ACC Championship Preview: Boston College vs. Virginia Tech, Part II
That is how long Virginia Tech led Boston College back when these two teams met on October 25th.
That was the final score of the game, as the then-#2 Eagles downed then-#8 Virginia Tech.
An impossible comeback, made possible by the once-surefire Tech special teams committing a rare gaffe.
That was then, this is now.
Both teams are coming into Saturday's championship on a roll. After slipping up two weeks in a row the Eagles have won two straight games, clinching the Atlantic division with wins over Clemson and Miami. However this is not the same Eagles team that came into Blacksburg a month ago. These Eagles are more seasoned—they have experienced defeat and seem poised to "break through the glass," as Coach Jags put it.
Although Boston College comes in hot, Virginia Tech comes in hotter. Since losing at BC, the Hokies have won four in a row—including wins over Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami, and rival Virginia. Quarterback Sean Glennon has stepped it up as a leader on the field, throwing just one interception in the past four games.
Another number to ponder—32. That's all the yards BC could manage on the ground last month in Blacksburg against this fast Hokie defense. Much of Matt Ryan's early struggles during that game came from pressure in the pocket.
If Boston College can establish the run, Virginia Tech will have to start guessing between either loading up on Ryan or stopping Calendar and Whitworth. However, if Virginia Tech can abolish BC's run game as they did previously, then they will take full control of this game.
The key player in this game for Boston College—please hold your "Matt Ryan" chants, folks. It is true Freshman RT Anthony Castonzo. He will have the tall task of blocking fierce Hokie linebacker Xavier Adibi. The last time these two teams met, Adibi was a force on defense and amain reason Tech stopped the run so well. If Castonzo can keep the right side of BC's O-line strong, look for Matt Ryan and Andre Calendar to both have good days for the Eagles.
The key player for Virginia Tech will be RB Brandon Ore. In my article previewing the first matchup between these two teams, I called Ore out, questioning his production up to that point in the season. In that game, Ore looked good, but not great, with 94 yards on 20 carries. He put up no touchdowns≤ and a lot of his runs looked to be a move short of breaking the field open. If he can bust through the barrier Saturday, the Hokies should see smooth sailing against Boston College.
The game will feel like more of a home atmosphere for the Hokies, as Boston College does not travel well, and Jacksonville is geographically closer to Blacksburg.
However, the location could favor the Eagles as well, as the weather is expected to be partly cloudy with a high of 72 on Saturday—much better weather for Ryan's arm then the shower passing through Lane Stadium on October 25th.
All in all, it has been a great year in the ACC. The top two teams in the conference have made it to the title game. Both teams know what they need to do to win this rematch, so the key will be execution.
Some ACC Awards....
QB: Matt Ryan (Boston College)
RB: James Davis (Clemson)
Andre Calendar (Boston College)
WR: Aaron Kelly (Clemson)
Hakeem Nicks (North Carolina)
Kenneth Moore (Wake Forest)
Defense: Virginia Tech
Pleasant Surprise: Virginia
Ugly Disappointment: Miami (FL)
Conference MVP: Matt Ryan
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