BC looks to end season on positive note at Miami

November 24, 2011 - 4:16 am
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Almost 27 years ago to the day, a diminutive Boston College quarterback named Doug Flutie completed a 48-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass to wide receiver Gerard Phelan to lift the Eagles over the defending national champion Miami Hurricanes, 47-45, in the regular-season finale between two of the top teams in the country. Things are a little different this time around. On Friday afternoon, the Eagles visit Miami to take on the Hurricanes in the last game of the season. But Boston College (3-8, 2-5 ACC) is finishing one of its worst seasons in recent history, while Miami (6-5, 3-4) has been dealing with an NCAA investigation into a recruiting scandal all season. Still, Eagles coach Franks Spaziani knows the significance of a game between BC and Miami. "We're excited about going down to Miami on this anniversary of what everybody remembers the infamous Hail Mary pass," Spaziani said. "We've got a tough task ahead of us. We've got a very good Miami team and a short week for both of us." Boston College is coming off a 16-14 loss at the hands of Notre Dame last Saturday. Sophomore Chase Rettig passed for 170 yards and a touchdown, while junior linebacker Luke Kuechly had 14 tackles, leaving him just one tackle shy of the Boston College career record. Miami beat South Florida, 6-3, last Saturday to become bowl eligible. But the Hurricanes will self-impose a postseason ban in an attempt to lessen NCAA sanctions as the result of the ongoing investigation into improper recruiting benefits that occurred between 2002 and 2010. As a result, Friday's game will be the last of the 2011 season for Miami. Despite the controversy surrounding Miami, Spaziani recognizes that the Hurricanes are a dangerous team whose athleticism creates matchup problems, especially the mobility of senior quarterback Jacory Harris. "There's tremendous team speed, size, a very mobile, athletic quarterback, and we've had problems with this type of matchup before," Spaziani said. "We're certainly going to have to put ourselves in the right position, first of all, and then we're going to have to make some certain ... some plays that we haven't made in the past. But this is a very difficult matchup for us in a lot of ways" Miami coach Al Golden said that his team, particularly the seniors, is extra amped to play in its final game of the season. "I think there is urgency, clearly, and I'm really proud of the way our seniors have led us all year and certainly leading us through this, what we hope is our last piece of adversity in this year," Golden said. Many have speculated that Golden is interested in the Penn State coaching job that will be open following the firing of Joe Paterno in the wake of the PSU child sex scandal. When asked about it during the ACC coaches conference call on Tuesday, Golden did not address the rumors head on. "The question has been posed the last couple of weeks, and I said over and over again, I'm happy here," Golden said. "I'm excited about what we're doing with our program. I'm excited about the recruiting class that we're putting together, and clearly excited about what our team has done." Spaziani, meanwhile, will certainly face criticism after Boston College's worst season since 1998. But with such a young team gaining valuable experience this season, Spaziani is hopeful for the future of the Eagles. "Success comes from making mistakes," Spaziani said. "So we certainly have made our share of mistakes this year, and hopefully we have a foundation, and we think we do. We're moving forward."