider this a pretty fine accomplishment. Whatever Spaz and McGovern are telling this team at halftime, it seems to be working.
On offense, it took a half of football to cure the Notre Dame hangover and really get the ball moving. Shinskie had trouble hooking up with wide open receivers on long routes early in the game, including missing a wide open Justin Jarvis, Colin Larmond Jr and Clyde Lee III. All three routes could (should?) have ended with touchdown passes. Shinskie's decision making is slowly getting better, but as Spaz likes to point out, the offense is still very much a "work in progress." Rich Gunnell had another huge day, catching 8 balls for 134 yards and a touchdown. Hopefully, Shinskie can spread the ball around more and find other receivers in the Eagles final three regular season games. No other receiver had more than 2 catches. Montel Harris responded well to the departure of Josh Haden, finishing with 136 yards and 2 touchdowns in the victory. He hit the holes well and the Bazooka formation was also effective.
Finally, from the department of overplayed story lines. While I am happy for Steve Aponavicius for breaking the BC all-time scoring record (his 267 points breaks PK Brian Lowe's career mark of 262 (1986-89), to make this the lead-in for this game recap would be missing the lead. Besides, these type of records usually always go to kickers, and as circumstances would have it with stud recruit kickers flaking or being kicked off the team, Aponavicius has had the opportunity to be the Eagles field goal kicker for the last 3 1/2 seasons. Again, congrats to Aponavicius, but the overall takeaways from this game should be the Eagles defense limiting LeFevour and the Chippewa offense to 10 points, and Shinskie, Harris and Gunnell keeping the offense humming for an impressive 31-10 victory.
The Eagles have the week off to regroup, get healthy and prepare for the final ACC push, starting with a trip to Charlottesville on November 14.