Virginia Tech at Boston College
Noon at Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
TV: WDCA (Channel 20), WJZ (Channel 13)
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WAGE (1200 AM).
SLOW DOWN HARRIS
Junior Montel Harris is the focal point of Boston College's offense after rushing for more than 1,400 yards in 2009, and so far this year he's averaging more yards per game (97.5) than any other ACC running back. But Harris and the Eagles' rushing attack were largely ineffective two weeks ago in a 26-13 win over Kent State, averaging less than 2.2 yards per carry. The most important matchup could be in the trenches, where Boston College's veteran offensive line will have a 42-pound advantage on average over the Hokies' defensive linemen.
Last year when Virginia Tech throttled Boston College, 48-14, running back Ryan Williams was the catalyst, racking up 159 yards and a touchdown as the Hokies built a 34-0 lead before halftime. This time, though, Williams will be a spectator after suffering a right hamstring injury last week. Junior Darren Evans and sophomore David Wilson showed they were capable of carrying the load in his place, but how will they fare against Boston College's Mark Herzlich and Luke Kuechly, two of the top linebackers in the country?
Virginia Tech will likely play seven first-year starters on its defense and another three on offense Saturday, while Boston College features 22 freshmen or sophomores on its two-deep chart. That doesn't bode well for either team heading into their ACC opener, especially because this could end up being a pivotal game when the conference race heats up in a couple months. But the Hokies haven't beaten the Eagles in Chestnut Hill since 2002, and it doesn't help that this will be their first true road game of the year.
-- Mark Giannotto