Articles such as these have become thoroughly pointless, but we won’t be seeing them again until September, so what say we humor ourselves for the next two weeks. Both the Virginia Tech defense and Boston College offense have underachieved in 2012, but as we all know, the Hokie defense has been a staple of their success in recent years. The fact that it is not holding up so well know would (partially) explain their shocking 4-6 season.
Don’t get me wrong: by the numbers, the Virginia Tech defense is still alright. Just compare it to last season where it was in the top ten nationally in both scoring allowed and yards allowed. That is nowhere near the case this year for the Hokies, as Bud Foster’s bunch is 38th in total defense (362.2 yards per game) and just 50th in scoring defense (25 points per game). Everything you needed to know about what kind of year they’re having in Blacksburg was on display last Thursday night, when Florida State went 68 yards in 1:39 for the game-winning touchdown and two-point conversion. When push came to shove, the Hokies broke, and that has been the case often enough in 2012.
One of the few areas in which Virginia Tech is still legitimately good is third-down defense, where they are ranked 20th at allowing only 31.79% conversions. That could be a problem for the Eagles offense, which is tied for 112th nationally at just 31.82%. Rarely do numbers sync up so well.
The Eagles have been going through somewhat of a power outage in their last five games. Yes, Chase Rettig has had some good moments and yes, Alex Amidon has already broken the single-season receiving record, but for the most part, it just isn’t happening for this group anymore. As it turns out, BC’s 32 points on opening day was the most they’ve accumulated in a single game against an FBS team all year. In their last five games, BC has averaged just 12.8 points per game and a few feet under 300 yards.
Boston College is holding at 95th in total offense (358 ypg) but has sunk back into the dreaded triple-digits in scoring offense, now sitting at 104th (20.5 ppg). What is particularly sad is that when all is said and done this season, the overall offensive statistics will not be that much better than last year. Even if BC does well in their last two games, it’s not going to be enough to substantially move the needle. The only saving grace BC can find is in the performance of their quarterback and top wide receiver, who have brought a little fun to this offense.
“Fun” is perhaps the least apt descriptor of Boston College football this year, or really any year since our current head coach took over. The offense is not quite vanilla, because Doug Martin has exercised creativity, but the results are no longer forthcoming. That sort of thing could work to the Hokies’ advantage, because lately the Eagles aren’t moving the ball on anymore.
Virginia Tech might have a bit of an advantage here because they’re still better at defense than Boston College is at offense, but a lot also depends on how much BC still has in the tank after being almost non-competitive in a very emotional rivalry game at home. They’re going to want to win for the seniors, but if the team is spent from a rough year, then it won’t make a difference. Execution is what matters, and to rise up to the challenge of what is still a somewhat decent defense, the Eagles will have to summon up whatever they’ve got left.