Boston College hopes to return to bowl eligibility
There are seniors on the Boston College football team who were first recruited by Jeff Jagodzinski, inherited by Frank Spaziani and now playing for Steve Addazio. And yet when they play their last game at Alumni Stadium on Saturday, they will have a chance to qualify for a bowl game.
It was a quick turnaround for Addazio, who is in his first year with the Eagles after being hired from Temple.
"We are sitting here at 5-4 right now with an opportunity to accomplish one of our preseason goals," Addazio said this week as the Eagles prepared to play North Carolina State. "Our seniors really want to leave a legacy of bringing the program back. ... So I want to see that so badly for them. They want to leave that legacy. So that would be the window into what's going on here. It's Senior Day. It's the last home game. There will be a lot of emotion on the field."
Jagodzinski was fired in 2009 for trying to land an NFL job and Spaziani was fired after last year's team went 2-10. Addazio came in with a lot of energy and enough talent from the previous regime to have the Eagles (5-4, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) in contention for a bowl berth in his first season.
Here are five things to look for in Saturday's game between Boston College and N.C. State (3-6, 0-6):
BOWLING: Not too long ago, Boston College was one of the nation's most reliable bowl contestants — and one of its most successful, too. The Eagles reached the postseason in every season from 1999-2010, and they won eight straight bowl games from 2000-07. And then, nothing. The Eagles plummeted to 4-8 in 2011 and 2-10 last year, when Spaziani was fired. A bowl game this year would be one step back ... but just one. "No matter what happens, we have laid a great footprint and a really good standard has been set for this program," Addazio said. "That needed to happen and that really has been accomplished."
RUN ... : Andrew Williams broke the Boston College record by rushing for 295 yards against New Mexico State. It's also the fourth-highest rushing total in FBS this season. He leads the nation with 163.4 yards per game and 1,471 total rushing yards. The N.C. State defense has allowed 100-yard rushers to only two teams: Louisiana Tech and Syracuse. "They try to make it a four-quarter game and then let No. 44 win it in the fourth," Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said.
... AND CATCH: Boston College also has a potent threat at receiver in Alex Amidon, who caught eight passes for 88 yards and one touchdown in the 48-34 win over New Mexico State on Saturday to surpass Rich Gunnell as BC's all-time leader in receiving. Amidon has 2,494 career receiving yards. "These seniors came in here when the program was still winning, and it is interesting to watch them latch and grab on right now and develop," Addazio said. "The seniors have been through so much and now they are swinging away with everything they have."
AS THE QB TURNS: N.C. State's already dicey quarterback situation took an unexpected turn when expected starter Brandon Mitchell was listed as questionable on the pre-game injury report with an unspecified injury. Doeren rotated Mitchell, who transferred in from Arkansas, and Colorado State transfer Pete Thomas in last week's 38-20 loss to Duke but was unhappy with the results — each QB threw a pick-six in the fourth quarter. Wolfpack quarterbacks have combined for 15 interceptions and just five touchdowns.
WOEFUL WOLFPACK: N.C. State, which is winless in the ACC this year, only has two chances left. After BC, the Wolfpack play East Carolina and then return to conference play in the season finale against Maryland. Doeren said he isn't concerned about the players' attitude. "I think players are going to follow their coaches, and I know I am not going to quit," he said. "I'm not going to stop how I do my job. I am going to be aggressive. I want to build a program that's aggressive. ... That's what leadership is, it shows up at the tough times. I do know tough times never last, tough people do, and we will continue to fight here."