Kickoff Preview: Eagles Looking For Road Win In Virginia

November 14, 2009 - 9:36 am
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Let's make a trade. New England will take them remnants of tropical storm Ida from the soaked mid-Atlantic region and in return send our premier college football team south. Sounds fair, yes? Hence, Boston College travels to Charlottesville, Va. today looking for its first road win of the season against the Virginia Cavaliers. "We've got to get out of the confines of Alumni at one point," senior co-captain center Matt Tennant said. " We've got to understand that we are not always going to be playing here and, you know, it is very important. We are not going to be playing our bowl game here and we are at Maryland too. So, we definitely need to get it done." The road has not been a friendly place for the Eagles this season. They were horrible in Clemson, horrendous at Virginia Tech and heart-broken at Notre Dame. Against the Irish they were at least competitive, battling back and forth before freshman quarterback Dave Shinskie's interception in the final moments sealed BC's fate. There are a variety of reasons for the road blues. Young, inexperienced team. Maturing quarterback. Then quality competition taking advantage of those factors. Yet, in the 10th game of the season, BC hopes that the youngsters have made enough progress to get the job done and Shinskie is a much different (better) quarterback than he was at the beginning of the season. "I am not trying to make excuses for anything," Tennant said. "But, guys haven't experienced it. They are new games. We are getting up and driving to Clemson and Virginia Tech. You know, you have to get used to not being in your comfort level. You are not going to be in your hotel, eating the same thing. It is part of growing up, you have to understand, it is going to be different everywhere you go." The situation may be a little different this week. Whereas in Clemson and Virginia Tech players said they had an hour on the bus before getting to the stadium, in Charlottesville they are staying at a Double Tree hotel that is, at most, 15 to 20 minutes from Scott Stadium. That Then there is the competition. The Cavaliers (3-6, 2-3 ACC) are a constant enigma in the ACC. They bring in a lot of NFL caliber talent (Matt Schaub, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Chris Long) and then proceed to snap defeat out of the jaws of victory. Al Groh's squad is a annual source of headaches in central Virginia because there is always hope that usually becomes squashed with bitterness and disappointment as the season progresses. This year, where they were picked to be dead last in the ACC (right below where BC was supposed to be) they have lived up to the billing. Virginia was stunned in its opener by losing to Colonial Athletic Association also-ran William & Mary before getting blown out by then No. 16 Texas Christian University and then traveling to Southern Mississippi for a wild 37-34 loss. The Cavaliers then pumped hope into the Wahoo fan base by squeaking a win against North Carolina, blowing out Indiana and handling Maryland. At 3-3, maybe things would not be so bad after all. Then, in the manner of Virginia teams, the bottom dropped out again with three straight ugly losses to Georgia Tech, Duke and Miami. In an odd scheduling quirk, the Eagles and Cavaliers have not had a shared opponent yet in the season. BC's last two games are against North Carolina and Maryland while Virginia has Clemson and Virginia Tech. Hence, comparison along the lines of commonality is kaput. The Eagles defense should be able to handle the anemic Virginia offense led by senior Jameel Sewell. The Cavaliers are second-to-last in the ACC (Maryland is last) in scoring offense (15.8 points per game) and rushing offense and 10th in passing offense. Their defense, which has its moments, is middle of the road -- sixth in scoring, 11th against the run, fifth against the pass. Shinskie joked earlier in the week that it would end up being a passing game for BC because last time they faced a team with a defensive strength NC State was tops in the conference in rushing defense when BC faced them, Montel Harris set a BC school record for rush yards and touchdowns. Shinskie will have to contend with two quality cornerbacks in Ras-I Dowling and Chris Cook but the Eagles have a chance to set up a solid play-action if Harris can get uncorked against the soft Virginia line. Kick off is about an hour from now in Charlottesville, stay tuned to The BC Blog for highlights throughout the day.