Boston College 2013-14 Year in Review, Part I: Football

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2013 Boston College Football: November

Boston College was 3-4 on November 2, the day of the Red Sox parade, facing a difficult game against the Virginia Tech Hokies (Game 8) as they struggled for bowl eligibility. A loss to the Hokies would be a bitter setback, potentially giving them a fifth loss while extending their winless streak against that team; Boston College had not beaten Virginia Tech since 2008, losing five in a row from that year’s ACC Championship onward.

What happened was the turning point of Boston College’s season. Despite less than 300 yards of total offense (VT: 446, BC: 289), Andre Williams accounted for 166 of them and helped the Eagles give the Hokies a game. They would go on to do more than that, tying the game at 20-20 about mid-way through the fourth quarter after a long Nate Freese field goal, then blowing the proverbial roof off Alumni Stadium when they took a 27-20 lead on Kevin Pierre-Louis‘s 33-yard pick-six with seven minutes to go.

Minutes later, Andre would break loose for a 62-yard touchdown run to give Boston College a two-score cushion; they would win 34-27 and end a pernicious drought against the Hokies. The offense was starting to look better and the defense, lifeless in 2012, was becoming one of the most sack-happy units in Division I.

Making a bowl was in Boston College’s hands from there, with four very winnable games on the schedule to close the regular season. To get back over .500, the Eagles would have to beat the New Mexico State Aggies (Game 9), Aggievision and all. The game was scary for Boston College, who underperformed defensively in allowing over 500 yards, but it was not at all for Andre Williams.

The single-game record having eluded him against Army, it would not in Las Cruces. Williams came up with 295 yards to break the Boston College record, helping the Eagles stay ahead of the pesky Aggies and get their first road win in two years, 48-34. Bowl eligibility was within their grasp at 5-4, but so was something else: a Heisman Trophy candidacy for Andre Williams. At 1,471 yards through eight games, the FBS rushing leader was making everybody take notice, and the rumblings began in earnest after his crushing performance in New Mexico.

The Eagles had two weeks to enjoy their victory, as another bye week was placed on the schedule, but when they returned to Alumni Stadium on November 16 to face the NC State Wolfpack (Game 10), they were all business. They had a chance to wrap up a bowl bid on Senior Day, and behind one of their seniors, they did it.

Some did not believe the “Andre Williams for Heisman” talk before November 16. They did after. Evidently not feeling that his record of 295 yards was safe, he improved upon it against Dave Doeren’s club, running for a practically unheard-of 339 rushing yards to push his total to 1,810 for the season. When the Eagles closed out their 38-21 victory, the players asked the students to join them on the field for the alma mater. What ensued was the feel-good moment of the season: a mob scene on the field at Alumni Stadium, as in their last game, the seniors were greeted by happy fans, hugging, high-fiving, and taking selfies.

Boston College was back to a bowl for the first time in three years and Andre Williams had become a legitimate Heisman candidate in the eyes of many. Could it get any better?

Yes, it could, against the Maryland Terrapins (Game 11). The last ACC game between Boston College and Maryland was a strange affair in College Park, complete with blocked kicks being run back for two-point conversions. The two teams combined for five scores in the wild fourth quarter, a period in which the Eagles found themselves trailing by 11 at one point.

Boston College cut it back to four moments later on a 72-yard touchdown run by Andre Williams, as he became the first Boston College Eagle and 16th NCAA running back in history to cross 2,000 yards in a single season. Rettig and Amidon would turn back the clock again for a 74-yard touchdown strike a few minutes later to bring the Eagles ahead (but only before the PAT was blocked for Maryland two, which tied the game at 26-26).

The Eagles would touch the ball last and get to within field goal range as the clock neared zero. Randy Edsall took a timeout as Freese missed his first 52-yard attempt, but Freese could not be iced, pun intended. On the second attempt, which counted, he made the field goal to give Boston College a come-from-behind 29-26 win as they improved to 7-4.

As for the final game against the Syracuse Orange (Game 12), that was the opposite, as Boston College lost on almost the last play of the game with a Josh Parris touchdown for Syracuse. Worse, Andre Williams was injured during the game, only totaling 29 yards.

Andre and the Eagles already knew they were going to a bowl; would his 2,102 yards be enough to get him to the Heisman party?

Next page: December